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Helping Organizations Thrive 

August 2010 Edition
Welcome to my August 2010 email newsletter. The mission of Jonathan Poisner Strategic Consulting is to help progressive organizations thrive by assisting them with strategic planning, coalition building, fundraising, communications, and other organizational development challenges.

To keep people informed about my work, I set up this monthly e-newsletter.  If you want to unsubscribe, just look for the link at the bottom.  My July edition can be read in my archive.

For a complete lists of the consulting services I offer, check out my website.
What Works

Each edition of this newsletter contains a section I call "What Works." 

Currently, I'm focused on a series of 15 lessons that I learned while growing the Oregon League of Conservation Voters, buttressed by my observations of dozens of other groups both in Oregon and across the country. 

June's lesson:  Become the best at something.
July's lesson: Relentlessly focus on relationships.

This month's lesson is to evaluate, evaluate, and evaluate.

What do I mean by that?
Let's start with the assumption that you're either a growing or mature organization, with multiple programs.  It's time to engage in strategic planning for the future, and your board needs to wrestle with whether to invest further in one or several of these programs, or to try something new.
How do they make that decision? 
The board and staff can, of course, consult a Magic 8 ball.
Or, they can sit around and shoot the breeze, trading over-generalized statements about what appears to work or not work, usually based on a small set of anecdotes and their own biases. 
I've never witnessed a group use a Magic 8 ball, but I've absolutely seen groups put in the position of shooting the breeze when choosing strategies. 

(Read the full article)
Book Review: The Secrets of Facilitation

Sometimes you know things, but don't realize you know it.
Or, more accurately, sometimes you recognize and engage in behaviors, without being able to articulate why.
But then somebody comes along and articulates why and a light goes off. 
The fact that you already "knew it" doesn't mean your time in "learning it" was wasted - to the contrary, you're now in a far better position to apply the knowledge rigorously and aggressively.
I had that experience several times when reading The Secrets of Facilitation by Charles Wilkinson.  
Of course, the book wasn't entirely a confirmation of things I already knew. 
The book was full of great advice for both the novice and experienced facilitator - anybody whose job it is to help corral a group towards group decision-making.
It's also a quick and well-organized read, which I recommend.
But for those who want a quick peak before (or in place of) reading it, here are a few lessons that I found particularly useful, ranging from the obvious to the subtle.   
Continue reading on my website.

New Service: Evaluation

For those interested in bringing more rigor to the evaluation process for their nonprofit, I have developed a range of potential services.

These range from conducting a basic workshop to kick off your organization's efforts at evaluation, to setting up your evaluation systems, to setting up and implementing your evaluation systems, to serving as an outside evaluator for a system already in place.

I can also help you think through the connections between your evaluation systems and your financial management systems.

A full outline of these services can be read on my website.

Recent Success Stories and New Clients

I recently wrapped up my work with WaterWatch of Oregon on their new strategic plan. 

I'm wrapping up my work with Fences for Fidoon their strategic plan. 

I'm continuing my work with Sauvie Island Center to launch a successful fall fundraising campaign.

I'm working this month with Conservation Voters of South Carolina to assist their transition to using the Databank as their fundraising-volunteer-electronic advocacy database. 

I wrapped up stage one of a two stage project with Florida Conservation Alliance to upgrade their fiscal management systems.  Stage two will take place after the election. 

In a few weeks, I'll begin working with Conservation Leaders Network to develop their major donor fundraising program.
Contact Information
Jonathan Poisner Strategic Consulting
phone: 503-490-1234

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