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As Jennifer outlined in her recent post, “We Are The Ones We Are Looking For,” our worldview at Plenty is that we are entering a new era of authenticity – one in which the old paradigms of hierarchy and division are giving way to more collaborative and interconnected ways of thinking and acting. In this world, how we show what we feel is becoming more important than how we say what we know.
Nowhere is this more evident than in fundraising, where increasingly constituents no longer feel compelled to participate in a campaign because they think they should. Rather, they seek to support ethical, modern, transparent organizations making true impact. It is not enough to expect support because you believe you have a good cause — you have to prove you deserve support because you are truly making a difference.
For our work with hundreds of social impact organizations, we believe that the traditional way of problem-solving and strategic planning needs to adapt to this new reality. In our experience, the conventional model of strategic planning starts with goal-setting. It is generally group-centric and left-brained: we gather around a table, a white board, or a meeting room, and we think about what we all should do to achieve a set of numbers.
The problem is that numbers seldom appeal to anyone’s best or highest sense of what motivates them or what they hope to achieve in life. And so we don’t believe the traditional strategic planning model works anymore, if it ever did. In order to thrive in our new environment, we have to realize that our hearts are as important as our heads. What we know is incredibly important – we have to be smart, analytical, and rigorous – but we can’t start there. We start with the heart. We have to embrace the idea that organizations are only as powerful as the people in them. To create successful organizations, we need to have seen, activated, and whole people. We start with individuals.
All of our engagements, whether two days or two years, are built on the same theory of change – a theory designed to unlock passion for transformative individual and organizational impact:
1. Connect with Passion
2. Align with Purpose
3. Articulate Possibility
4. Create Progress, Together
Using that philosophy, we’ve built a seven-part strategy model to help teams, programs, and entire organizations transform their results.
It is truly incredible what groups of people can achieve when they articulate their deepest shared values and dreams, and then apply those to the challenges and opportunities at hand. Goals can power growth, to be sure — but transformation comes from someplace deeper. It comes from your heart.