Zen Pond

We are committed to helping organizations that make a difference in the world succeed. And we believe their success—within communities and more broadly—depends on their strategy, marketing, and organizational effectiveness.

So we wrote eight guides on these subjects. You can download them for free at the bottom of this page. They provide solutions to the three key challenges your organization probably faces:

  • Designing the most effective strategies to accomplish your mission.
  • Increasing your revenues and funding by better understanding, engaging, and fulfilling your clients’ and funders’ needs.
  • And creating a great place to work through inspiring leadership, enhanced teamwork, and streamlined work processes.

To develop these solutions, we adapted ideas and methods from corporate strategic planning, strategic marketing, and organizational development. When none existed, we designed new ones. And we wrote our guides for specific people in your organization:

  • Your leadership team and board who oversee your strategy and planning—should look over our strategic planning guides that describe what we believe is the best way to plan.
  • Program managers, marketers, and, if you have them, fundraisers who target, engage, and serve your clients and supporters—might do better at all three after reading our strategic marketing and branding guides.
  • Your leaders and managers who guide your staff and organization—can lighten their load by applying what’s in our Leadership and Manager’s Survival Guides.

Why did we do this? Because the problems we face are growing faster than our ability to solve them. And the organizations tackling them need help. So we decided to share our solutions with them.

Having developed these solutions puts us in a unique position to help organizations make a bigger impact or increase their revenues and funding or just get better at what they do. Our clients include local-to-global nonprofits, companies, and governmental institutions in the US and abroad.


Effective strategies are crucial to an organization’s success. They are usually devised or improved during strategic planning. Unfortunately, most planning models were designed for profit-driven enterprises. And the planning models for values-driven organizations derived from them often don’t address their needs. So we developed a new way for world-changing organizations to plan from scratch.

It dispenses with the age-old and very time-consuming planning exercises like SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats), environmental scanning, and trend analysis. Instead, we help you get right to the point on how to make your organization more successful—in a way no one else has ever done before.

Our planning model begins by asking you to define what success means for your organization. It then focuses on identifying and strengthening what supports, produces, and drives your success. One of the model’s innovations is incorporating strategic marketing into planning. This enables you to better target, understand, and serve those who determine your success. Finally, the success map you’ll construct will reveal how success arises in your organization and how to make it more successful.

Our Strategic Planning Guide and Workbook describe our new planning model and how to use it. And as the figure below shows, everything your organization does, as well as people’s passion for it, stems from its core values. We believe that your guiding statements—core values, mission, and vision—are so crucial to your success that we wrote a separate guide to them.

Pyramid of key conditions supporting success, strategies, and results driving success
World-changing vs. profit-driven guiding statements
Marketing mindsets

Strategic marketing

Most people equate marketing with selling. Actually, strategic marketing eliminates the need to sell. It is a systematic way to better understand, engage, and serve those who determine your success. It has been tested and refined in commercial marketplaces for decades.

And branding, the most potent tool in its arsenal, has proved highly effective in shaping consumers’ impressions. It’s the reason commercials today rarely mention features and benefits but instead, elicit emotions tagged to the organization and what it offers. Why not harness the power of branding to make the world a better place instead of persuading people to buy things they don’t need and won’t make them happier—despite all the smiling faces and touching moments in commercials?

If your organization relies on outside individuals and organizations to accomplish and support its mission, strategic marketing may hold the key to its success. It can advance your mission, increase your revenues or funding, and build a strong base of support for what you do.

There’s only one problem—strategic marketing is a foreign language to most values-driven organizations. Most don’t understand and use terms like target audiences, positioning strategies, and branding. But it’s as crucial to their success as it is to profit-driven companies. So we translated branding into ideas and tools for world-changing organizations. Building an audience-focused organization is one of our recommendations. The figure on the left about marketing mindsets indicates why.

Our Strategic Marketing Guide and Workbook are blueprints for making your organization more successful. As we’ve said, its most potent tool is branding. We think most world-changing organizations would benefit from more distinctive and compelling brands. So we wrote a separate guide to it.

Organizational development

Organizational development (OD) is the art and science of making organizations more effective at delivering on their missions and creating great places to work. It draws from various disciplines to enhance an organization’s human, operational, and structural resources. Use our OD services to:

  • Build a more successful organization by using our unique approach to strengthen what supports, produces, and drives your success.
  • Boost your staff’s motivation and overall performance through world-changing leadership and management.
  • Spur innovation and push decision making down to the lowest appropriate level by adopting a team-based organizational structure.
  • Improve the quality of your services and products while increasing productivity by streamlining your workflow within and across units.
  • Improve communication and reduce conflict through our communication training services.

We incorporate key OD principles and practices in our Leadership Guide and Manager’s Survival Guide. We present others in our training courses listed in our Catalogue of Services and Training Courses.

Eight guides and workbooks
Free for you to use
—Plus our Catalog of Services and Training Courses

As you should know by now, we’ve developed unique approaches to strategic planning, strategic marketing, and organizational development tailored to world-changing organizations. We offer free guides on these subjects below as well as fee-for-service consulting services to our clients. Our business model is to give away everything we’ve researched and developed. You can support us by using our fee-for-services to, say, help you develop a new strategic plan, make a modest donation for each guide you print or buy printed versions of them in our Shop under Services in the menu. Our guides print at 300 dpi. 

All information on this site and in our guides is copyrighted. It cannot be copied or used for commercial purposes without our written consent.

And please consider supporting our work by making a donation

If you print or copy our guides, please make a donation to our Center to help compensate us for our years of research and development to create them. We suggest a donation of $5 for each copy you use of our guides and workbooks. Just click on “Donate” in the menu. Or you can purchase printed versions of them from our store, which is listed on the menu. Thank you.

Strategic planning guide cover

Strategic Planning Guide

PDF is about 45 pages long
and 2.6 MB in size.

Guiding Statements Guide cover

Strategic Planning Workbook

PDF is about 35 pages long
and 1.8 MB in size.

Strategic Marketing Guide cover

Guiding Statements Guide

PDF is about 20 pages long
and 1 MB in size.

Branding guide cover

Strategic Marketing Guide

PDF is about 40 pages long
and 2.2 MB in size.


Leadership Guide cover

Strategic Marketing Workbook

PDF is about 45 pages long
and 2 MB in size.


Manager's Survival Guide cover

Branding Guide

PDF is about 20 pages long
and 1 MB in size.


Branding guide cover

Leadership Guide

PDF is about 65 pages long
and 3 MB in size.


Leadership Guide cover

The Manager's Survival Guide

PDF is about 25 pages long
and 1.2 MB in size.


Leadership Guide cover

Catalog of Services and Training Courses

PDF is about 25 pages long
and 1 MB in size.


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