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Module 3: Strategic Thinking

Module 3: Strategic Thinking

Strategic thinking for non-profit leaders

What if?  Scenario Thinking for Nonprofits

The Global Business Community has created a guidebook to introduce non-profit leaders to a powerful way of embracing, influencing, and planning for the future.  The comprehensive 119 page guide covers the definitions of scenario thinking, the practice of scenario thinking, stories from the field, and other resources.

https://www.racialequitytools.org/resourcefiles/scearce.pdf

5 Key Steps to Making a Really Good Big Decision

https://blog.joangarry.com/big-decision/ 

Crafting Powerful Questions

Positive, strengths-based, open-ended questions can all be useful ways to engage with colleagues, clients, volunteers and boards. Learning the art of crafting questions that open up creative thinking and new ideas is an important way to ensure that conversation isn’t inadvertently shut-down. This agenda and worksheet can help you delve deeper into new questions for your organization to ask about its mission, theory of change and program design.

https://buildingmovement.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Crafting-Powerful-Questions.pdf

Strategic Planning Sucks the Life Out of Non Profits

The blogpost discusses some of the ways in which strategic planning processes are flawed, and how you can avoid them.

https://blog.joangarry.com/strategic-planning-nonprofits/

Stronger Decision Making

A simple strategy to assess the decisions you make.

https://advice.shinetext.com/articles/how-your-choice-point-can-help-you-make-stronger-decisions/

3 Questions to Ask Before Saying Yes to a New Opportunity

 Nonprofit leaders are continually faced with new opportunities – new client populations to     serve, new demands for program expansion from funders, new partnership opportunities.  And while pursuing new opportunities is a critical part of becoming (and staying) a relevant, impactful social change organization, not every opportunity is the right one for you as a leader,   for your staff and board, or for your mission.

https://www.socialvelocity.net/2019/04/01/3-questions-to-ask-before-saying-yes-to-new-opportunity/ 

7 Questions to Guide Your Non Profit Strategy

Without a long-term strategy for what your non profit is trying to accomplish and how you will marshal people and money to reach it, you are just spinning your wheels. Rather than be a feared and misunderstood exercise, strategic planning can actually be distilled into 7 key questions.

https://www.socialvelocity.net/2015/02/11/7-questions-to-guide-your-nonprofit-strategy/

An Operating Framework

An operating model is the bridge connecting strategy and expectations; the model contains 4 elements that can be crafted to your own agency.

https://www.bridgespan.org/insights/library/organizational-effectiveness/nonprofit-operating-models

Partnerships and Collaborations

When engaging in a new partnership or strengthening a current collaboration, it is important for all partners to share an understanding about what is important to each of you, and how you want to work together. This tool is one exercise to help you have a shared principles and values discussion with a partner organization. By surfacing the values that you all hold and discussing the areas where there are similarities and differences can help prepare you for conversations about how you will work together and what your ultimate goals are, both for your organization, as well as for your community overall.

https://buildingmovement.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Sharing-Values-.pdf 

Managing Change and Change Theory

Change Management

Any organizational change may have an unsettling impact on employees. You can help through thoughtful planning, effective communication, and engaging employees in exploring how changes can be handled in a psychologically safe way.

https://www.workplacestrategiesformentalhealth.com/managing-workplace-issues/helping-employees-manage-change

How to Design a Theory of Change

This guide is organized around the 5 parts of a Theory of Change. In each section of this guide there are questions for you to answer. Your answers to these questions become the basis for your final Theory of Change.

It used to be enough for a non profit to talk about what it produced (or “outputs”), such as meals served in a soup kitchen, hours spent reading to a child, beds provided in a homeless shelter, but that just doesn’t cut it anymore. In a world where there are fewer and fewer dollars and more and more non profits fighting for those dollars. The question must increasingly become, “Did anything really change because of our work? Did the lives of those in our program change, and did the community change?”

https://www.socialvelocity.net/step-by-step-guides/Design_a_Theory_of_Change.pdf

Risk Management

Non Profit Risk Management

Non profit organizations face unique risk management challenges. All non profits should address risk management, regardless of the size of the organization. Organizations without the processes and people in place to manage risk exposure are vulnerable to devastating losses if a crisis situation occurs.

https://thephilanthropist.ca/2012/05/nonprofit-risk-management/

Cyber Security and Non Profits

Help safeguard your organization through awareness and preparedness. Knowing that cyber breaches occur every day in both small and large organizations is just as important as implementing physical and electronic security measures and being aware of how to securely store, transmit, and dispose of sensitive information.

https://charityvillage.com/cyber_security_and_privacy_risk_vulnerability_in_the_nonprofit_and_charitable_sector/

Unions 

Unions and the NonProfit Workforce

Changes to collective agreements, labour laws, human rights codes, grievance and disciplinary procedures makes managing in a unionized environment challenging when it comes to maintaining a cohesive, trusting and motivated workforce.

https://nonprofitquarterly.org/unions-and-the-nonprofit-workforce-a-few-considerations/