Strategy, When It Isn’t

by Irv Katz

IRVKATZ1Nonprofit organizations are a lot more like businesses than one might think. There really is a bottom line, for example. It is achieving the results the organization is funded for and achieving the financial results — income within expenses — that are set by the board annually. There are a number of other differences (and similarities) but the big difference is the source of money. In business, it is owners and customers. In a nonprofit, it is often third parties –insurance companies, government agencies, foundations, donors, etc. as well as clients (customers)…

It is not that nonprofits and others engaged in strategic planning completely fail to consider external factors in their marketplaces but maybe that we examine the big issues (e.g., technology, community becoming virtual as well as literal) at a distance instead of close-up and as they relate to our very survival and ability to deliver on mission. As David LaPiana, a well-known consultant, suggests, we ignore competition at our peril as organizations. LaPiana notes that knowing the competition and distinguishing oneself from it are fundamental and I agree. We can be a bit squeamish about the notion of competition in the nonprofit sector because, as community resources, we often cooperate across organizational boundaries. That’s great but there is nothing wrong — and everything right — about knowing what unique value an organization provides that makes it distinct from others in its space.

Read more of Irv’s blog post on the Huffington Post here. 

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