Welcome to the blog for the non-profit that wants to do better, be better and serve better. After years in the non-profit sector in Canada, mostly here in beautiful British Columbia, I know that most of the 26,000 non-profits in this province want to be successful – they exist for a reason and we need them. Whether providing housing, making art, helping humans, protecting animals, growing vegetables or giving those on the margins access to the benefits of a good healthy life, be it in direct service or standing up to power – the best non-profits in BC always want to be better.

My first message is: relax, take a breath and don’t be so hard on yourself. You are probably doing the best you can given the economy, current political realities, and the profound need you are attempting to respond to.

My second message is: Planning does matter.

I know, you are busy. There are pressures. You don’t have time. Everyone knows what needs doing. It costs money to hire a facilitator and no one funds that s&*t anymore.

I’m afraid none are an excuse not to plan. Or rather, none need stop you from planning and reaping the benefits that will flow as a result.

“Strategic Planning” is just planning writ large. There are a billion (and I think there really are literally a billion, I’m not just exaggerating for affect) systems and frameworks and trademarked 6-step, 7-step or 9-step approaches to and models of Strategic Planning.

Here is the secret to it all. 4 simple questions. Not steps, just questions.

  1. Where are we today?
  2. Where do we want to be?
  3. What do we need to do to get there?
  4. How can we monitor our progress along the way?

Thomas Edison once said: Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing.

The secret to planning is: do it (plan). Then pay attention to it (the plan). Then do it again. (finish the plan and make a new one).

Stay tuned for the next blog: Top 10 ways to use a Strategic Plan

The Secret of Strategic Planning (for Non-profits only)