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Helping Organizations Thrive 

September 2011 Edition
Welcome to my September 2011 email newsletter. 

The mission of Jonathan Poisner Strategic Consulting is to help progressive organizations thrive.  I do that by assisting my clients with strategic planning, campaign 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." 

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

In this edition, I'm launching a new series of articles about why organizations go off course. This series offers a counterpoint to the lessons in my other series: Why Organizations Thrive.


For fans of that series, don't worry, I'll still be adding to it. But I've developed a series of ideas about why organizations go off course and this one just kept popping into the front of my mind.


I've been involved with at least two social impact organizations that I feel went awry because they failed to recognize the importance of analyzing the competitive environment as part of a planning process.


To explain why, I'd like to start with a thought-experiment from the for-profit business world and then ask how it applies to the challenge social impact organizations face when developing strategic plans. In particular, organizations sometimes go off course in determining their core niche and primary marketing strategy when they fail to account for competition. 

Imagine you are a fruit vendor in a world where there's two types of fruits - apples and bananas. You've been focused mostly on bananas, but also sell apples. You're not doing so great compared to some of your competitors.  


So you commission a study to talk to potential fruit buyers - both your existing customers and people you've identified as potential customers.


Among the things they tell you - by about a 2-1 margin, they would prefer a fruit vendor that focuses on selling apples.

So you decide to start emphasizing selling apples in your marketing, and rejigger your fruit vendor stand to make apples more prominent. 

In theory, this means more customers will want to shop at our fruit stand.  Right?  Possibly, but in some circumstances the opposite will happen -- an effort to rebrand yourself to appeal to more fruit buyers could backfire.


Read the full article

Download the PDF from my website 

Recent Success Stories and New Clients

At the end of July, I conducted a training entitled "Strategic Planning in the Real World" for Western States Center at their annual Community Strategic Training Initiative in Portland.

I've wrapped up strategic planning projects for Wyoming Conservation Voters , and Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania. 

In August, I worked with Recycling Advocates on board governance issues related to departing board members.

Also in August, I facilitated a planning retreat for the Oregon Solar Energy Industries Association.
We're now doing follow-up to help OSEIA draft a strategic plan coming out of the retreat.

In early September, I spent a week in Austin, TX conducting interviews as part of Texas LCV's strategic planning process.  I will also be working with Texas LCV staff to provide feedback on their fundraising programs and financial management system.

Earlier this week, I was in Atlanta providing 1 on 1 coaching for the new Executive Director of Georgia Conservation Voters.

In mid-October, I'll be conducting a webinar for the State Environmental Leadership Program on effective volunteer engagement.

Check out my website for a complete list of all my clients.

Contact Information
Jonathan Poisner Strategic Consulting
phone: 503-490-1234

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