Coherent or Incoherent: What word best describes your not-for-profit?

Coherent or Incoherent: What word best describes your not-for-profit?

October 19, 2011 by jga_admin

by Angela White


A colleague recently shared with me a blog post on the Harvard Business Review of an article by Paul Leinwand and Cesare Mainardi entitled The Cure for the Not-for-Profit Crisis.

This is a must read for any of us working with and for not-for-profits in today’s economic times. Although the issues raised in the article stand the test of time, they are even more important today.

The authors define the crisis before attempting to cure it. The crisis is not a lack of funding, shrinking donor rolls, or dipping endowments but rather a crisis of coherence.

This is defined as a lack of strategy to connect mission with the ability to deliver/achieve the mission.

Incoherent organizations lack:

  • distinctiveness,
  • reliability in service delivery, and
  • focused and cohesive activities that relate to the strategic direction.

As JGA works with our clients in strategic planning, we focus on these concepts and assist our clients in maintaining their coherence in good and bad economic times.

Incoherent organizations focus on short-term demands (often proposed by well-meaning donors) and follow growth opportunities that are not linked to strategy and mission.

Where are you on the coherence/incoherence continuum?