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Habitat for Humanity – MidOhio Throws Out Pretenses & Rethinks Strategic Planning
Organizational Health

Habitat for Humanity – MidOhio took the bull by its horns and, right in the middle of the pandemic, partnered with Cramer to conduct a highly interactive strategic planning session with its Board and staff.

Brian Canavan, Chief Development Officer, reached out to the Cramer Team to set the process in motion.

“I am a big advocate for Cramer’s strategic planning process of developing a strategic roadmap and setting the North Star,” he said. “The Cramer Team brings credibility and expertise. They bring lots of nonprofit experiences to the table as examples, and these examples help leadership navigate the next steps.”


With the uncertainty and changing environment due to the pandemic, Habitat MidOhio needed a roadmap to give them the flexibility to navigate an ever-changing landscape and advance the organization forward.

“The strategic planning process not only allowed us to keep our eye on the mission, but reset, rethink, really focus on our why, and throw out the pretenses,” added Brian.


At Cramer, we use a multi-step engagement process to draw key insights from Board members, leadership teams, donors/stakeholders and the organization’s clients to develop their strategic planning. The collective insights are unveiled to the Board and leadership team during an engaging, interactive retreat setting.

“We had new and long-standing Board members participate, and Mike Schmidt, Executive Vice President of Cramer, was able to facilitate and engage all members equally during the retreat,” said Brian.” “We heard from everyone.”

Together, Board members shared their diverse perspectives from across various industries, and the conversation allowed Habitat MidOhio to usher in new practices and ideas, ultimately building a more robust plan for the future.

The Board’s insights and the retreat helped formulate the strategic drivers and SMART objectives. Following the retreat, staff members came together to formulate the action steps for each SMART objective, and the various groups were given one month to identify and present their ideas.

Working Together with Habitat for Humanity – Mid-Ohio

Cramer’s collaborative idea-building approach helped the nonprofit generate dialogue, engagement and cohesion between the staff and Board, ultimately driving momentum forward and unleashing transformational ideas.

“The staff was appreciative for the opportunity to contribute to the strategic planning process and had outstanding action ideas,” said Brian.

As partners in philanthropy, the Cramer Team works alongside nonprofit leaders throughout the entire strategic planning journey.

“I love working with the Cramer Team,” added Brian. “I love that we get assigned a person and get access to the entire team’s expertise. The Cramer Team made the process seamless and transformational.”

Brian has been part of strategic planning sessions in the past, primarily ones that consist of the Board delegating a large binder of goals and the staff responding in a reactive style. But Cramer’s positive disruption to the strategic planning process has changed the game Habitat MidOhio and several nonprofits across central Ohio.

“We would conduct this type of strategic planning process again for the new way forward,” said Brian. “This new process takes into account an ever-changing sector.”

If your Board and leadership are stuck pondering the next steps, reach out to the Cramer Team to learn more about our innovative strategic planning process and roadmap. Engaging your Board and staff proactively and collectively in the process will cast a future with even greater impact. For more information,

Cramer & Associates is a nationally recognized philanthropic consulting firm that has been serving nonprofit organizations, corporations and foundations since 1987. Our full-service firm offers clients a wide range of services, including feasibility studies, campaigns, strategic planning, board training, development audits, events, executive searches and much more. The Cramer Team identifies organizations’ strengths and opportunities and develops campaigns that succeed, empowering organizations to impact their communities.

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