Case study of strategic planning for small nonprofits

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Title: Case study of strategic planning for small nonprofits
Author: Roland, Peter Jr
Abstract: The Lake Placid/North Elba Historical Society suffers from the absence of planning processes that can address the long-term needs of the organization. As a result the resources of the Society are being underutilized. At present the only medium for the planning function is the monthly Board meeting, which must also address operational issues. Both new and old members of the Board have ideas regarding what they see as the past, present and future mission of the Museum and the Society. A forum or medium does not currently exist which would provide an opportunity for members of the Board and all stakeholders to discuss this mission and share their visions of what the Society should be. The purpose of the study is to examine strategic planning processes used by two historical societies serving small communities utilizing a case study design. By examining the planning efforts of these organizations, best practices that indicate the likelihood of success or failure will be described. The leaders of the study organizations reported positive outcomes as a result of undertaking a strategic planning process. The level of success in developing and implementing a plan varied, but the process of developing a strategic plan was beneficial for both organizations. Upon completion of the study it will be determined if this process would be an appropriate way to plan for the future of the Lake Placid/North Elba Historical Society. If it appears there would be a high likelihood of success a strategic planning process for the Society could be initiated. This process would provide a forum whereby each member of the Board and all stakeholders will have the opportunity to share their visions of what the Society should be. It would synthesize these visions and provide a roadmap for achieving the goals, objectives and strategies outlined in the plan. In a larger context, it may perpetuate and enhance the primary function of the organization: to record and interpret the history of the community it serves.
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Date: 2003

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