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Does your strategic plan need a refresh?
Kris Putnam-Walkerly -- Global Philanthropy Expert Kris Putnam-Walkerly -- Global Philanthropy Expert
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Cleveland, OH
Tuesday, March 2, 2021


Answer these three questions to find out.

I’ve spoken with thousands of philanthropists just like you, and one thing is for sure: You don’t want to dillydally. With your giving, you’d like clarity. You want to know what you want to accomplish, and the best way to do it. To do that, you need a strategy.

Unfortunately, too few philanthropists have one. They don’t know their North Star. Or they have an outdated strategic plan collecting dust. The good news is that formulating – and refreshing – your strategy is easier than you might think. Having one will bring you clarity, guide your decision making, save you time, help you take risks, and increase your impact. Guess what else? It’s your secret weapon for demolishing delusional altruism®.

First, let’s define what we mean by “strategy.” Strategy is a framework within which you make decisions that influence the nature and direction of your organization. Your strategy identifies your desired future state: who you want to be or the impact you want to have. It also identifies the most critical actions you need to take to move you from your current state (where you are today) to your desired future state, ideally as quickly as possible.

How do you know if your strategy needs a makeover? Ask yourself these three questions to find out:

Question 1: How long has it been since we created our strategic plan? If it’s been more than a year (or since before COVID-19), it’s time for a refresh. While long-range goals are great, given today’s constantly changing conditions we can only realistically plan out about 12 months ahead. And, and if the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that spending one year to create a five-year plan is futile. By the time you approve your new strategic plan it will be out of date. The world will have changed (again).

Question 2: Does our strategy guide our day-to-day decisions? If the answer is “No” or you can’t remember the last time you looked at your strategic plan, you need to refresh it. Everyone in your organization should know your strategy, your top priorities for implementing it, and THEIR role in implementation. Why? Because your strategy should be guiding all your decisions, big and small. Otherwise, what’s the point of having a strategy? Remember, strategy is tool to guide decision-making. It helps ensure the decisions you make help you achieve your goals. It’s impossible to over-communicate your strategy to your team. Organize your board and staff meeting agendas around your strategy. Talk about it at every meeting. Regularly ask yourselves “Does this advance our strategy or take us off course?”

Question 3: Are we making significant progress implementing our strategy? If your answer is “No” you need a refresh. Maybe conditions have changed externally or internally, and your strategy needs to adjust. Or your tactics for implementation aren’t working and must be examined. If your answer is “I don’t know,” you need to find out! As Albert Einstein is widely quoted as saying, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting the same results.” In a world where volatility is the status quo, you need to regularly check in on your plan to see if it needs to be modified or overhauled.

If you want to learn 6 key questions to keep your plan on track, download this guide, 8 Things Every Philanthropist Can Do To Change The World (hint: they are on page 13). 

Remember, strategy has two parts: strategy formulation (developing your strategy) and strategy implementation (implementing it). Refreshing your strategy might mean the strategy itself, your plans for implementing it, or both.

Of course, if your answer to any of these questions is “What strategy?” or “Where did we put that thing?” I’d reckon it’s time to create one!

Developing, implementing, and refreshing your strategy is easier – and can be done much faster – than you might think. (WHAT SHOULD I LINK?)

You don’t have to figure this out alone. Schedule a free 30-minute consultation with me – we can discuss your answers to these questions and I’m happy to offer my best advice at no cost to you. It’s not a sales pitch. Honestly, it’s painful to me when philanthropy’s resources and talent aren’t optimized for maximum impact because funders don’t have clear, flexible, and sentient strategies guiding decisions. I’m happy to help you!

About Kris Putnam-Walkerly

Kris Putnam-Walkerly, MSW is a global philanthropy advisor and president of Putnam Consulting Group, Inc. For more than 20 years, top global philanthropies have requested Kris Putnam-Walkerly's help to transform their giving and catapult their impact. Widely considered to be one of the most sought-after philanthropic advisors, Kris has helped over 80 foundations and philanthropists strategically allocate and assess over half a billion dollars in grants and gifts. 

As a philanthropy expert, advisor and award-winning author, Kris's clients include the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, David and Lucile Packard Foundation, J.M. Smucker Company, Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, Heising Simons-Foundation, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation, Walton Family Foundations, Avery Dennison, and Fujitsu, among dozens of others.

A thought leader in transformational giving, Kris was named one of America's Top 25 Philanthropy Speakers for two years in a row. She is the author of the award-winning book Confident Giving: Sage Advice for Funders and the forthcoming book Delusional Altruism (Wiley; February 2020); a regular Forbes.com contributor on philanthropy; a global content partner to Alliance Magazine; and authored a chapter on "Transformational Giving: Philanthropy as an Investment in Change" in a new book on impact investing, The ImpactAssets Handbook for Investors. Kris is also a frequent contributor in the publications of leading philanthropy organizations, including the National Center on Family Philanthropy, Exponent Philanthropy, Southeastern Council on Foundations, Foundation Center, PEAK Grantmaking, and Giving Northern Ireland. Kris also provides expert commentary about philanthropy in the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Washington Post, Entepreneur.com, and other media. Most recently, she was featured on NPR's Marketplace Morning Report and in Bloomberg Markets magazine. She co-edited The Foundation Review's themed journal on philanthropy consulting. In 2017 Kris was inducted into the Million Dollar Consulting® Hall of Fame, one of only 75 consultants chosen world-wide.

Prior to forming Putnam Consulting Group, she was a grantmaker at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and an evaluator at the highly esteemed Stanford University School of Medicine.

News Media Interview Contact
Name: Kris Putnam-Walkerly
Group: Putnam Consulting Group, Inc.
Dateline: Avon Lake, OH United States
Direct Phone: 510-388-5231
Main Phone: 800-598-2102
Cell Phone: 510-388-5231
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