Effective strategic planning ensures your organization’s relevance – or allows you to go out of business with grace. Effective planning can reduce uncertainty and help manage risk and change. Effective planning can help you identify the unforeseen or unforeseeable, distinguish between concern and alarm, and anticipate risk or gamble.
The process of strategic planning is as important as the resulting written document. Working together, staff and volunteers learn more about their organization and constituents, and build understanding, cohesion, and commitment. Good planning helps your organization learn, respond to change, and remain relevant.
The written plan
The planning process also produces a written document – which anyone ought to be able to read and understand! The plan is then used by staff and volunteers to direct and evaluate their activities.
Annualizing the multi-year long-range plan
Annual priority-setting produces an action plan that integrates the activities of board and management. Annual benchmarks – based on multi-year measures – moves from the big picture of organizational priorities down to the performance objectives and appraisal parameters of individual staff. Through this process, you can dramatically improve staff ownership and organization productivity and success.
“Thank you!!! You are a terrific facilitator and, as one of our Board members said, a very brave woman. Many board members and I appreciated your asking the hard questions, and doing so in a way that allowed for answers. Thank you, too, for all your counsel. You are wonderful to work with.” (NY environmental organization)
“Simone has the ability to shed light when there is darkness.” (NY executive director)
“Thanks for your great example, for your bold and gracious challenges, for your steadfast belief in the ability of committed people to change the world.” (CT executive director)
“It has been an absolute pleasure working with you over the past several months. Everything that we thought would be possible within the strategic plan you proved to be correct. You are by far the best at what you do.” (CEO, RI human service agency)
Strategic Planning Services
- Designing and facilitating the various elements of the planning process (Handout: Creating Your Strategic Plan)
- Securing input from diverse stakeholders through focus groups, key informant interviews, and surveys
- Identifying and helping to compile information that informs the planning process
- Designing and facilitating the decision-making process, typically some form of retreat
- Drafting overall directions and goals
- Working with your leadership to define strategies and timeframes
- Defining measures and the process to monitor progress
- Writing the plan – or editing your draft of the plan
My book, Strategic Fund Development: Building Profitable Relationships that Last, 3rd edition (John Wiley & Sons, 2011), includes a lengthy chapter on institutional strategic planning. When you purchase the book, you’ll gain access to more than two dozen online appendices. These appendices include sample fundraising plans, sample strategic plans, and much more.