"It's the double bottom line, baby! ESPECIALLY if you are in non-profit leadership today."
I just heard Jeanne Bell, CEO and author of NonProfit Sustainability talk honestly about the double bottom line in her own business as well as in her consulting engagements. Her fresh, tested perspective rings true.
In a nutshell:
- ...in the mythic past it was possible to think first about strategic impact goals, and then about how to raise the money. ...today...you can't talk about what you're going to do without talking about how to get the money. And, you can't talk about how to get money without talking about what you're going to do.
Cultivate direction, identify sacred cows. Name it. CHANGE it.
- Declare change as constant.
- Model change by turning down money not headed in the right direction. We have some agency over this – don’t have to jump to funders. "
- Cultivate direction, identify sacred cows. Name it. CHANGE it.
- Use good tools, frameworks.
- DO NOT confuse strategy and planning.
- If the financial goal in a for-profit company is to maximize profit, should our goal as a nonprofit be to have $0 profit? Or should the goal be to grow an endowment of $10 million, or to have a surplus of 5%, or a deficit of no more than $50,000?
- The financial goal of a nonprofit is to ensure that it has adequate working capital; that is, its financial goal is to have enough money to do its work over the long term. Today we often use the term sustainability...
- What is sustainable today may be unsustainable tomorrow. ...We never arrive at a mix of programs and revenue streams that can be described as permanently sustainable. But we can always be heading in the right direction.
Related to this, read Deb's article on strategic agility (the end of strategic planning) here.