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Helping Organizations Thrive 
August 2014 Edition
Welcome to my August 2014 email newsletter. 

The mission of Jonathan Poisner Strategic Consulting is to make the world a better place by helping mission-driven 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 (mostly) e-newsletter.  If you want to unsubscribe, just look for the link at the bottom.   My most recent edition can be read in my archive.

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

Most editions of this newsletter contain a section I call "What Works." 

This month I'm including Lesson 12 in my series: Why Organizations Go Off Course. 


This series offers a counterpoint to the lessons in another series: Why Organizations Thrive.


Why Organizations Go Off Course Lesson Twelve is: Step out of the Comfort Zone.


This lesson is mostly about fundraising because it's the context where it most often comes up.

But it's not only about fundraising.

Regularly, when I'm working with nonprofit boards, and occasionally with staff, I'm struck by the following disconnect. On the one hand, they profess great passion for the organization's mission and its importance to the community. On the other hand, they routinely say they aren't prepared to do something for the organization because it makes them "uncomfortable."

Now if the discomfort is ethical or legal, then of course, it's a sign you shouldn't do something.

But almost always the discomfort they express is: "It makes me uncomfortable to bother my friends about this by asking them to do X." Usually X is a request for a donation or their volunteer time.


Important mission. But not worth "bothering" anyone.

Organizations that fail to create a culture where its leaders get past this disconnect are more likely to go off course. They may putter along doing some work, but they are unlikely to thrive.  

Why this disconnect between belief in the cause and unwillingness to be uncomfortable?

What are the consequences of this disconnect?

And how can a nonprofit overcome it?


Read the rest of the article.

Download the article as a PDF.
Recent Success Stories and New Clients

On August 13th, on behalf of Sightline Institute, I facilitated a half-day meeting of Oregon and Washington advocates working for a more sustainable and equitable transportation system.

I recently kicked off a six month process assisting Planned Parenthood of Southwestern Oregon develop a new strategic plan.  In September, we will focus on generating input on the planning process from staff, board, and external stakeholders.

I am in the process of launching a strategic planning process for the Middle Fork Willamette Watershed Council.

In mid-September, I will be facilitating a planning retreat for the WorkSource Clackamas Annex, a partnership of several public agencies and nonprofits who are working to secure employment fo those in Clackamas County with barriers to employment.

I recently began to work with America Walks to provide strategic project management/advice for an upgraded website. 

I'm continuing to provide ongoing assistance to the Blue Mountains Conservancy aimed at generating more effective leadership and more funding for the organization.  

Lastly, I recently joined the "Parts Department" at Hatch, a Portland-based Community Innovation Lab that consists of purpose-driven for-profit and nonprofit organizations.  Portland area folks should be on the lookout for monthly workshops I'll be leading at Hatch, with the first one slated for September 3rd.    

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

Note: I am actively looking for Guest Blog submissions.  If you have some thoughts to share on any aspect of organizational development, shoot me an email and we can discuss length, timing, etc.

Why you Lead Matters

A Blog about a Frog on a Log - Updated

Should your Nonprofit Get a Drone?

Why Don't Groups Do Strategic Planning

Guest Blog: Grant Writing as a Team-Building Exercise

Connecting Fiscal Management to Strategy

Learning to Let Things Go Wrong

Ideas for Donor Involvement

Guest Blog:  Five Questions to Ask when Marketing to Grow your Nonprofit

Have you Sharpened your Axe Lately?

Evaluating on Two Levels

Looking for one of my past blog entries on a particular topic?   I have now categorized my past blog entries.  Just go to my website and hover over the "blog" link on the navigation bar and you can see the topics and choose from among them. 
Contact Information
Jonathan Poisner Strategic Consulting
phone: 503-490-1234

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