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Nonprofit Life Cycles

Many of us start the New Year by taking stock of where we are and where we are headed.

It might serve us well to do the same for our organizations. Where is your organization right now and where are you headed?

A terrific tool to help you in this reflection is the Five Life Stages of Nonprofit Organizations by Judith Sharken Simon (Fieldstone Alliance. 2001).
Five Life Stages
In her piece, Ms. Simon highlights five life stages of nonprofit organizations:

  • Imagine and Inspire
  • Found and Frame
  • Ground and Grow
  • Produce and Sustain
  • Review and Renew

Nonprofit Life Cycles (PDF)

In Stage Five “Review and Renew” “the organization is reinventing itself in some way, shape, or form through a process of review and renewal.”

In our current environment many organizations find themselves in Stage Five due to the rapid changes in the needs of our clients and communities, funding, and other resources.

Here are some tips in engaging through the fifth stage:

o    Check your assumptions:
Check in regularly with your clients, your peers and partners, and your funders to get a better handle on the environment in which you are working

o    Benchmark your peers nationwide:
Get a handle on what is happening with “like” organizations that have similar missions and goals to yours, and understand what is working and not working for them

o    Keep “strategy” alive:
Be sure everyone understands your organization’s strategy and incorporate time in each board and staff meeting to make sure you are on-track, overcoming obstacles, and achieving your objectives

o    Don’t go it alone:
Ask for help.  Keep your key supporters in the loop and ask for assistance that can help your organization remain (or get back to being) healthy, focused, and successful

As one of your partners, the Support Center is here to help.

Visit our website to see what we are up to this year and how we can help:

>>> Professional Development/Workshops

>>> Executive Search &Transition Management

>>> Consulting & Turnaround Services

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