The webinar “Planning & Decision Making in Uncertain Times,” produced by the Chronicle of Philanthropy in partnership with the Monitor Institute by Deloitte, focuses on scenario planning as a tool for nonprofits as they navigate the fallout of COVID-19.


Here are some key takeaways:

  • When engaging in scenario planning, start by looking at your mission and values to target your next steps.
  • Accept that your business model may change due to COVID-19. This can be a great opportunity to be creative and innovative.
  • Accept that during the pandemic, major events are occurring including scarcity of resources within the nonprofit sector, possibility of closures/mergers, and inequities based on location and demographics.


Keeping these things in mind, here are some practical steps for scenario planning:

1. Accept the uncertainties of this pandemic, including the duration and seriousness of the pandemic, its impact on health and the economy, changes in technology, and community cooperation.

2. Plot the main uncertainties facing your organization on an x and y axis. In the webinar, the uncertainties given as an example are impact of crisis and social cooperation from the community.

  • Credit: Monitor Institute by Deloitte

a. Create possible scenarios in the four quadrants, as shown in the image above.

b. Make a strategic plan for each scenario.

c. Test your current strategic plan for each scenario. Are your actionable items feasible? What have you been overlooking?

3. Create a strategic plan for the next 12 to 18 months based on this scenario planning exercise and consider events that may trigger the next steps.


Scenario planning can help institutions navigate an unpredictable future by preparing for various possibilities — while still advancing their mission. 


Want more information?

To view the webinar, click here (registration required).

For more information about the contents of the webinar, click here.

Two resources on scenario planning from David Alexander:


For more resources on scenario planning, contact