publication date: Oct 29, 2012
author/source: Fraser Green
drives me nuts!
in our sector use jargon all the time to talk about strategy...
"We've got a strategic plan."
"We have four strategic priorities." "We're doing a strategic consultation
process with our stakeholders."
with all this strategy-babble is that it's usually NOT strategic at all!
Now when it comes to strategy, I'm a very lucky guy. My first career was in
politics. I was a campaign director- and learned my craft from some absolutely
brilliant strategic mentors. Here's some of what I learned - and apply now in
my philanthropic consulting work.
Short and snappy
and foremost, a strategy is a single idea that can be expressed in one sentence. Your strategy simply
defines your win and offers the reason that you'll achieve it. That's it.
me give you an example.
a man. I used to play football. It was my favourite sport and I'm still
passionate about it. The National
Football League runs the most popular sport in North America. Its audience is 80%
male. In many households across North America, men spend Sunday afternoons in
the basement, beer in hand, scratching themselves, belching and letting out the
occasional "Whoop!" when their team scores a touchdown.
October, the NFL on television looked kind of funny.
You saw pink everywhere.
Referees in pink caps. Players wearing pink wristbands, gloves and shoes. Pink
first-down markers. Pink logos at centre field. Why in the male refuge of NFL
football do we see these 300-pound hulks in pink?
Turning men pink
that pink is there because the American
Cancer Society came up with a really smart strategy.
cancer is typically thought of as a women's disease - just as prostate cancer
is typically thought of as a men's disease. The folks at ACS came up with a
simple strategy, which I see like this:
diversify its donor base by attracting more men to give.
it is. There's a strategy - and a smart one at that.
we move to the tactical side. Tactics are the things you do to bring your
strategy to life. Strategy comes first, and tactics follow. Tactics are how you
achieve your strategy.
what are the tactics involved in the ACS "get more men" strategy?
a male audience (The NFL on TV).
a campaign time and concentrate visibility. (Breast cancer month is October.)
a simple visual to brand the campaign (Pink everywhere).
the message that supporting breast cancer is a manly act. (340-pound defensive
linemen adorned in pink accessories!)
is simple. But it's often far from easy. Perhaps that's why so many of us shy
away from what it really takes to create a good one.
are a few more examples of (what I think are) brilliant strategies that worked
strategy is to create the magic of childhood.
strategy is to move beyond computers and dominate the market for handheld
- World Vision's
strategy is to create one-to-one relationships through child sponsorships.
strategy is to generate visibility and buzz about prostate cancer with its moustache
campaign each November.
This month's tip
down your organization's strategy. And remember, it can only be one sentence long!
you've decided on your strategy, then write down the tactics that will move
your strategy in the direction of your goal.
your tactics into measurable outcomes that will direct your activities and the
allocation of resources.
do next year's budget - but make sure that it's directed entirely by your
isn't rocket science. But good strategy does require a level of focus and
discipline that I'm afraid most of us just don't have in our sector right now.
So go ahead - shake things up. Become a strategic champion in your
organization. And let me know how it goes!
Fraser Green is principal and chief
strategist at Good Works, a consulting firm that works with Canadian
charities to engage donors at a truly human level and build donor loyalty and
commitment. Fraser welcomes your ideas, comments and criticisms about this tip.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your reactions