Achieving Strategic Clarity

An online- and team-based program for nonprofit executives to clarify their strategy and articulate a path to greater impact
Program details
Who: Nonprofit leadership teams 
Application deadline: Our Fall cohort is now closed
Timing: Enrollment for our 2020 cohort begins on September 15
Scholarships available
 
Grounded in Bridgespan’s deep experience, Achieving Strategic Clarity is a step-by-step program that helps leadership teams get clear on who they serve and how they serve them, so they can focus their resources and have the greatest impact possible.
Learn more in this three-minute video
  • Team-Oriented Icon

    Team-Oriented

    Built for nonprofit leadership teams

  • Self-Paced Icon

    Self-Paced

    Average program duration is 12 to 16 weeks

  • Customizable Icon

    Customizable

    Structured yet flexible to meet your needs

  • Interactive Icon

    Interactive

    Combines live team workshops with online lessons

  • Supported Icon

    Supported

    Includes 1-on-1 Bridgespan coaching

What You'll Get

  • A statement clarifying who you seek to serve and the impact that you want to have
  • A document that specifies how your organization achieves impact
  • An articulation of your organization’s unique value and qualities—your "secret sauce"
  • Criteria that will help you make decisions about which opportunities to prioritize

Who Should Participate

Most organizations can benefit from this program, but it is especially powerful for organizations that are: 

  • Starting a strategic planning process
  • Anticipating or experiencing a leadership transition
  • Experiencing significant changes in their field/environment, such as a shift in funding or policy
  • Seeking to bring a more intentional “equity lens” to their work and programs 

What Nonprofit Leaders Say

"There’s always a lot going on, and making time can be hard. Achieving Strategic Clarity helped us develop a practical set of criteria to make decisions about which potential projects we should take on. We now feel like we have the agency to say no to things that aren’t aligned with our theory of change." —Dave Paunesku, PERTS

"We were approaching the beginning of our strategic planning process, and we needed to answer some important questions before getting started. We tried to do it on our own, but realized we needed a structured process. Achieving Strategic Clarity helped us pull together a working theory of change that articulated how we see ourselves and the work we do, as well as where we want to go. The program set us up for success to ensure that our strategic plan is aligned with our long-term goals as an organization."—John Peller, AIDS Foundation of Chicago

How It Works

Curriculum

  • Step 1: Defining Your Impact

    • Individual online work: You will learn about the concept of "intended impact" and individually develop a first draft of the components of your organization's own intended impact. Once your team has developed a first draft, you will pressure test this draft through a set of individual exercises.
    • Live team workshops: Over two team workshops, you'll develop a first draft of the components of your organization's intended impact and then refine the draft and prioritize open questions for further discussion and learning.
    • Coaching session: You'll meet with a Bridgespan coach to discuss your draft intended impact and to think together about critical open questions that have emerged.
  • Step 2: Developing a Theory of Change

    • Individual online work: You will learn about the concept of “theory of change" and individually develop a first draft of the components of your organization's theory of change. Once your team has developed a first draft, you will pressure test this draft through a set of individual exercises.
    • Live team workshops: Over two team workshops, you'll develop a first draft of the components of your organization's theory of change, and then refine the draft and prioritize open questions for further discussion and learning.
    • Coaching session: You'll meet with a Bridgespan coach to discuss your draft theory of change and open questions, and you'll also identify potential next steps to further refine this draft and put your theory of change into practice.
  • Step 3: Putting Strategy into Practice

    • Individual online work: You will reflect on your learnings and progress to date and review potential next steps related to research planning, stakeholder engagement, and using your intended impact and theory of change in decision-making.
    • Live team workshop: In your team workshop, you'll outline immediate next steps to further refine your draft and to start using it for decision-making. This includes using one of the Bridgespan-provided toolkits to identify next steps and start making progress.
  • Optional Toolkits

    Depending on your team's needs and interest, you can take advantage of Bridgespan-provided toolkits to tackle immediate next steps. These toolkits include: Learning Plan Toolkit, Stakeholder Engagement Toolkit, Decision Criteria Toolkit, and Bridging to Strategic Planning Toolkits. As an Achieving Strategic Clarity program alum, you will always have access to these resources.
View Full Curriculum

Check out our frequently asked questions section to answer any additional questions

 

Achieving Strategic Clarity Coaches

Leslie MacKrell is a partner in Bridgespan’s New York office. She has worked with a range of clients in the fields of public health, urban revitalization, child welfare, juvenile justice, human services, faith-based programming, and education. Prior to joining Bridgespan, Leslie held strategic planning and fundraising roles at a number of social justice organizations. Leslie’s favorite parts of her job are coaching senior teams and exploring how organizational design and management practices can support new levels of impact.

 
Coach - Leslie MacKrell

Samantha Levine has 24 years of experience in nonprofit management, strategy, operations, and team development. Her focus has been helping nonprofit and mission-driven organizations increase their impact by getting clear on the strategic and organizational imperatives that will allow them to accelerate change. Nonprofit work can be hard, and Sam is dedicated to helping nonprofit leaders put their time and energy towards activities that best advance impact, while strengthening their organizations and teams.

 
Coach - Samantha Levine

Important Information

Pricing: $5,500 for leadership teams of up to eight members. For organizations outside the United States, or those teams with more than eight members, please email us.

Scholarships: A limited number of scholarships are also available to organizations led by people of color. Learn More>>

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Selected Clients

Maverick Landing Community Services (MLCS)
Narrative Initiative
Jewish Family Service of MetroWest NJ
Masoom
HomeStart, Inc.
AIDS Foundation of Chicago