Thursday, July 16, 2009

Alliance Conference: Nonprofit Sustainability Planning

Nonprofit sustainability is a hot topic right now! Recently the TCC group recently released the report:

The Sustainability Formula: How Nonprofit Organizations Can Thrive in the Emerging Economy.

This report states, sustainable nonprofits have:
  • "clearly articulated and effectively communicated mission and vision statements;
  • strong financial management systems;
  • development and active maintenance of long-term relationships with funders, and;
  • a willingness to revise strategic plans and upgrade programs and services."
If you're like me, you're probably wondering, how do I get my nonprofit on the sustainability path?

Brian Talcott from the Center for Civic Partnerships workshop provided 10 steps any nonprofit can take to become sustainable.

I really like these ten sustainability steps because they incorporate EVERYONE in the sustainability process (e.g. staff, board, funders, clients, and community members).

The ten steps include:

1. Create Shared Understanding
Is there goal alignment about the future of our organization?

2. Position Your Effort
Who are your marketing and program champions?
What does our organization do well?

3. Plan to Plan
What will the planning process look like?
Whose involved in the planning process?
How long will the planning process take?

4. Review current picture.
This reminds me of the strategic planning SWOT analysis (strenghts, weaknesses, opportunities, threats).
How are we doing in our current programs?
Does our income meet our expenses?

5. Develop criteria to help determine what to continue
Create a criteria in which to evaluate our organization
(e.g. level of impact, resources/capacities, need in the community, support by the community)

6. Decide what to continue and what to prioritize
Make program and operations adjustments.
Shut down a program or combining programs with another organization.
Share back office operations with another organization.

7. Create options for maintaining priority efforts
What logic models do we need to create?
Funding models, and ways to continue programs.

8. Develop a sustainability plan
This plan involves Executive Summary, Situational Analysis, Criterial to Determine Value-Added Benefits, Sustainability Goals, Sustainability Strategies, Action Plans, Evaluation

9. Implement your sustainability plan
This involves getting the word out and celebrating successes.

10. Evaluate your outcomes & revise as needed

These steps involve extensive planning and anticipating what is to come and help get your nonprofit on the sustainability path.

1 comment:

Anne McCrady said...

These are great ideas for non-profits, especially the suggestions of partnerships and collaborations. Alliances with civic and non-profit groups can leverage mission as well as programming and provide momentum to growth. I would add that any mission can be further leveraged by aligning a group's mission with the Greater Good (community and global) and communicating that to the public.