When developing a strategic plan for a nonprofit organization, it is difficult to maintain a balance between internal efforts and external outreach. A model that may help organizations visualize these parallel functions is that of a bicycle.

The model was developed for community foundations – thus the dichotomy between creating impact and building assets – but the principle can be adapted for all types of organizations. The orange spokes represent a proactive or strategic approach while the blue wheels represent responsive and transactional functions. Organizations need to determine the proportionality of each in order to keep their “bicycle” moving. A key component also involves recognizing the frame of the bicycle – noting that for any functions to occur, leadership must be developed and supported.

You can utilize the bicycle model with your organization to assess whether your strategies are achieving the impact that you desire, whether they are building the internal “assets” of the group at a proportionate rate, as well as whether you have the leadership infrastructure that is necessary.

Does your organization temporarily need training wheels or are you positioned for a smooth ride?


Source: Jason Neises, Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque’s Nonprofit Strength Builder Workshop, April 2, 2019

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: