Planning and Public Health – The Institute 2011

Gustavo Torrez, Program Manager
The Institute 2011, Atlanta GA
Planning and Public Health, Strategic Planning  


During My Strategic Planning class with Shelli Bischoff, President & CEO, Nonprofit Impact she discussed some concepts around planning and Public Health. Shelli outlined 6 core concepts:

  1. Plans as positioning tools – define why you are critical and indispensable

    § Build brand to build more potent and sustainable programs

  2. Resource constraints – never enough money or staff to do the job

    § Must carefully define the job to be done!

  3. Quixotic political environment, no certainties, intense scrutiny

    § Define yourself so others don’t define you

    § All things to all people is nothing to no one

  4. Shift from partners as grantees, coalitions, communities etc. to strategic partners

    § Shift from hundreds of partners to more deliberate, defined partnerships

  5. Plans to guide the work and to ensure efficiency and effectiveness

    § From activities to results

  6. Plans necessary to guide organizational alignment – how do we organize for success?

    § From coordination to integration

    § Form follows function – what are we (re)organizing for?

The thing I love the most about the 6 key concepts is that they give us a framework that will help us really think about the task at hand and plan moving forward. Built into the process along with the 6 concepts is what good plans answer.

Shelli outlines some great questions that can be answered through the process:

Who are we and how do we distinctly make a difference in people’s lives?

Where is our power and influence and how do we leverage it?

What is our focus, distinctive competence and niche and what does it all add up to (the whole that is greater than the sum of the parts)?

How does (federal) funding help us achieve our goals?

Shelli brings it home with a summary of key concepts that make up good plans:

  • Based on data and analysis
  • Represents deliberate decisions and choices (i.e. what not to do)
  • Defines target markets
  • Developed by steering committee, not all stakeholders (and grant recipients who by definition cannot make strategic decisions)
  • Role of state as leaders (setting the agenda) vs. facilitators
  • Not an umbrella under which anyone adds their activity
  • Requires alignment of systems and processes, i.e. partners and grantees
Overall, the ideas shared really helps us to think strategically about the planning process, and gives us tools to move forward thinking outside of the box. Some of the concepts challenge us which I love. Learn more about Shelli and Nonprofit Impact by clicking here.




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