Institute for Charitable Giving

blue rule

Testing Strategy Strength

blue rule

McKinsey is considered the premiere firm in management consulting. There may be other firms as good, but very few.

They have developed a set of “tests” aimed at helping executives assess the strength of their strategies. I have done a good bit of editing and translated these into evaluations for development people.

Test 1: Will your development strategy and service be able to compete with other organizations that also call on your same friends and donors?

Test 2: Does your development strategy tap the true essence of your organization’s uniqueness? Have you identified what makes you very special and different?

Test 3: Is your development strategy firmly in place so you know who to call on and how to most effectively make your case? And at what level of giving?

Test 4: Does your development strategy put you ahead of trends in philanthropy?

Test 5: Is your development strategy farsighted and innovative (not settling on old, hoary, outdated insights)?

Test 6: Does your development strategy indicate that at times you must embrace ambiguity and uncertainty?

Test 7: Does your development strategy balance commitment to the organization with flexibility in presenting your case?

Test 8: Is your development strategy pure— uncontaminated by a rigid bias and an out-dated mission of the organization?

Test 9: Is there dedication to act promptly on your strategy?

Test 10: Have you translated your strategy into an action plan?

Give yourself a score of 1 to 10— ten being “always” and one being “never.” If you score 90 and above, you are on your way to success.

Here’s an idea. Make this the basis of a discussion at your next Board or staff meeting.


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