My week with (a book about) Peter Drucker

Recently, I participated as a guest writer for my friend John Pearson’s year-long blogged journey through A Year with Peter Drucker: 52 Weeks of Coaching for Leadership Effectiveness by Joseph A. Maciariello. Each Monday, John features a Drucker fan and his or her favorite snippet from that week’s topic. I claimed Week 19 and the […]

Strategic planning is not a compound word

At a recent gathering of ministry CEOs and board members, eight of the nine organizations were identified as having just completed or in the process of developing a strategic plan. In truth, there wasn’t much that was innovative, risky, or out of the ordinary in what was reported. And to be fair, those organizational leaders […]

If it’s not broken, fix it anyway.

Change doesn’t come easy, even in the direst of organizational circumstances. We humans are expert at denying the obvious. Never mind that the ship is taking on water faster than we can bail, hope springs eternal of a sunny tomorrow. It is, after all, only a day away. So imagine the challenge of nudging folks […]

Mice, life, and if the Lord wills

In the midst of preparing for a planning retreat with a seminary board, Mother Nature provided me with a real-time object lesson in the importance of being flexible – a stance I describe as essential in a planner.  Five days of beastly weather, including 26 hours without power, had me scrambling to get done everything […]

Money talks. Are you listening?

I heard about a ministry that was engaged in an ambitious planning process. Consultants had been hired and staff positions created. Advisory, implementation, and discernment teams were flown in from every corner of the country. And volunteers had been recruited to crisscross the constituency listening for advice about the future direction of the ministry. It […]

When we fail to plan, we plan to fail.

In today’s mail, I received a frantic letter from a ministry where just a year ago, the board was patting itself on the back about the organization’s strong financial position. Now I learn that a disaster is likely unless “300 people give $120 each or 500 give $72” by the end of the month. The executive […]

Finding your organization’s future in its past

Clients are surprised by the advice, but before launching into a planning process I encourage telling stories about the organization’s past. Eager to grasp the future, nonprofit heads and their governance helpmates see little point in re-visiting what’s already been. In most instances, there’s not much interest in repeating the past, so why spend time […]

As you plan in your endings, so shall it be in your beginnings.

If you’re among the thousands of nonprofit leaders staring into a June 30 fiscal year-end, you’re probably not thinking beyond the next two weeks. I see you out there – hanging on and hoping to finish out FY13 with your pride intact. Planning for the fiscal year to come is likely the last thing on […]

Avoid the trap of “maybe gifts” and mission drift

I heard it again on my last trip out —  a proposal to expand an organization’s mission packaged as a development strategy. “By launching X, we’ll open the organization to a whole new group of donors,” the executive director said with more conviction than evidence. Never mind that the organization’s strategic plan included nary a […]

Move your fundraising beyond the insanity of the same-old, same-old

I gave up CNN or any other of the myriad news channels this past week. Not for Lent, but because the debacle unfolding in Washington, D.C. was simply too painful to watch. I’d like to think that the trauma of the last fiscal cliff experience would have knocked a little compromise (I stopped hoping for […]