Your organization may have many ideas about what it hopes to accomplish, but is it stated specifically what needs to be done to realize them? Strategic planning may help. It’s the process of establishing your organization’s goals and outlining the steps and resources needed to achieve them within a given time frame. By aligning resources and staff, the final plan should provide your nonprofit with direction for the next several years.
This process allows your organization to more efficiently and effectively use its assets to best fulfill its mission. It can help in fundraising by presenting to potential donors what you want to accomplish and how you’re going to do it. And by including representatives of all interested parties in the planning process, it ensures that they have a say in the mission and are ultimately working toward the same goals.
Start with Collaboration
A good place to start the strategic planning process is by establishing a committee that might include senior staff, board members, key donors, and volunteers. Forming a diverse group allows the inclusion of many points of view and lets participants feel that they have ownership in the end result. For this step, it may help to enlist a consultant to help organize the process, assign tasks, and provide feedback.
What’s the Mission?
A mission statement clearly states why the nonprofit exists and what its purpose is. An effective mission statement states who your clients are, what your organization provides, and how you provide those goods and services. It sets the stage for the rest of the strategic planning process. The mission statement should be periodically reviewed to ensure that it accurately reflects the organization’s current goals.
Goals and Objectives
Goal setting separates the mission statement into more specific achievable items, establishing the steps that the nonprofit needs to achieve to fulfill its purpose. Specific objectives set quantifiable and measurable standards for each goal by establishing milestones and benchmarks.
List of Resources
Prioritizing each goal and objective helps make the most efficient use of available resources. Resources include not just funds raised but also intangible assets, such as knowledge, skills, and the experience of those involved with the organization. Making an inventory of resources is part of the planning process.
Once an organization determines its resources, it can start forming strategies for achieving its goals and objectives. A part of this process is “S.W.O.T.” analysis, which examines an organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. The aim is to maximize strengths, minimize weaknesses, and create strategies that are best for the organization.
Monitoring and reviewing the plan at regular intervals might reveal adjustments that are necessary. Strategic planning takes time and resources but can go a long way in helping an organization accomplish what it intends to.