Strategic Resources for Non Profits



Peter Drucker

courtesy: Claremont Peter Ferdinand Drucker passed away November 11, 2005. But his work and frameworks will serve management for some time to come.

Your Business Blogger was recently asked for resources to outline a strategy for a non-profit. Nothing beats Drucker:

The Five Most Important Questions

You Will Ever Ask

About Your Non Profit


1) What is our business (mission)?

2) Who is our customer?

3) What does the customer consider value?

4) What have been our results?

5) What is our plan?

One of the sharpest business minds I’ve ever worked with, Leon Masiewicki, Ph.D., a former McKinsey consultant, expanded Dr. Drucker’s questions with a list of his own:

1. How do you define your business?

2. Can you describe an ideal customer? Can you describe a bad customer?

3. Who are your competitors? Why are you better? What advantages does your competitor have? How do you stack up on the cheaper/faster/better scale?

4. What growth rate are you anticipating for the next three – five years? Why?

5. What are your three/five year profit projections? Why?

6. What are the organization’s plans for expansion/New Markets/Products/Manpower/A Physical Plant?

7. How do you measure quality? What was the rate of quality improvement in the last three years?

8. How much has your company’s productivity (revenue per man-hour, value-added per man-hour) increased?

9. If I handed you a “magic wand” that would allow you to change anything, what would it be?

10. Where would you like to start?

11. What are the strengths of your organization?

11. What are your goals in the next 12 months?

13. What are the obstacles that stand in the way of your group reaching its goals?

14. What do you need, in terms of additional resources or training, to do your job more effectively?

A business session with Drucker was a Socratic conversation where he asked questions non-stop. You will notice that Leon’s list is like Drucker’s:


The answers come from the leadership of the organization. I have found that the collective wisdom of the top dozen managers from the client company can be extracted, pooled and applied.

Consultants never have any answers.

But you knew that.


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Thank you (foot)notes:

For more information, see Non-Profit Board Management

So what is leadership really?

Drucker’s Writing Secret

Non-profit Boardmanship in Business Development; a short Powerpoint to the Virginia Piedmont Technology Council.

And see more of Leon Masiewicki’s work at Non-Profit Success.


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