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Don’t sacrifice the future while solving today’s challenges

For some Executive Directors and Board leadership, the biggest test faced as they solve the financial crisis of 2009/10/11 is not sacrificing the long term future of the organization in order to get through the next 12-24 months.  In order to stay mindful of the longer term nonprofit leaders should ask themselves:  “Are we positioning the organization well to best accomplish our mission once we get through the current financial crisis?”

In other words, an eye needs to be on the long term even as leadership deals with any decline in resources in the short term.  The financial crisis will pass and each organization needs to have its core programs in place and ready to go as resources become available.  Organizations will address this challenge in different ways; however, they will all speak to the following three questions:

  • Are today’s community needs going to be the same needs in the future? How leadership projects these needs will determine the organization’s response in both the short and long term.
  • How should our organization respond to the community’s future needs? The answer to this question will determine the organization’s core programs for the long term.
  • Are today’s core program service models the models that we will be using in the future? The program service models that organizations choose can be as important as the selection of programs in determining how resources will be spent in the future.

As one of my long-term clients has said, “If the board and staff leadership is not thinking about the future of the organization, then nobody is thinking about it – because the staff are too busy dealing with the alligators in the swamp.”

How are YOU addressing the long-term future while responding to today’s challenges?

Posted in Board leadership, Planning. Tagged with .

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