Strategic planning is a blueprint for nonprofit organizations, designed to help them identify precisely what their ambitions are and how they will eventually achieve them. Generally, the process represents an effort conducted by the entire organization or the prioritization of a major function, such as a department or division.
For the best results, staff and board members remain committed to the process, striving to meet measurable goals, approve primary concerns for integration and ensure that they consistently re-examine the organization’s strategies on a regular basis.
Ash Gujral, the founder and president of the Gujral Community Fund in San Francisco, has explored some of the more effective ways for nonprofits to establish their strategic planning.
Your organization’s first order of business should involve a thorough review of its overall environment, Ash Gujral says, including the political, social, technical, and economic aspects. Various driving forces within the environment like enhanced competition or altering demographics are often considered by the planners in this stage. Additionally, the planners observe the multitude of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that are pertinent to the organization.
Forming a Strategic Pathway
A nonprofit’s planning team will develop conclusions as to what the organization must accomplish in response to the noteworthy issues and opportunities before them, Ash Gujral specifies. Among these judgments, the organization will decide on what strategic goals need to be reached and the comprehensive methods that are certain to produce the necessary success. Whatever goals are discussed, they should be worded in a manner that is specific, measurable, and acceptable to the personnel aiming to attain them, while also finalizing a timeline that is realistic and gives the workers a chance to utilize their full capabilities.
At a certain juncture of the planning process, the team normally identifies or updates its strategic philosophy, tinkering with the general mission, vision, or values. A mission statement is a short, written description that outlines the organization’s purpose, usually required when a new nonprofit business works with a state agency to formally register the new venture. Vision statements focus on a persuasive description of how the organization intends to function at some point in the future and how consumers or clients are profiting from their products or services. Value statements present the overarching priorities that will determine how the organization operates, with moral values (integrity, honesty, respect) playing a crucial role in this step.
Ash Gujral on Arranging a Course of Action
This step calls upon the planning group to demonstrate the goals that will be met by the nonprofit organization, Ash Gujral states. Commonly referred to as action planning, it involves specifying objectives and the intended results tied into each particular goal. To fulfill these goals, the organization has to employ useful tactics, methodologies that are bound to complete an objective. Before they implement any sort of strategy, there has to be a set of tactics, capable of meeting their interests, worked out by the planning team. Action planning is also meant to assign responsibilities and establish timelines for every objective, not to mention evaluate and monitor the plan as it progresses. Many nonprofit organizations incorporate an annual plan, too, which relays the strategic goals, objectives, strategies, duties, and timelines that should be resolved in the upcoming year. Ordinarily, organizations create plans for each vital function and division department in their work plans. And, of course, budgets are featured in the strategic, annual, and work plans, ultimately stipulating the money required for the resources that are instrumental in executing the annual plan. Their budgets will also determine how the money is to be spent for matters like human resources, materials, equipment, and more.