By Sam Frank of Synthesis Partnership
If Strategic Planning strikes you (or your board) as a tedious, formulaic waste of time, think again. Don’t give up! Not only is planning essential to the health of almost any nonprofit, but it can also be invigorating, enlightening and morale-building. Engage your board and staff with your strategic plan, by improving the design and execution of the process. Even if you think that strategic planning is a thing of the past, read Stanford Social Innovation Review’s article The Strategic Plan is Dead. Long Live Strategy. for discussion of how to use flexible strategies in a rapidly changing world. For the real value of strategic planning, see my article Critical Issues #1 Why Plan?
There is no “best” way to develop a strategic plan. Every organization needs to follow a process designed to reflect:
- The nature of the organization (many or few constituencies; how large, engaged, and dispersed they are; size and culture of staff; role of the governing board).
- The prior planning experience of the staff and board
- The life-cycle stage of the organization (new, thriving, mature, stalled, troubled). Find out where your organization lies with the guidance of Nonprofit Management Services’ The One Hour Organizational Assessment ($5).
- The nature of the changes your organization is facing—or creating. Read about how to create an action plan to follow through on your changes in my article Critical Issues #15 Strategic Action.
When conducted effectively a strategic planning process will:
- Help you to adapt to changing circumstances. For some strategies, download TCC Group’s Change Management: Strategies to Help Nonprofit Leaders Make the Most of Uncertain Times.
- Focus operations and measure results. Read about the importance of metrics and how to design them in my article Critical Issues #8 The Measure of Success Metrics.
- Draw on the wisdom and experience of all of your stakeholders.
- Cultivate all of your stakeholders, and engage their wisdom, their enthusiasm and their giving.
- Develop organizational strength and leadership. If you think your nonprofit doesn’t have the resources for leadership development,save time and identify new opportunities to apply for fellowships with Trista Harris & Co’s Foundation and Nonprofit Fellowships ($15).
Join me on March 20th at 1:00 pm Eastern (10:00 am Pacific) for a free webinar Strategic Planning Part 1: Cultivation & Organizational Development, and on April 10th at 1:00 pm Eastern (10:00 am Pacific) for Effective Strategic Planning Part 2: Getting Results.
Share your own templates, check lists or workshop materials for strategic planning with nonprofits the world over on IdeaEncore. Send this article to a friend or colleague.
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Upcoming Nonprofit Webinars
Check out these free educational events from Nonprofit Webinars, another service of Good Done Great. (all times are Eastern)
Everything You Need to Know About Focus Groups
By Rena Cheskis-Gold of Demographic Perspectives
Wednesday, 3/13, 1:00 pm
7 Ways Planning Improves Social Impact and Sustainability
By Geri Stengel of Ventureneer
Wednesday, 3/13, 3:00 pm
Output Is Everything!
By Cheri Weissman of CJW Consulting & Services, Inc.
Tuesday, 3/19, 3:00 pm
Strategic Planning Part 1: Cultivation & Organizational Development
By Sam Frank of Synthesis Partnership
Wednesday, 3/20, 1:00 pm
Taking Leadership Online: Developing Your Personal Social Media Voice
By Debra Askanase of Community Organizer 2.0
Wednesday, 3/20, 3:00 pm
Pinning for Good – How Nonprofits Can Use Pinterest to Raise Money, Create Awareness and Do Good
By Julia Campbell of J Campbell Social Marketing
Tuesday, 3/26, 3:00 pm
GrantStation Invites You to Participate in The State of Grantseeking Spring 2013
The survey results will provide up-to-date information to help nonprofits as they continue to adjust to current economic conditions and plan their grantseeking strategies, in addition to giving organizations a benchmark to compare to their own grantseeking experience.
Please take five minutes to complete this survey before March 15, 2013.
If you’ve not yet accessed your free copy of The State of Grantseeking Fall 2012, click here to download.
Thank you all for your good work,
David Barach Scott Bechtler-Levin
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