Strategy Is Better Than Good Intentions

Good intentions, energy and teamwork are necessary, but good strategy is also vital for nonprofit operations. The brainy stuff really comes in handy.

Speaking during the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Fundraising Day In New York 2016, David M. Sterling of Western New England University stressed the necessity of strategy within an organization.

He quoted Canadian business and management theorist Henry Mintzberg in saying, “Strategy is not the consequence of planning but the opposite, its starting point.”
Sterling said that strategy is the framework that guides those choices that determine the nature and direction of an organization.

Strategy, Sterling said,
* Defines an organization’s unique position.
* Describes how to reach the goals and objectives of an organization.
* Accounts of the values in the organization.
* Guides the allocation and deployment of resources.
* Creates an advantage that can be sustained.
* Controls the long-term direction of an organization.

Further, Sterling said that strategic thinkers:
* Think about the environments around them.
* Understand their organizational culture.
* Are comfortable with assessing and promoting risk.
* Think about the future.
* Engage others in doing the same, resulting in a “deeply shared, well-tested view of the future.”
* Are not afraid of “No.”
* Are flexible.
* Embrace uncertainty and ambiguity.