The future belongs to the curious.

Welcome to the CauseMic blog, where we share insights to help nonprofit leaders scale your organization.

How to build your nonprofit’s strategic plan in days, not months

How to build your nonprofit’s strategic plan in days, not months

Strategic planning in days (yes, days!), not months

So it’s time for strategic planning—the process that typically involves three to six months of meetings and splinter groups and task forces.

Comprehensive agendas rule the day along with copious note-taking and prolonged brainstorming that drifts off-target. The management team tries to assess the organization’s position using market data and employee feedback and a SWOT analysis.

Then comes freeform bantering about goals and objectives inspired by mission and vision statements that haven’t changed in years.

Lastly, revenue is forecast based on past performance instead of desired growth, prompting budgets and timelines for a high-level project roadmap.

And Voila—The Strategic Plan!

The Strategic Planning Process: Why many say “ugh” instead of “let’s do this!”

The Strategic Planning Process: Why many say “ugh” instead of “let’s do this!”

Whether developed annually or every three to five years, a strategic plan involves lots of time and money. Three to six months is the norm for, say, mid-sized nonprofits, while the average price tag in outside fees and inside labor can range well over $200,000.

So what’s the purpose of this costly endeavor?

Well, the standard answer may be that it’s a roadmap for organizational growth. Or, it’s a blueprint for achieving long- and short-term goals.
 
Regardless of how it’s framed, oftentimes the unfortunate truth is that the strategic plan is more of an obligatory exercise than a usable document. “We’re expected to have one, so we do.”
 
It’s likely voluminous and ambiguous and rarely referenced until its next makeover.
 
In short, it’s just not practical for daily operations.

How Our Team’s Experiences Shape Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

How Our Team’s Experiences Shape Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

For many, the end of a year brings opportunity for reflection, followed by resolutions to guide the months ahead. Perhaps you’ve got a new practice or habit in your life you plan on starting. Maybe you have a word that will guide your decision making over the next 12 months.

At CauseMic, we’re moving into the new year with increased resolve to strengthen our existing commitment to making our world a more just place to live in.

Years ago, with a vision of assisting nonprofits to become fully funded, CauseMic was founded by two women of color and me.
 
We knew we wanted a socially eclectic team, giving us the benefit of divergent views when seeking new business opportunities and dealing with clients of varying makeups.
 
So we hired accordingly. Today, diverse hiring remains a core pillar of CauseMic and a critical component of our success to date.

Leadership Lessons From a Champion, One-Handed Rock Climber

Leadership Lessons From a Champion, One-Handed Rock Climber

When you surround yourself with good people, whether you hire them or hang out with them, you can’t help but want to discover the best version of yourself.

For me, I enjoy learning from people smarter than me or drawing comfort from those who walk in similar shoes or being inspired by victors over enormous odds.

To cure revenue woes, a sprint may be just what the donor ordered!

To cure revenue woes, a sprint may be just what the donor ordered!

Few can argue the importance of a nonprofit’s year-end campaign.

Historically, 63 percent of donors give only on November’s Giving Tuesday. Almost one-third of all annual giving occurs in December, with 12 percent of that in the last three days.

And more than one-fourth of all nonprofits raise as much as half of their annual funding in December.

Don't let inflation hold back your year-end campaign

Don't let inflation hold back your year-end campaign

Ah yes, year-end planning — arguably, the best time for nonprofits to solicit donations.

But there’s greater concern for successful results now than in recent years.

While overall donations in 2021 remained strong and as late as April 2022 most donors stated they’d continue giving, their confidence in the direction of the economy is decidedly down.

Building a Culture of Original Thought

Building a Culture of Original Thought

Forget about brainstorming. 

The telegraph was just fine, until Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone. So were covered wagons for cross-country travel, until George Stephenson’s successful train. And after that, the Wright brothers’ plane.

The point is, the status quo is only good enough until someone’s bright idea for improvement takes hold. I don’t mean Apple’s greedy fascination for making whatever iPhone I have obsolete.