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Learning Link | Fall 2017

La Piana Consulting

Collaborate. Create. Accelerate.

La Piana Consulting

Strategy Snapshot: Survey Results and Reflections

Getting Better at Keeping Up with the Speed of Change 

As the 10-year anniversary of the publication of The Nonprofit Strategy Revolution approaches in the coming year, the status of strategy development and strategic planning in the sector has been on our minds...even more than usual. So, in October, we launched a brief, Six-Question Strategic Planning Survey to ask what your strategy experiences have been like  and with over 150 responses, it seems the time is ripe for this topic! 

We're happy to share this visual snapshot of the results to date,* so you can compare how your responses align or differ. [*Reflects data collected as of November 3. The survey remains open until November 22 so you can still add your voice today.]

In this article, "Strategic Planning is Getting Better at Keeping Up with the Speed of Change," David La Piana offers his observations on the survey findings, and what these and other data points may tell us about the state of strategy development in nonprofits. 

Read David's article here.

Business Plans Inform Nonprofit and Funder Success

New Blog Series Takes the Mystery Out of Business Planning 

Business planning is not just for start-ups. Increasingly, nonprofits and funders are turning to business plans to help them turn their strategies into action. In this series, we'll explore how nonprofits can use business planning to guide change and bolster funder confidence, how funders can use nonprofit business plans to inform "big bet" philanthropy, and why we think it's so important to put the power of business planning within everyone's reach. 

Read the first installment here — and be sure to subscribe to our blog to receive follow-up posts in the coming weeks. 


Organizational Assessment Tools for Capacity Building The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, in partnership with Informing Change, have released a new guide to more than 90 assessment tools and their effective use by nonprofits and funder organizations. Also see our own blog post on three common approaches to organizational assessment and practical considerations for choosing the one that best meets your needs. 

It's All About People, People! The bad news: Underinvestment in the nonprofit workforce undermines the sector's performance, impact, and sustainability. The good news: We can do something about it! Nonprofits and funders need to check out the Fund the People Toolkit to learn more about the case for talent investment, what others are doing, and concrete steps to take to be part of the solution. 

Like TripAdvisor, But for Foundations We've written before about the challenges posed by lack of candid feedback for foundations from their nonprofit partners. seeks to remedy this through its new online review site, which uses a seven-question survey to compile feedback from reviewers' first-hand experience with funders. Learn more at this FAQ page

Executives Share Their Perspectives on Strategic Restructuring  In this blog post, Tom Dente, President and CEO of Humentum (premier organization supporting the international relief and development community, formed by the 2017 merger of InsideNGO, LINGOs, and Mango), reflects on "Purpose and Belonging in Mergers." And here, Russ Hedge, CEO of Hostelling International USA, talks about the role of culture change

News and Events  

Getting to Know Our Team: In our last issue, we introduced two new Senior Consultants, Onuka Ibe and Lara Jakubowski. Now you can take a look beyond their official bios in these two interviews, and learn more about what Onuka and Lara love about working with nonprofits. 

BoardSource, of Course! We were already honored to be part of two sessions at this year's BoardSource Leadership Forum, but to come away so inspired was the real treat. David La Piana and Makiyah Moody met with 80 board chairs and CEOs on shared responsibility and relationship leadership, and Bob Harrington fielded questions about nonprofit partnerships during and after the panel presentation on The Power of Possibility. Look for Makiyah's blog series on LinkedIn with some of her key takeaways and additional reflections.

Nonprofit Strategy for Next Gen Leaders: On November 20, Luis Vergara, Senior Manager, will discuss strategy development and strategic planning with grad students in the Master's in Nonprofit Administration program at the University of San Francisco

NOLA in 2018: On February 26, Makiyah Moody will join Genita G. Robinson, Director of the Mission Sustainability Initiative at Forefront, Laura Zumdahl, CEO of New Moms, and Mark Murray, VP of Programs and Administration at The Field Foundation of Illinois for a panel session on The Benefits, Pitfalls, and Challenges of Nonprofit Partnerships, at the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities 2018 Senior Leadership Conference in New Orleans. 

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