For the majority of Children of the Americas volunteer team members, our medical team starts the day they land in Guatemala. That initial day in January is an intense experience both physically and emotionally. The year between COTA medical teams melts away as we join up once again to provide donated medical care to rural Guatemalan women and children.
Our hotel rooms have been matched to each volunteer, the evening pre-team presentation has been carefully orchestrated and our team seems to miraculously meld into a group (originating from over 20 different cities) that comes together for a common purpose.
In other words, the mirage of of a smooth transition of 110 volunteers who synergistically play out their respective roles for a week in Guatemala would put any Broadway play to shame.
|Frank Sheeder, COTA Board Member|
A strategic planning process identifies strategies so that a nonprofit will achieve its mission. Ideally, as staff and board engage in the process, they become committed to measurable goals, approve priorities for implementation, and also commit to revisiting the organization’s strategies on an ongoing basis as the organization's internal and external environments - See more at: https://www.councilofnonprofits.org/tools-resources/strategic-planning-nonprofits#sthash.U9MPhLkc.dpufDiscussions about Communications structure, Succession Planning and Operational structure are not topics that the majority of our COTA medical volunteers think about.
A strategic planning process identifies strategies so that a nonprofit will achieve its mission. Ideally, as staff and board engage in the process, they become committed to measurable goals, approve priorities for implementation, and also commit to revisiting the organization’s strategies on an ongoing basis as the organization's internal and external environments change. Many nonprofits start the process by identifying the nonprofit’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, in what is commonly called a “SWOT” analysis.
The answer depends on who you ask.
|Club Foot Patient|
Executive board members and key team administrators are brain storming about post-team surveys and vital statistics to utilize for fundraising. We are deep in thought about how to best communicate our accomplishments to our donors. Our team coordinators are making notes for future discussions on how to facilitate a smoother patient care experience on future teams. Our board is planning for the inevitable replacement of key administrative leaders, team coordinators and medical volunteers. Bundle these individual thought processes together and you have an end product that keeps COTA focused on the future mission focus and viability of our program.
In other words, without strategic planning, what happens on the front end of a Guatemalan medical team would never be possible. Maria (above left) would not begin to understand the logistical aspects of board governance, planning and progressive movement. She wishes only for a foot repair that for twelve years has been out of the reach of her farming family's meager income. With the dedicated strategy planning guidance of COTA board members Frank Sheeder and Nancy Vastro, our organization will be in Guatemala once again.
And Maria will walk normally for the first time in her life.