With summer vacations behind us, and holiday travel on the horizon, many of us are wondering: When is the best time to buy an airline ticket? The question has become even more pressing as ticket prices are high and expected to rise even higher.
If you’re like us, and appreciate snagging a good deal, you’ve probably heard the conventional wisdom to buy airline tickets on Tuesdays. But Google Flights just debunked that supposed “pro tip” as a myth.
So what is a traveler to do?
Be flexible. Book early. And plan ahead.
That sounds surprisingly similar to Funding for Good’s advice to organizations about creating a business plan.
Here’s how the new conventional wisdom for finding cheap airfares can also help your organization:
- Be flexible. There can be a lot of confusion about what being flexible really means. For example, some Executive Directors might think it means jumping on every grant that comes their way (even if the funding doesn’t align with their nonprofit’s core mission). Or it might mean asking staff to operate far outside their job descriptions (which quickly undermines accountability).
Funding for Good believes that true flexibility is grounded in an understanding of where you’re going. That means creating a business plan that articulates your vision, mission, and how you intend to achieve them. Once you have a solid plan in place, then you can be flexible and creative in how you adapt to challenges along the way.
- Book early. The best time to create your business plan is before you hit a crisis—so that you can either avert one or be in a strong place to respond nimbly to whatever comes your way. That means starting your business planning process now, whether you’re an established institution, a growing organization, or a brand-new nonprofit. Organizations with a written strategic plan double their chance of success.
- Plan ahead. The final key: make sure you have a plan to actually use your strategic plan. Simply drafting a document isn’t enough. You need to invest in the planning process and then commit to ongoing strategic thinking. That means using your strategic plan—and the team of board and staff members that invested in creating it—to inform your decision-making. Use your strategic plan as a guidepost that can help you evaluate and respond to new challenges. At the same time, also continue investing in your team, particularly leadership development and ongoing learning opportunities.
Though cheap airfare is great, at the end of the day the most important thing is to take that trip. Whether it’s holidays with family or a dream vacation, it won’t happen unless you actually buy a ticket.
Similarly, with business planning, if you’re a leader looking to make smart choices and lead your organization to success, taking that first step of creating a strategic plan is key.
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