We get asked to do strategic planning consulting and facilitation with nonprofit organizations on the regular. About 60% of those nonprofits don’t hire us after an initial meeting, however. It may seem odd to say this, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
We don’t believe in a standard set of steps to apply to your work. We don’t have a process to walk you through that prioritizes the board of directors’ goals and objectives. Why? Because doing things the “typical” way will not change your systems. It’s not an empowering approach to a strategic plan.
In traditional hierarchical leadership we often see one person or a small group of people at the top, making all of the decisions. Anyone not in a decision-making position is left in a role to execute tasks. Our approach to planning and consulting instead de-centers your board, empowers your staff, and includes your community in important discovery sessions. Why? Because that is how you begin to shift systems and create an equitable process.
A lot of nonprofit professionals are learning that a top-down mindset will not lead to an ethical workplace. In mission driven work this can also create detachment from the mission, frustration, and disempowerment.
While our approach of course varies with each client, at the core we always prioritize shared leadership and shared responsibility through transformational leadership and the “I, we, it” framework. This means striving to understand individual roles, bringing more transparency to the organization, flattening hierarchies, and empowering those outside of traditional leadership positions.
Shared leadership and shared responsibility can also get lost in an organization even though it is crucial to setting up equity within organizations. In a time that is so politicized we have seen that it is easy to keep looking to traditional leadership structures, or even criticize them to the point of blowing up spaces. This work requires the empowerment of all to step into owning the shared responsibility of moving equity forward. For example, we might still see Executive Directors as the pass through for all decision-making within an organization. However, this is a burden on the staff, the board, and the ED. Shifting into shared responsibility allows for real shifts to emerge within organizations and to free up the ED to be a stronger leader (decision fatigue is real).
Rather than giving you another strategic planning document that might get lost in your files and never looked at again, Prospera Partners will prioritize implementation through the empowerment of individuals within an organization to shine a light on their own blind spots, lean into strengths, and prioritize community centered processes to put the needs of those served first. Our approach also centers the understanding that each client is unique. There is no one size fits all mindset when it comes to systems change, equity, and establishing a strong organization.
So … if you want a people-centered, systems change, social impact approach to your nonprofit work, then we are the consultants for you!
Need a strategic planning session, community of practice facilitation, or other planning to create real and lasting change for your organization? Drop us a line!