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Helping Organizations Thrive 
April 2012 Edition
Welcome to my April 2012 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 March 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." 

Most editions include sections from one of two longer articles I'm writing.  Why Organizations Thrive  and Why Organizations Go Off Course detail lessons I learned while growing the Oregon League of Conservation Voters (OLCV), buttressed by my observations of dozens of other groups both in Oregon and across the country.


Collectively, I believe these lessons are a very useful set of principles that any Executive Director can use to improve their organization's capacity to fulfill its mission.


This month I have a new lesson in Why Organizations Go Off Course.  


Lesson Two is:  Don't Chase Money or Other Shiny Objects.


Particularly for small groups trying to get to the next level, the allure of money or other opportunities is extreme. Anything that can generate more activity is arguably a step towards growing the organization. And when you're struggling to pay staff, any money seems like it's worth chasing  

Nonetheless, in my experience groups that chase money or other opportunities that are either off-topic or off-plan almost always come out behind in the end, compared to groups that stay focused on their own plan and relentlessly work to fund it.  

Let me start by giving you an example from the real world.   

I recently spoke with an Executive Director who was having their organization round up its grassroots supporters to generate online votes to have the organization selected to win a small grant.  (Small in this context was $2,000, about 1% of the organization's budget if they were to receive it).

What was odd to me is that the grant they were seeking was to do work that wasn't part of their strategic plan.  Indeed, it wasn't even something that fit within the group's core niche/role. It wasn't just low priority and therefore not in the plan - it was off the radar screen entirely until the opportunity emerged to win the grant.  

When I asked the Executive Director why they were nonetheless pursuing it, their response was: the dollars flowing in would be twice what it would actually cost to implement (so they'd net $1,000) and it would get the group on the radar screen of a foundation, opening the door to larger future grants.  

I pondered this for a few minutes and my reaction was - that's not right.


Read the full article online.   


Download the PDF.  

Recent Success Stories and New Clients

In mid-April I facilitated a meeting on behalf of the Regional Marine Conservation Project of the American Littoral Society.  The meeting was aimed at furthering strategic alignment among more than a dozen west coast organizations interested in conservation of forage fish species.

I'm continuing my work with the Oregon Chapter, Sierra Club, with a focus on developing a new long-term fundraising plan.  

I'm providing ongoing executive coaching services to the development director of Portland's  Leadership & Entrepreneurship High School. 

I'm in the latter stages of a large strategic planning process for the Alliance for a Sustainable Colorado.  With the staff and board retreats done, I'm now focused on working with a couple of committees to turn decisions into a written plan. 

Earlier this week I provided follow-up consulting to the Aloha Community Library Association, aimed at furthering their board fundraising campaign.

Lastly, I was in the "other" Portland (Maine) in mid-April to provide one-on-one coaching sessions at the the annual conference of State LCVs.  It was great to catch up with so many colleagues and clients.  Plus, I learned a lot that I hope to share in future newsletters and blog entries.

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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