Strategic Planning Philosophy
Strategy eats chaos for breakfast, and a strong strategic plan can help your nonprofit see beyond the false emergencies and focus on achieving your mission.
In fact, the strategic planning process can re-energize your nonprofit organization by engaging board, staff, funders and constituents in a meaningful manner. To help promote this higher level of inclusion, our strategic planning process will develop a general consensus about the organization’s strategic direction, long range objectives and tactical goals. When the process has finished, everyone in your organization should have the ability to articulate:
- Where have we been and how did we get here?
- Where do we want to go and how we will get there?
- What resources do we need to achieve our goals and how we will garner them?
- What roadblocks might exist and how we will overcome them?
- How we will measure achievement of our goals?
Praise from a Strategic Planning Partner
Dolph Goldenburg led us through our first professionally led strategic planning process . . . and helped us to develop a workable plan.
He is a sensitive, calm and diplomatic consultant with a reasoned and detailed approach for managing both current and future needs of an organization. As a former nonprofit executive director, he has a practical, rather than just a theoretical, understanding of organizational management which sets him apart from other consultants.
He has a great sense of humor and the ability to make the strategic planning process enjoyable as well as productive. He can see the big picture while still being able to drill down to the process and detail level. Dolph is also flexible and adaptable, he was able to make changes when challenges arose during the process to keep us on track. He promised a high level of service and that is exactly what we got!
– Rainie Jueschke, Executive Director
Innovative Solutions for Disadvantage & Disability
Our Strategic Planning Process
As a strategic planning consultant for many nonprofit organizations in Atlanta and other cities, Dolph Goldenburg has developed a process that enables our strategic planning partners to develop an effective plan they can actually implement. This process and the final strategic plan have propelled many organizations to greater levels of success. Over a six to eight-month period, we help with every step of the process outlined in the planning process:
You Deserve a Strategic Plan That
- Aligns board, staff and donors around your mission and objectives
- Guides and nurtures program growth
- Offers a roadmap for governance
- Supports the chief executive in management decisions
- Serves as a fundraising tool
Nonprofits that develop a robust strategic plan build more effective programs, experience more fundraising success and encounter fewer operational issues. The opposite is also true: charities that fail to plan typically struggle with programs, fundraising and operations.
For this reason, the strategic planning consultant you choose will have a significant impact on your organization for years to come. Organizations we have served agree that our process strengthens your organization, builds your board’s effectiveness and engages key constituents (and funders).
The Secret Ingredient: A Work Group
Do you know what sets our planning process apart from the vast majority of other consultants? The strategic planning work group.
We help your organization form a work group that typically includes 4 to 6 board members, your executive director and 2 or 3 leadership volunteers. With the guidance of a trained, experienced facilitator, the work group:
- Conducts the environmental scan
- Drafts proposed changes to the mission, vision and core values
- Reports their findings to the full board
- Designs achievable tactical strategies and objectives
- Reviews (or writes) the draft plan
Work group members finish the process with more knowledge, enthusiasm and excitement for the organization.
Our consultants will work directly with your work group and board so that your organization has an achievable and useful strategic plan.
Two Most Common Questions
Nonprofit executives and board members ask these two questions all the time:
- What do you charge a nonprofit for strategic planning?
- What is your role as a strategic planning consultant?
The person typically asks about money first and role second, but we always discuss the consultant’s role first. After all, the role your consultant plays in strategic planning will ultimately determine how much they charge for a quality strategic plan that will propel your organization forward. You can see our brief explanation of roles to the right.
Since many different options exist for assigning work between the consultant and the organization, we typically offer two different work-share options to a prospective client.
Consultant as Facilitator
The consultant merely facilitates the nonprofit’s strategic planning process, and a core group does the work. In this situation, the facilitator provides a general structure, templates and tools, facilitation and project management. The work group is fully responsible for the environmental scan and drafting the final plan. This is often the least expensive option because the heavy lifting is done by the work group.
Consultant as Facilitator and Planner
This is the most common type of strategic planning consulting in the nonprofit sector, and it allows the organization to rise to its planning abilities while knowing that a consultant will do the work that the organization cannot.
- Create timeline and framework for planning
- Facilitate all workgroup meetings
- Provide all project management
- Share advice and research on best practices
- Analyze metrics of board performance
- Create 3- to 5-year financial analysis
- Create 3- to 5-year fundraising analysis
- Create 3- to 5-year program analysis
- Conduct staff focus groups
- Analyze stakeholder feedback
- Facilitate review of mission, vision, and values
- Draft presentation and materials for the Board retreat
- Facilitate board retreat
- Draft strategic plan (with feedback from Work Group and Board)
- Quarterly implementation check-ins for one year after plan approval
Estimated cost: $20,500*
- Includes everything listed in Option I
- Plan and facilitate a Learning Journey with an organization that has achieved many of the goals in your strategic plan
- Create a dashboard for tracking plan KPIs
- Facilitate a “deep dive” with Board prior to plan approval
Estimated Cost: $25,500*
*Plus travel expenses if your nonprofit organization is more than a one-hour drive from I-285 in Atlanta, GA
Feedback from a Strategic Planning Partner
Dolph is an incredibly talented leader who helped to change the course of our organization, assessing our community and steering our board toward a solid strategic plan.
He is incredibly organized and professional and also brings fun and expertise to goal setting and organizational guidance. I am so pleased with his work and would recommend him to anyone seeking to take their mission to the next level.
Dolph is also very well connected and helped Zebra Coalition gain more attention on a national scale.
– Heather Wilkie, Executive Director