2019 Cohort of Group Strategic Planning

Over the years we have noticed a need for strategic planning for small and medium sized nonprofits that is at a more affordable price point but is more substantial than a weekend retreat. We have designed a process to allow 5-6 nonprofits to go through strategic planning together guided by a facilitator to create robust 3 year plans to help scale the work of nonprofits. Read below for more information on who makes a good fit, our application process, and the calendar for the 2019 Group Strategic Planning Cohort.

QUESTIONS? Get them answered in person. Visit us at two open house sessions to learn more about the process. March 7 at 9 am or March 26 at 12 pm.


Your Team + Commitment

  • We recommend a minimum of 3 people and a maximum of 5 people per organization to participate in the process and commit to attending all of the meetings. This should be a mix of board and staff.

  • We estimate your time commitment is 40 hours over the course of 6 months.

  • We insist that you have board support for the process.

  • Cost of Program is $5,000


Who is this a good fit for?

  • Nonprofits eager for strategic planning but without the budget to support a full process.

  • We believe you need at least one paid staff member to make this process work.

  • This process is designed for stable organizations that are past the start-up stage of development.


What is the application process like?

  • All interested nonprofits must apply and will be interviewed by a consultant to ensure you understand the process, your commitment, and the schedule.

  • We want you to be successful and will let you know if we think this kind of process is a good fit for your organization.

  • Once selected, all organizations will sign a contract with the firm.



Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why is there an application?

    We believe this process is an innovative solution, but it isn’t right for everyone. Your application (which is hopefully painless and should take less than 10 minutes) will give us key information to help figure out if you are a good fit.

  2. Who should be part of our team?

    We recommend at least one staff member and one board member and then a third member from either group or a key volunteer. In your assessment call we will help you define the best group to walk through this process.

  3. Has The Spark Mill ever done this before?

    We have completed over 100 strategic plans and conduct about 50 retreats a year. We developed this program to fit a niche and this is the pilot group that will go through the process. We feel confident in our adaptive model of strategic planning and our experiences working with nonprofits.

  4. Do we have to attend every in person retreat?

    Yes. This is an essential component of the program.

  5. How much does this cost?

    The total fee for the program is $5,000 which is payable in two installments noted on the calendar timeline.


Application and Vetting Period

  • March 1 - Applications Open

  • April 30 - Applications Close

  • Early May - Follow-up Calls with Applicants

  • May 13 - Selected Nonprofits Notified

  • June 1 - Contract + Deposit of $2,500 is due

  • June 3 - Orientation Call with Consultant

  • Early June - Nonprofit Capacity Assessment (survey)

Project Starts

  • June 12 - 4 hour retreat

  • June - August - data collection (on your own)

  • September 1 - Second payment of $2,500 is due

  • September 16 - 4 hour retreat

  • September + October - Individual Board and Staff Retreats

  • October 16 - 4 hour retreat

*retreats are in person and will be facilitated by TSM consultants

Ready to go? Apply here.

Applications open March 1- April 30, 2019.

Applying does NOT commit your organization to participation or payment.

Name *
Phone *
Current State of your Nonprofit *
Current State of your Nonprofit
There is no wrong answer to these questions so please answer honestly. This gives us insight into your challenges and assets.
We have a strong and engaged board.
We have strong finances and do not worry about paying for staff and programs.
We have not undergone strategic planning within the last three years.
Budget *
Let us know your current year budget.
This question is used to determine your capacity to participate in strategic planning.
We are looking for a paragraph or less here.
Please check each box to indicate you understand the capacity needed to participate. *

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