La Piana Consulting

Learning Link
La Piana Consulting
January/February 2012
La Piana Consulting
Photo: Lara Hoke

Nonprofit Strategy and Business Planning

Are nonprofit business plans just "strategic plans, with numbers?" We don't think so. Strategic planning and business planning are two related – but distinct – tools in the nonprofit toolbox.

The nonprofit sector is under rigorous examination, and organizations are turning to business planning to prove their credibility to increasingly cautious funders, critical policymakers, and other stakeholders. Many have proceeded by adding a financial analysis to their strategic plan and calling it a business plan. However, this risks conflating two processes that perform different functions.


Client Profile:
The Patterson Foundation

The Patterson Foundation Over the past two years,we have partnered with The Patterson Foundation (TPF) to understand and address the specific needs of their community and worked with them to provide workshops, training, consulting, facilitation, and mentoring to nonprofits and local consultants alike. As a result of TPF's commitment and our work together, more Florida nonprofits are aware of and actively exploring options for collaborative restructuring as a powerful way to leverage resources and capabilities for long-term “thrive-ability.”


New Resources

We are excited to announce a new library of podcasts featuring timely ideas and insights from our own staff and special guests. This month, listen to Bob Harrington, Vance Yoshida, and Jo DeBolt speak about successful nonprofit partnerships and the strategic restructuring process. And check back throughout the year as we add to this resource.

For more on nonprofit mergers and acquisitions, watch video of Vance Yoshida’s post-session interview with The Columbus Foundation in September 2011.

And don't forget about our staff blog!

The View Ahead in 2012

Sectors continue to blur, social media comes into focus, and business planning rises to the fore. Read about these and other Social Sector Predictions for 2012 by David La Piana on the Stanford Social Innovation Review blog.

How accurate were his 2011 predications? Take a look back with us, then send us your feedback about what you experienced last year and the challenges and opportunities you see in the year ahead.

For more on The Next Generation of Nonprofits, listen in to David La Piana, D.C. Central Kitchen’s Robert Egger, and YNPN’s Carlyn Madden on the Kojo Nnamdi Show in December 2011. Transcript also available.

Heather Gowdy offers practical tips and advice for organizations making bold changes in the New Year, in Big Changes Start with Small Steps, on CausePlanet.

Upcoming Events

January 31, 2012
2012 State of the Nonprofit Sector in Los Angeles
Hosted by the Center for Civil Society, UCLA, David La Piana will deliver the keynote on Re-considering Partnerships and Consolidations.

February 24, 2012
Nonprofit Executive Seminar: Understanding Collaboration
At this workshop, co-sponsored by the Foundation Center and the City of Hayward, Jo DeBolt will discuss how strategic collaborations, joint programming, and mergers can help nonprofits achieve mission-critical impact.

Check our website often for the latest events and workshops near you.


What’s on your mind? Let us know where we got it right, where we got it wrong, or what you would like to see covered in the next Learning Link, podcast, or blog from La Piana Consulting.

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La Piana Consulting © 2012
Tel: 510-601-9056



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La Piana Consulting
5900 Hollis Street, Suite N
Emeryville, California 94608

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