Saturday, September 15, 2018


Last time we learned how to identifying the problem and the people impacted by the problem, in this week’s blog post, we'll see how we can identify causes of the problem and discuss the different approaches to solving it. This will be our third step to take in creating an effective and successful nonprofit strategy. This will be how we create an ideal world for those we are serving.

Now that we’ve understood the importance learning about our beneficiaries, the next step to take in designing an effective nonprofit strategy is to identify the causes of the problem your nonprofit wishes to solve as well as coming up with number of solutions/potential approaches that your nonprofit might take in order to best solve the problem at hand.  However, first thing is first, it’s very important to remember that being able to identify the causes of the problem is very crucial before you can move on to providing the solutions.

When trying to find out what the causes are, and what solutions you might provide to those challenge, I advise that you and your team (nonprofit) use the Problem and solution tree. The “Problem and Solution Tree” is used to analyze the root causes and effects of a specific problem in order to identify strategic interventions. The problem is written in the middle of the trunk. You will need to use the “Problem and Solution tree” because it  is a helpful brainstorming tool that you or your nonprofit can use to identify the problem and develop effective solutions that will meet your service users/client’s needs effectively.

When you are working with the problem tree you ought to mark out the problem you are trying to solve before you can start identifying the causes and available solutions. If you have no idea on how to identify the problem, make sure you read THE FIRST NECESSARY STEP IN DESIGNING YOUR NONPROFIT'S STRATEGY- UNDERSTANDING THE PROBLEM in order to get a clear path as you come into identifying the causes and providing solutions.
So how does this work?

These are the key items that a Problem and Solution Tree displays:

  • Trunk: List the problems associated with the challenge you are trying to solve
  • Roots: What are the root causes of these problems? List each one as a root in the tree
  • Branches: For each ‘problem root’, List each solution as a branch in the tree 

Once you’ve spelled out the problem, you can them start by looking out for the main causes of the problem and posting them on your problem tree as negative statements. Diligence and careful study and research are needed when it comes to understanding and writing down the causes and consequences of the problem you are trying to solve. If you make a mistake regarding the causes of the problem, your understanding of the beneficiaries’ needs may be incorrect and your solutions may be ineffective, this is why due diligence is needed.

In order to develop an effective solution to the problem you are facing, you must first fully understand the underlying causes of the problem. Remember, there can be a number of causes to the problem, however, the more you understand and learn about them, the more you will be able to understand and narrow them down to the actual cause. Identifying the cause of the problem is necessary in order to be able to craft an effective solution.

Once you’ve completed identifying the causes, it’s time to start identifying some solutions to the causes you’ve identified and you can do that by writing down the suggested solutions as positive statements. It is our duty to open up range of possible solutions, to ensure that no solutions are promised an erroneous fact or assumptions about causes and later to determine how best to meet the beneficiary's needs. When developing the solutions to the problem and its causes ask yourself the following two questions:

  • What solution will have the greatest impact on the identified problem?
  • What solution is within your resources, acting alone or in collaboration with others?

It can be helpful to brainstorm many different solutions to your problem and then try to evaluate or select which approach will be right for you and your nonprofit.

When you are working with a Problem and solution tree, you might choose to use a single tree with the Problem, Causes, and Solutions, or just two different trees one with the causes and the other with the solutions.  However, I recommend using a single tree as it is much easier to develop and use.

If you make a mistaken about the causes of the problem, your understanding of beneficiaries’ needs may be incorrect and your solutions may be ineffective, that’s why careful Identification of the social problem you are trying to solve, its causes, and solutions is at the heart of developing a successful nonprofit strategy.

It is important to understand what the causes of the problem are in order to be able to open up a range of possible and effective solutions that will ensure accuracy and understanding in identifying and meeting the beneficiaries’ actual needs.

And that is the third step to take when developing a successful nonprofit strategy. I hope this post continues to help you in developing a powerful nonprofit strategy for any project you look into starting. You can learn more and review more on this topic by visiting the NONPROFIT STRATEGY CATEGORY.

Because of His love on Calvary, I am forever a secure package
Chaow Chaow!

Rumishael Ulomi is a Freelance Christian Consultant, Life Coach, and Motivational Speaker in the areas of Christian Ministry, Business, Entrepreneurship, and Social Sector development residing in Moshi,Tanzania.


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