Strategic planning and getting back to basics

Strategic planning isn’t just for nonprofits that wish to do more.   It is also a crucial process for those that seek to do less.

PAMP is one of the largest parenting associations in the region, with the mission of connecting new parents to each other and key resources.  In a little over ten years, its membership grew tenfold.  In that span, its focus was on new offerings and events to keep up with the growth.  As these commitments proliferated, the leadership scrambled to keep up.   There wasn’t the time or bandwidth to build internal infrastructure, so their burdens kept mounting and they were getting exhausted.

Realizing that their pace of growth was unsustainable, PAMP turned to CWR for a comprehensive strategic planning process.  Our work focused on helping PAMP to clarify its mission and identity, and then rigorously align their offerings accordingly.  This meant drastically reducing the number and variety of events, and instead investing more in the quality of its core offerings to parents.   Just as importantly, we laid out a long term plan to systematically build up PAMP’s organizational capacity so that future growth could be sustained.

The art of choosing to do less is a critical one in any leadership context.  But in this era of resource scarcity, nonprofit executives need to especially be disciplined and smart about strategically shedding services.   And the process shouldn’t be viewed as just budget cutting.  As PAMP’s case indicates, it really is an opportunity to get back to basics and plan for the long run.

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