As we begin to enter the new year in just a short couple of days, it’s important to revisit or perhaps visit for the first time, a strategic plan. For many nonprofits, this might seem tedious but those who take the time to plan strategically end up reaching their goals quicker and more efficiently. Who wouldn’t want that? Knowing how to implement these processes might seem daunting but we’ve compiled a list to help get you started.
If this is your first time working on a strategic plan, it might be helpful to conduct a SWOT Analysis of your organization. A SWOT analysis generally analyzes your strengths and weaknesses as an organization in order to discover what you can improve upon in your strategy.
Next, you’re going to want to define and be sound in your cause.
Three main elements to consider when defining your cause.
These are crucial first steps in the foundation of your strategic plan.
Values, are the major beliefs in which your organization is tied to, it differentiates your organization from others.
Vision, describes the way in which the lives of your constituents will be altered for the better. How will your organization impact the world?
And lastly your mission. Your mission should focus on how you will go about making that change, hopefully giving some direction to the ideas in your vision and to further define your cause.
After the groundwork has been laid, you can start putting together a comprehensive action plan. In this stage, it is important to set goals for your organization that align with your mission. Try to define at least 3-5 different attainable and measurable goals for your company and repeatedly check back in to determine their success or failure. These goals should directly correspond with achieving your vision and mission. For example, if an organization’s mission was to “inform, promote, connect and strengthen individual nonprofits and the nonprofit sector” one of their goals might be to “build bridges between nonprofits and key institutions to increase partnership and cooperation."
Next, as is the case with any and all plans, you must consider the obstacles. Whether they might fall in the category of fundraising, volunteers, community, staff, etc., obstacles must be prepared for to the best of your organization's ability. Of course, it is impossible to foresee every obstacle, but it is important to account for as many possibilities as you can.
Lastly, if this is in fact your first strategic plan, keep it brief. A page or two should suffice and will act as a great piece to reference along each quarter. Make sure that the communication is clear enough for all parties to understand. This will act as a great framework for your organization. Continue to update the process and document progress along the way in order to make the plan as beneficial and efficient as possible!