Chapter 7Step 7: Organization Capacity


In Step 7 we look at the broad range of supporting systems and infrastructure that keeps your organization running. This work is subordinate to the program work in terms of strategy, but it is essential to being effective. In fact, many in the strategic planning field think this aspect of nonprofit management does not get its due. For example, the Bridgespan Group stated:

Disciplined management, rigorous analysis of performance data, accounting for true costs, relentless efforts to improve processes and programs, the hiring and development of great people—these are essential to ensuring that what is promised in theory is realized in practice, but simply don't seem to get due attention or respect.1

One of the tricky things about the topics in this step is that much of the work here has to do with day-to-day operations and is not thought of as the stuff of strategic planning. It rises to the level of strategic planning when there is either an outstanding strength or a glaring deficiency. An outstanding strength may create an opportunity for greater leverage; for instance, unusual depth in technological expertise may allow experimentation with new ways of serving clients or communicating with constituencies. A significant deficiency may create a liability or require significant funding. For example, you may have an urgent need for capital ...

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