Monday, November 7, 2011

BIG's Blog: Strategy in times of uncertainty

"If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there." -Lewis Carroll

We have all heard this quote before. But, in uncertain times, how do you know that the road you’ve chosen is the right path?

It is difficult to foresee the future of fundraising. The question to ask is, “Can the methods used in the past to develop current and future strategies be enough to sustain the organization?”

There are different levels of uncertainty that shape an organization’s strategy and are necessary to address change. Level one is a simplistic method of addressing the future. Using standard strategy tools such as data analytics can help a manager predict future outcomes.

Today, the method of choice used by nonprofits to predict their marketing strategy is response analysis and demographics. From these efforts, the organization makes strategic decisions on how and where they will market their message. If the analysis is sound this strategy should work.

In speaking with nonprofits, many are only addressing their organization’s strategy at level one. While it is important to identify clear trends based on the market’s demographics, there are many factors that are still unknown to the nonprofit that can affect its bottom line; factors such as: technology, changing demographics. Nonprofits who provide similar services or ministries and compete for funding play a part in strategic uncertainty.

Over the next few blogs, I will address the different levels of uncertainty that nonprofit leaders face in predicting the future of this industry.


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