Strategic Planning

There are many approaches to Strategic Planning out there. Many nonprofit organizations spend exorbitant amounts of time and resources in this area in order to create a thick, dense Strategic Plan so overwhelming it mostly collects dust on a back shelf in the Executive Director’s office. CSL believes Strategic Planning is both much deeper and much simpler. In truth, it is none other than aligning the organization’s priorities, program mix and everyday actions with its mission, vision and core values. CSL has created an intensive process for a nonprofit to create a high-quality Strategic Plan in a relatively short time.

With this process, the Strategic Plan becomes a living, breathing document that the nonprofit can amend quarterly (or more frequently) so it retains its relevance to the organization’s evolving challenges, budgetary constraints, goals and priorities. The Strategic Planning process includes a weekend-long retreat in which CSL helps the Board and/or Leadership Team to balance its efforts toward achieving two key goals:

  1. Creating the vision and timeless values that guide and inspire the organization.
  2. Creating time-sensitive goals and objectives that the organization can use to measure its success.

The process culminates in the design of a one-year Action Plan that includes SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Aligned with the organization’s mission and vision, Realistic, and Time-based). The Strategic Planning process that CSL facilitates can be customized by your nonprofit.

There are 4 key steps in the sequence that CSL encourages most nonprofits to follow to create a Strategic Plan:

1) In the two months preceding the Strategic Planning Board retreat, CSL provides the nonprofit with a brief questionnaire on its internal strengths and challenges and external opportunities and threats. This questionnaire is completed by staff, clients, key donors and community/collaborative partners. In some cases, CSL interviews the organization’s primary stakeholders in person or by phone with respect to the nonprofit’s internal strengths and challenges and external opportunities and threats, and sends the Executive Director a summary of its findings to be distributed to all key stakeholders in the Strategic Planning process.

2) CSL facilitates a weekend (usually from Friday night through Sunday mid-day) Strategic Planning Retreat for the Board and/or Leadership Team. At the retreat, the Board/Leadership Team designs the main components of the 3-year Strategic Plan.

3) In the month following the retreat, the Executive Director and other leadership team members use the Board/Leadership Team input and decisions from the retreat to write up a draft of the Strategic Plan. CSL provides a framework for the Executive Director and leadership team members to create the Action Plan. The Executive Director sends CSL a draft of the Strategic Plan and CSL provides relevant feedback on format and content.

4) After discussion and any final amendments, the Board and/or Leadership Team approves the new Strategic Plan during an upcoming board or leadership team meeting or by email.

Contact CSL
for a free consultation on how we can assist your nonprofit.




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  • Testimonials

    The workshop has really helped me to identify my blind spots. After this conference I will have an inclusive decision-making style. I will avoid the ‘I know it all’ attitude.

    — Emmanuel Malubila, Executive Director, Zambia Ex-Prisoners Rehabilitation and Counseling

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    Tony’s sessions were practical, relevant, thought-provoking and clear. I would have enjoyed more time with him.

    — Shaheen Mistri, Executive Director, Akanksha, Bombay, India

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    I believe that many of us learned a lot more than we anticipated we would. Tony’s workshops fueled conversations that continued through dinners, evening walks on the beach, and late night groups who gathered around wine and intense conversation....Tony helped us regain our focus and renew our passion and vision!

    — Janna Genovese, Executive Director, Womenspace Unlimited

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    I have worked with 5 national organizations and have had the opportunity to participate in several leadership development programs, all valuable, but none of which compared to the quality and depth of ECPNL...The quality of the presenters was second to none...I highly recommend this Program for nonprofit leaders at any stage of their career.

    — Joe Elmore, CAWA Director,
 Strategic Development National Outreach – MS Gulf, Coast
Hurricane Katrina Recovery

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    I love Tony’s passion for his topic! I also am very inspired by how he merges many cultural philosophies….I like how he makes leadership a ‘concrete’ idea…I wish the retreat had been longer.

    — Michelle Chun-Tuck, The Fresno Regional Foundation’s Nonprofit Advancement Center

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    Tony has a way of being that is authentic and welcoming. His passion and commitment was evident. The approach was powerfully and passionately delivered…The retreat absolutely exceeded my expectations. PASSION and TRUTH are contagious! Tony is an example of a confident, compassionate, gentle person who has made a difference in this world. He is very special and a treasure.

    — Sharon Gallagher, Board Member, American Red Cross

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    Tony's use of examples and stories always help clarify/illustrate his points – and keep the discussion interesting. What I find most important, is that Tony includes stories from his personal experiences and feelings. To me, that adds a level of authenticity and vulnerability that I see as a commitment to teaching and generosity that is unique.

    — J. Kevin Jones, Jr., Deputy Director, Out & Equal Workplace Advocates

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    I see myself continuing as an NGO leader because of my skills that I now have after this conference. Tony’s 15 Principles will help me in leading my organization to achieve its vision, mission and goals…This conference was really helpful and it should be organized again for other NGO Directors.

    — Brian Kayongo, Director, Adolescent Reproductive Health Advocates, Zambia

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    The retreat surpassed my expectations! I want more training from Tony, and I’ll even drive for hours to it!

    — Andra Christensen, Board Member, The Discovery Center

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    Tony Silard and the Center for Social Leadership are indeed transforming the way nonprofit leaders lead.

    — Clark Byron, D.Min., Coalition for Independence (CFI)

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    I think Tony’s approach was good because we had the chance to discuss the different characteristics of a leader….He made us realize that we all have characteristics of leaders in us.

    — Patty Santucci, Outreach Worker, Youth Developer, The Latin American Youth Center

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    Thank you Tony for helping me find my passion! Forty years of not knowing and to finally have an “ah ha” moment!

    — Pam Smartt, Connections for Life

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    This was a 100% well-prepared, well-carried out, and well-received conference. I felt like the speakers knew exactly what our group's struggles were in maintaining and growing a nonprofit.

    — Sara Ortega, Mira Scholars Foundation, San Francisco, CA

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    CSL's nonprofit leadership training helped me fully appreciate my inner voice. It has allowed my philosophy of leadership to bloom!

    — Holly M. Gartmayer-DeYoung, Healthcare Executive on Sabbatical, Addison, ME

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    Tony was the perfect facilitator as he had walked the path I am on…I need more time for myself, I need to find balance and hone skills for my staff. I can learn a lot from Tony’s calmness and integrity.

    — Suzanne McKechnie Klahr, Executive Director, YouthBuild

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    This conference has dramatically broadened and encouraged my plans for my nonprofit enterprise... Thank you. A life-changing experience.

    — Art Shields, Lifesavers World Inc.

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    The conference affected my philosophy of leadership. It taught me not to be a dictator, but to have vision and be a listener.

    — Linah Nkhonjela, Executive Director, Girls Brigade of Zambia

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