3 Vital Steps as You Initiate a Strategic Planning Process

By | Board, Engagement, Industry, Leadership, Mission Delivery | No Comments

Strategic planning doesn’t have to be a painful process. It’s necessary to maintain and revise a strategic plan frequently in order to ensure your nonprofit is meeting goals and achieving it’s mission. According to the National Council of Nonprofits, “Ideally, as staff and board engage in the process, they become committed to measurable goals, approve priorities for implementation, and also commit to revisiting the organization’s strategies on an ongoing basis as the organization’s internal and external environments change.”

As you begin your strategic planning with your board, here are three steps to get started:

  1.  Ask yourself this question:  What significant measurable community impact do we want the YMCA to produce over the next 5 years? Your answers to this question will be the framework for all your discussions moving forward.  If you are having trouble answering the question, start with the things you are already doing. How do you take those efforts to the next level? Is there a logical next step that stems from something you’re already doing and doing well? This may lead you to new programs and services you can offer your community!  Thinking big here is not a problem, but once you have some ideas down you need to whittle your thoughts down to be clear, concise, compelling, and challenging. According to Wes Bender of Triangle2 Solutions, “With a clear, concise, compelling and courageous plan, each action of the organization becomes self-reinforcing and creates more options that are beneficial. Each victory during the strategic planning process is a step to clear the path for your organization’s future.”
  2. Review the data:  Triangle2 Solutions advises YMCA, JCC, and other community nonprofits to base their plans on concrete facts. This includes operations or engagement data, community research, board and staff insights, and societal trends. Sifting through vast amounts of data can be challenging but it’s important to know where trends are emerging and where you can have a meaningful impact in your community. Need help getting started? Consultants can offer resources to help you mine and sift through your organization’s data stores. They may also offer help accessing and deciphering societal and community trends.
  3. Set priorities and expectations: Once you have a solid answer to how you want to impact your community and you have the research to best channel your efforts, it’s time to prioritize. You can’t do everything and be everything to your community, so you’re going to have to pick and choose based on your strengths. “All current operations and new development should be placed into categories,” says Triangle2 Solutions Consultant, Tom Massey. Those categories are: Top Priority, Future Priority, Ongoing Work, and Reduced Emphasis. By placing all your efforts into buckets, you get a really clear idea of everything you’re organization is doing including where you might be spread thin, and where you might be able to scale back.

By following these initial steps you save time and stress later down the line. The next step in the process often involves assigning a team for the planning process and if you have already begun working on these three things you can more easily commit to the measurable, important goals that make your organization and your community a better place.

3 Key Motivators for the Millennial Workforce

By | Engagement, Facilities, Industry, Leadership, Organizational Health, Uncategorized, Volunteers | One Comment

Last year Millennials became the majority generation in the workforce.  According to Pew Research, there are now more Millennials than Gen X or Baby Boomers in the American workforce. You may think of Millennials as social media obsessed, selfie-taking young adults, but don’t overlook their desire for a sense of community, to make a difference, and to take advantage of opportunities for advancement. 

COMMUNITY

Millennials want to belong to a group or community. This seems like a no-brainer considering the success of social media, but don’t think that it stops with virtual communities. Millennials are brand loyal, compassionateand want to be a part of something bigger. According to Adam Poswolsky in Fast Company, millennials aren’t really motivated by financial gain, instead, “they aim to make the world more compassionate, innovative, and sustainable.” Because this fits with the mission of most community nonprofits, try to appeal to millennials on those grounds by stressing the importance of your organization to make your shared community a better place. 

IMPACT 

You’re likely to find Millennials volunteering their time and money to causes they believe in. Don’t miss an opportunity to get your Millennial staff involved in your cause—don’t assume that just because they work for you that they’re allocating their limited resources to you.

OPPORTUNITY

You may have heard that Millennials are a job-hopping group, but data shows otherwise. Millennials are looking for opportunities to grow in their career and advance in their company.  Poswolsky explains, “millennials will work hard when you get serious about investing in their skills development. Young talent wants the opportunity to learn from someone with expertise; they want that on-the-ground experience to happen today, not tomorrow – and certainly not in five years.”

I’ll leave you with this: Understanding the Millennial Mindset goes further than understanding your staff. Millennials are also the future of your membership. So don’t overlook this pivotal group of game-changers. 

Executive Interview: Focusing on Progress

By | Industry, Leadership, Mission Delivery, Organizational Health, Webcasts | No Comments

Recently, Daxko’s own Tom Massey, sat down with 4 prominent YMCA CEOs to discuss leadership, technology, and YMCA best practices:

  • Billy George of the YMCA of South Hampton Roads
  • Danny McConnell of The Family YMCA of Greater Augusta
  • Paul McEntire of the YMCA of the Greater Houston Area
  • Baron Herdelin-Doherty of the YMCA of San Diego County

Each one provided great insight into the workings of successful YMCAs. A few highlights that stood out to me:

When asked the top things they knew they needed to take care of in order to make progress at their associations, Danny McConnell mentioned that the YMCA of Greater Augusta put a focus on the following:

  1. Building a great team,
  2. Building a culture of success to help community partners “think of the Y first,”
  3. And staying true to the mission of the organization.

Danny mentioned that the faith-based mission of the YMCA really resonated with him and so his team makes a concerted effort to, “keep the mission of the organization clear in our sights, we talk about it a lot, we plan around it…and I have not doubt because of that that we have been blessed with what we have done here along the way.”

Paul McEntire’s priorities centered on technology goals with the transition of the YMCA of the Greater Houston Area to Daxko software.

  1. Making sure that the association has accurate data and making data-driven decisions a priority,
  2. Establish common business practices across the association and decide what decisions should be made at the branch level versus the regional or association level,
  3. And make online registration a priority.

Watch the full webcast to catch all of the interview and find out more about how these successful CEOs make changes and measure progress at their YMCAs.

Why Healthy Culture Drives Success

By | Customer Experience, Engagement, Industry, Leadership, Organizational Health | No Comments

To state the obvious, we’re not perfect. Anyone who has spent time here and is honest will tell you that. Although we’re not perfect, there are some things we genuinely believe in and continuously try to improve upon.

One of those areas is around our intended Daxko culture.

Here are some quick insights into our fundamental beliefs around company culture that might be helpful as you think about your organization or team.

We believe a healthy culture is THE long-term, sustainable competitive advantage.

If you’re successful, others will copy your product features, pricing, marketing, and business model. But what’s difficult to copy is a team of highly talented people rowing in the same direction in pursuit of the same mission.

If you believe that, then culture has to be your top priority. It is not a luxury you put in place once you’re successful, but instead you have to believe it will be the driver of your success.

If you treat it that way, you’ll attract and empower talent that will deliver true value to your customers, which will make it far more likely you’ll effectively execute on your strategy and reach your goals and objectives.

But like most things in life worth doing, it isn’t easy. It requires focus, perseverance and most of all, leadership.