I’m taking part in a strategic planning exercise for a land trust, and it could not come at a better time, because as of next month I begin serving as board president. Just at the beginning stages of strategic planning (the last exercise done after merging with another smaller land trust), we’ve looked at the strategic goals established three years ago and graded ourselves on what the organization – the board and staff and volunteers – have achieved. We wrestled with a vision statement and tinkered with a mission statement – both assigned now (thankfully) to a smaller committee.
The upcoming focus groups are cool; these are being developed as part of the strategic planning exercise to help guide the land trust into future territory – geographically and programmatically. (After 30 years this small land trust has conserved 150 properties and 9,000 acres leveraging private, federal and local dollars. Should we (are we able to) do more work in the western part of the county? And after the next 30 years, will meeting the organization’s mission require a shift away from securing easements and shift instead towards the stewardship and monitoring of many more acres and parcels that the land trust has already protected?)
This leads me to a webinar I took advantage of, recently sponsored by the NH Center for Nonprofits called “Nonprofit Sustainability: Visualizing & Strengthening Your Business Model”, led by Steve Zimmerman at Spectrum Nonprofit. Even after 30 years active in different aspects of non-profits, and as a volunteer, mentor, staff person or trustee, presentations like these, that get to the crux of the matter and offer new approaches to recurring challenges, are welcome and valued. Steve explained his matrix mapping technique and challenged us to think in new ways so that we merge our financial and impact strategies, which are too often silo’d in the normal course of governance. I’ll be sure to bring Steve’s insight into the land trust’s strategic planning, and into my year ahead.