Creating Your Own Strategic Plan

One of the most common problems SOURCE works with clients on is developing a more cohesive and successful strategic plan. If you are considering creating a strategic plan, Janet McIntyre of Executive Service Corps says that it is essential to get a foundational understanding of Strategic Plans before jumping in.

During her workshop at the SOURCE Summit, on February 27, 2015, Janet discussed the value of a strategic plan as, “mapping the future with measurable goals.” During the discussion with nonprofit leaders, a few key benefits to introducing a Strategic Plan came up, including that it:

Helps the organization leaders get aligned with the Board.
Provides a plan to quickly communicate to funders and volunteers.
Helps with program improvement overall.
Helps the organization prioritize.
Identifies the organization’s needs and skills.

However, there are some key pitfalls that many of the Claremont nonprofits said they experienced. If your organization is hoping to implement a strategic plan, it is important to be aware of these challenges before you begin:

There is a lack of measurable goals.
Too often, the organization focuses too much on the negative.
Not enough time to sit down and fully flesh out a strategic plan with all parties needed.
A misunderstanding of the goals of the organization.
Spreading the organization too thin focusing on too many goals.

According to Janet, it is essential that all strategic plans have a solid base that draws from the organization’s vision, mission, business plan, and goals. Once the base is set, nonprofits can begin to add in a variety of specifics that even includes someone in charge of the accomplishment of the task and the source of funding. Janet stressed the importance of using additional tools such as a SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats) when developing your plan. Without understanding the organization itself, it’s challenging if not impossible to successfully plan for the future.

If you are looking to conduct strategic planning with your nonprofit, please reach out to SOURCE at SOURCE@cmc.edu. We look forward to hearing from you!

by Jack segal