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Strategic Planning for Nonprofit Organizations: A Practical Guide for Dynamic Times, 3rd Edition by Michael Allison, Jude Kaye

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Chapter 4Step 4: Environmental Scan

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The first thing to keep in mind when considering the external environment is that although you want to be expansive in considering possible trends and issues, you ultimately want to focus on just a few critical issues. The challenge is to discern the few issues that are or may become significant—those to which your organization must respond or be prepared to respond—whether these are helpful or are obstacles to be overcome.

Second, the purpose of scanning the environment is to ground your strategic plan in the realities of the world around you. The environment is relevant to each of the other four dimensions of your strategic analysis. For instance, these realities clearly affect your strategy and business model. Likewise, in terms of organizational capacity, the prevailing wages in your market affect how competitive your compensation is, and new hardware and software technologies change options about how to upgrade. Current events and trends in your field will also affect both the requirements of leadership and the individuals who are available to serve your organization.

You may appoint an environment subcommittee, or one or two people to take responsibility for the summarizing the big picture and for supporting the work of colleagues who are working on other dimensions, by getting input on specific questions they need to investigate. However, ...

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