When we set out to study leadership in the nonprofit sector, we didn’t go into the study with preconceived notions of what the results might be. We actually were hoping that the data would show leadership in nonprofits is stronger than the anecdotes we keep hearing.
So we looked at areas commonly agreed on as important in leadership: attracting and retaining staff, communicating vision, and planning strategically.
Does strategic planning matter?
We were first shocked that 49% of nonprofit leaders told us they didn’t have a plan in writing. It either didn’t exist, or it only existed in their head.
But one of our study partners challenged us to see if strategic plans really matter. So we sliced the data to look at responses based on those how had a plan and those who didn’t.
The results surprised us. Based on the data, nonprofits with a written strategic plan were more likely to:
- collaborate with other nonprofits;
- have boards willing to take calculated risks;
- complete annual performance reviews on their CEO; and
- to have a formal process for measuring leadership effectiveness across their organization.
The data is in
So if you are reaching your goals and having maximum impact by makng it up as you go along and “shooting from the hip,” strategic planning might be a waste of time. But if you want to lead a nonprofit characterized by being open to taking risks, playing well with others, and measuring effectiveness at all levels, the data indicates that strategic planning really does matter!
If you want to read more, including our four simple questions to help create a strategic plan, download the Nonprofit Sector Leadership Report at: https://concordleadershipgroup.com/report/.