Fairmount InSights

Every day, our clients are working to solve entrenched social problems as we partner with them to define and achieve their organization’s aspirational goals. One way Fairmount meets that promise is to create plans that are truly strategic – both carefully crafted and responsive to the rapidly changing world we live in.

In my experience working with diverse organizations, across different sectors, both locally and globally, I recommend three approaches for your next strategic plan to succeed.

Engage in deliberate and adaptive planning.

While creating your plan happens at a specific time, being strategic about planning happens regularly as you test, monitor, evaluate and adapt the plan to changing internal and external conditions. Carefully defining the future you want to create through your organization’s work is critical; so is staying responsive to emergent strategy when disruption is the norm. Carefully articulated goals make it easy for your team to quickly pivot and take advantage of new opportunities.

Embed equity.

We are all seeking to activate our commitments to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice. Fairmount embeds equity in strategic plans both in the process itself and in the outcomes, understanding it takes a diversity of inputs to make the best decisions. Our strategies for planning engagements – for example, expanding who’s invited to the strategic planning committee and defining shared accountability for centering equity throughout the process – are themselves adaptive, as we work to bring your commitments, and our own, to life. 

Create a culture of empowerment.

Amid the great resignation and quiet quitting, teams are eager to retain high-performing staff. One essential strategy is engaging employees in decision-making that affects their work. The strategic plan is no longer the purview of just the board and senior management – the entire staff needs to be meaningfully engaged in defining success and feel responsible for achieving it. Cross-functional engagement creates excitement about future possibilities and the role everyone on the team plays in realizing them.

Strategic planning should never be a one-and-done exercise. What gives a plan life is the learning, listening, acting, and adapting. I have found this to be true for any strategy – program design, theory of change, resource development, mergers, business plans, etc. I work with our clients to define the outcomes you desire, gather the information needed to make knowledge-based decisions, articulate goals and strategies to achieve your outcomes, and make optimal decisions about resource deployment.

Next, you execute, monitor, evaluate, and adapt. The process becomes part of the fabric and culture of your organization and keeps everyone engaged and focused on future success.

Contact lblair@fairmountinc.com to explore how we can help you design and implement an adaptive, inclusive, and engaging strategic planning process.

Have you heard?

We’re honored to share in the success of the Good Jobs Challenge, awarded to client Philadelphia Works, which will bring $22.8M to the region to connect 3,000 jobseekers with equitable training and access to quality jobs over three years. Our team led project management, application coordination, and grant writing in partnership with dozens of stakeholders. Reach out if we can support your next federal, state, or City grant process.  

Fall has been in full swing at Fairmount! We’re adding numerous new clients to our roster, including:

Out & About

Nicole Meyenberg presented a session at the September 2022 Leading Philanthropy Conference held by the Association of Fundraising Professionals-Greater Philadelphia Chapter (AFP-GPC). Leaders from Philanthropy Network, Council of NJ Grantmakers, and Philanthropy Delaware each offered their “50,000 Ft. View of Changes in Philanthropy”.

Lori Blair served on the Prize Committee for Women’s Way’s Annual Book Prize in October, awarded to author Imbolo Mbue for How Beautiful We Were

Rae Pagliarulo facilitated an AFP-GPC workshop on using Masters-level creative writing techniques to sharpen storytelling in nonprofit development. Let us know if we can tailor a similar training for your fundraising team!

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