Three key areas of focus will help reveal opportunities for immediate and long-term growth that will take your organization from conventional to awesome.
The future belongs to the curious. Without curiosity – especially about our own work – we stop growth in its tracks. Together, we’ll poke, prod, nudge, shove and hack our way through the preconceived assumptions blocking your organizational growth.
Strategic planning is about mapping … it’s about determining the future you want and exploring the steps needed to take you there. It’s also about asking the right questions and probing deeply to find the right answers. If you don’t ask the right questions, the answers cannot lead you where you want to go.
Maybe, just maybe, you don’t need a full-fledged strategic plan. Maybe what you need is a short-term action plan that will take you to the next step in your organizational journey. Let’s work together to figure out what you need.
Are you bringing in enough money? Do you have a reserve fund? Do you know why your donors give to you? Is your relationship with them strong, robust and resilient?
Most nonprofits operate on a shoestring. Your donors and funders don’t typically ask you about the impact you’re making with “their” money. Instead, they ask you to show that you’re a responsible and fiscally conservative steward of “their” funds. Let’s shift that conversation. Let’s work together to start bringing in the money that will let you make the impact your mission demands. Together, we’ll craft a message that will have your donors feeling like they’re an integral part of the solution and your nonprofit’s future.
When your primary source of income is membership dues (rather than donations) you’re uniquely challenged to grow your organization and ensure board member and volunteer engagement. Is your membership base at capacity? Are there people in your profession who haven’t yet joined your association? Why not? How are you sharing the benefits of membership … of belonging to a group of people who understand their language?
Let’s work together to fine-tune and enhance not only your organizational model, but the scope of your membership base and the programs you offer.
Board, Staff and Volunteer Leadership Development / Engagement / Training
Together, we’ll explore why people are attracted to your work and what helps them develop an understanding of its impact. Understanding WHY will translate into increased engagement, amplified funding, more effective storytelling and strong leadership.
Do you know why your Board members, or your volunteers, said yes when asked to join your organization? What’s their deep personal connection to your work and mission? Have they had training in their job as either a director or volunteer? Just because they’ve served with other organizations, doesn’t mean they know what’s expected of them. They have NOT served with YOUR organization.
Has your board explored and adopted a set of guiding principles or values that goes beyond the basic tenets of integrity, honesty, and transparency? (Those tenets, by the way, are the same guiding principles used by for-profit companies like Build-A-Bear Workshop and Whole Foods Market.) Shouldn’t we make those our starting place and explore a deeper set of beliefs?
Storytelling isn’t just the secret sauce of fundraising. It’s the secret sauce to everything! A story must not be merely compelling; it must also be effective, resulting in action on the part of your listener (i.e. your stakeholders and your supporters).
Solid brain science exists to explain why telling an effective story will result in action. But there is also an art to crafting that story. What are your best stories and where do you find them? If you have lots of stories to choose from, that’s a good thing, right? But, how do you decide which ones to tell? How do you address confidentiality in telling a compelling story that still puts the people you serve at its heart?
We’ll work together to make sure you and your stakeholders are all telling the right story, with the right message and the right call to action that results in profound shifts in impact (and funding!).
Do you know the difference between your message and your story? How do you differentiate between the two? How can understanding the difference impact your fundraising and donor relationships? By working together, we can craft the right message to be delivered within the right story – to ensure that your supporters, donors, and other stakeholders actively continue to support your mission.
“I met Sue after being assigned to work with a client of our management company that we were having some challenges with. Sue was working with the client's board of directors to develop and implement a strategic plan for this client and had been working with them for some time. I was immediately impressed by her in-depth knowledge of the client organization and it was obvious she was respected and well-liked by every board member in the room. They "listened" to her. I was equally impressed by the way she gently but firmly redirected the room when they would steer off topic. I would not hesitate to recommend Sue to any organization for strategic planning or tackling organizational problems that should be outsourced. She is genuine, candid, transparent and excellent at what she does.”
Andrea Bledsoe Young, Virtual Management Company
“Sue’s messages to us are clear and consistent and she will ask you the tough questions. The work that we have done with Sue has been the template for my tenure as Board Chair.” Lewis Youngblood, Board Chair, C2Adopt
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