In Lewis Carrolls classic Alice in Wonderland, Alice encounters the Cheshire Cat and asks which way she should go. The Cheshire Cat, in typical Cheshire Cat fashion, responds simply, That depends a great deal on where you want to get to.
So often in organizations, we spend a lot of time figuring out which way to go, where to allocate precious funds, which programs to continue, which to cut and which to change-without a clear picture of our destination. As the Cheshire Cat points out, we can take any of these paths and keep walking and we will end up somewhere. But is it anywhere near where we intended?
To help assist with managing the day-to-day decisions of budgeting, program development, fundraising and priorities, many nonprofit organizations develop a strategic plan to help define the destination of their efforts.
Most strategic plans look ahead three to five years in the organizations future and outline the main goals the organizations board intends to reach.
A strategic plan counts on the fact that the future is unpredictable and that many decisions will be made along the way (forks in the road, to continue Alices metaphor.) A strategic plan acts as both a map and compass to help the organization constantly answer that question, Which way should we go?
In the last three years, Community Connections has faced many changes.
Weve lost more than $500,000 in funding with the downturn in the economy.
There have been significant changes in leadership, including the hiring of a new executive director. Many of the strategies and goals previously set by the organization have either been met or are no longer applicable to the current situation. It is time to redesign the map.
The goals and direction of an organization are mainly the responsibility of the organizations board of directors.
However, as a nonprofit organization, Community Connections serves not only the people with disabilities and their families who are enrolled in the organization but the community at large. As such, every resident of the five counties in Southwest Colorado has a stake in the direction the organization takes.
Members of the community are invited to participate in the strategic planning process by participating in a simple online survey available at Community Connections website (cci-colorado.org) or directly to Survey Monkey at www.surveymonkey.com/s/PH3KP3Q.
The survey invites participants to comment about the organizations internal strengths and weaknesses, as well as the potential external opportunities and threats that may influence our success in the years to come. Our success is meeting our mission to provide opportunities for children and adults to live healthy and fulfilling lives within our community.
Community Connections has served people with disabilities in Southwest Colorado for more than 25 years. With good planning and a clear understanding of our communities needs and wishes, we can continue down the right path for another 25 years.
For more information about Community Connections strategic planning process, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 259-2464.
Tara Kiene is the director of case management with Community Connections Inc.