The road to hell is often lined by people who think they can run a nonprofit!Okay, to be fair, the person who offered the answers that I deconstructed for the past two weeks really probably did have the best of intentions, and sincerely wanted to offer suggestions that would result in a greater awareness of the organization and its goals. But the offer fell short, and didn’t give the person asking real tools to accomplish the goal of ‘traction’.

This is an excellent example of what happens so frequently in nonprofit management: the road to hell is indeed paved with good intentions. In general the nonprofit organizations that might pose these questions are likely to be understaffed and stretched for resources. And to me, the most critical resource is that of good planning, not just a nice sounding plan; it is what you do at 9 am that makes the difference, not a good idea at 9 pm during a board meeting.

Speed Kills

The intersection of plans with planning is where success can be found: knowing who is going to do what by when, crystal clarity of goals for money and outcomes, all need to be shared by the participants and planners. There are more than a few complaints about consultants who show up with a good idea on how things could be better, yet can’t begin to create a task list.

Here are a few good starting questions to consider:

  • Who can, and will, do what ,well?
  • Do you have the money to front expenses for something you anticipate will bring in money down the line?
  • Is the plan really going to get you where you want to go, and where you NEED to go?

In so many things in life: driving, mountain climbing and surgery, speed kills. It can kill a nice idea as well. Slow down, think about what you want, and what you’re considering doing; what it is required to actually deliver this good idea.

A good plan starts with an idea, a great plan has nuts and bolts. Need to get some screws? Get in touch here or call us on 310 828 6979

Cindy Lauren - Lauren Associates - non profit consultingCindy Lauren is the Principal of Lauren Associates – non profit consulting

As well as advising Executives and Boards on all aspects of nonprofit management, the firm specializes in developing fundraising solutions for all sizes of organizations.

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Image Credit:
The Road to Hell by Alun Salt on Flickr.