Don't waste money with traditional strategic planning.

Instead, use lean strategic planning to move forward with confidence.


Your nonprofit needs a solid strategic plan.

Almost every nonprofit leader has emerged from the pandemic recognizing that their nonprofit needs a strategic reset. But traditional strategic planning simply isn't enough. In today’s world of tight budgets and political division, economic instability, climate change, and a host of other uncertainties, it doesn’t make sense to spend from $10,000 to $60,000 or more[1] to create a static strategic plan that can’t keep up with your nonprofit’s constantly shifting internal capacities and external environment.

The fact is, traditional strategic planning tends to fail.

There are many reasons:

  • Lack of Alignment: If the strategy does not align with the needs of customers, mission, values, and long-term aspirations of the organization, it can lead to confusion, resistance, and ineffective implementation.
  • Inadequate Execution: Without dedicated resources, commitment, and a systematic approach to execution, the “strategic plan” remains a theoretical document without meaningful results – a stack of paper on a shelf, instead of a viable guide to leadership in a constantly shifting environment.
  • Lack of Flexibility and Adaptability: In today's fast-paced and dynamic landscape, strategies need to be flexible and adaptable. Failure to adjust or pivot when necessary can result in missed opportunities or being left behind.
  • Poor Communication and Engagement: Strategic planning requires effective communication and engagement with stakeholders across the organization. When the strategy is not communicated clearly and consistently and employees and key stakeholders are not enthusiastically involved in the planning process and aware of their roles and responsibilities, this leads to a lack of buy-in, resistance, and poor execution.
  • Unrealistic or Ambiguous Goals: Strategic planning can fail when the goals and objectives set are unrealistic, overly vague, lack measurability, or don't account for organizational capacity needs and challenges.
  • Lack of Monitoring and Evaluation: Without continuous review and assessment, it becomes difficult to identify whether the strategy is on track, if adjustments are needed, or if the strategy is delivering the intended results.
  • Organizational Culture and Resistance to Change: Strategic planning can fail when there is a lack of a supportive organizational culture that embraces change and innovation. If there is resistance to change, a fear of failure, or a preference for the status quo, it becomes challenging to implement new strategies effectively and achieve desired outcomes.

Annual “check-ins” to assess progress, ”communicating” with staff to let them know about the plan after adoption, and board or staff retreats to enlist (or dictate) support are simply misguided attempts to put band aids on a flawed process.

Luckily, there's an alternative: Lean Strategic Planning.

Lean strategic planning starts by engaging your staff to evaluate your nonprofit’s current capacities and risks. Then it turns to gather information from your two separate groups of customers – end users, who receive and use your services, and donors, who give your nonprofit money based on your promise of positive results. Using this data, combined with an analysis of your nonprofit’s external environment, lean strategic planning guides your staff and board to identify important, achievable customer-centered objectives.

But it doesn’t stop there. Lean strategic planning keeps your strategic imperatives at the top of everyone's mind, encouraging work on those issues as part of normal operations. It also helps you implement a proven learning and problem-solving process that your team can use to thrive even during crises or political uncertainty. With lean strategic planning, your nonprofit becomes more customer-centered, people-powered, and resilient.

Risk Alternatives can help!

Risk Alternatives has worked with hundreds of nonprofits over the past decade, training them to become more agile and resilient in the face of uncertainty.

Our CEO, Ted Bilich, recently published Managing Your Nonprofit for Resilience (Wiley 2023), based on years of research and work in lean risk management and process improvement.

We can help you develop a robust, actionable strategic vision using our lean strategic planning methodology. We are intimately familiar with the challenges facing nonprofits, both internally and externally. Furthermore, we can do this work for much less than traditional strategic planning.

Begin your journey the easy way.

To begin benefitting from Risk Alternatives lean strategic planning, take the following steps:



Download our fact sheet HERE, which explains how lean strategic planning is different from outmoded traditional approaches;


Strategy Session

Reach out to us for a free, brief strategy session to help us assess whether our process would meet your needs; and



If you’re interested, ask us for a proposal so we can get started in transforming your organization for good.

There's no time to waste!

You need to act now to help your nonprofit function effectively in a dynamic environment. You need to gain peace of mind, rally your team and board, and move forward with confidence.

Otherwise, you are left with two poor choices. You can delay strategic planning, leaving yourself in the same predicament, older but not wiser. Or you can fall into the trap of traditional strategic planning, with its high cost, waste, and frustration.

Be the nonprofit you wish to see in the world.

You want your nonprofit to not just survive, but thrive. You want alignment up and down your organization, so that everyone sees the important role they play in your nonprofit’s success. You want accountability and progress. In short, you want lean strategic planning with Risk Alternatives.