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Ep 22 - Building an Individual Giving Program from Scratch

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Ep. 21 - How Nonprofits are Using AI

Tuesday, May 07, 2024

Ep 20 - Celebrating 20 Episodes: A Dive into Public Policy with Geoff Greene, CEO of CalNonprofits

Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Ep. 20 - Public Policy & Nonprofits

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Ep 19 - Navigating Nonprofit Leadership and Governance with Crystal Trull

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Ep. 19 - How Social Enterprise Intersects with Governance

Tuesday, April 09, 2024

Ep 18 - Exploring Social Enterprise with Dr. Paula Cordeiro

Tuesday, April 02, 2024

Ep. 18 - Social Enterprise

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

7 Steps to Successful Nonprofit Strategic Planning

By crafting a well-thought-out strategic plan, founders and directors can define their vision, set clear goals, and chart a course for achieving their mission. In this blog post, I'll explore the importance of strategic planning for nonprofits and provide practical insights on how to develop an effective strategic plan that inspires both growth and long-term impact.

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As described in "How to Start a Nonprofit That Will Change the World," strategic planning plays a pivotal role in shaping the direction of a nonprofit organization, and ensuring its long-term success. pires both growth and long-term impact. In this post, we'll touch on the 7 critical steps to follow when crafting your organization's strategic plan.

Step 1: Define (or Re-familiarize Yourself with) Your Mission, Vision, and Values
The bedrock of a successful strategic plan lies in clearly defining and understanding your nonprofit's mission, vision, and values. The mission statement should concisely communicate the purpose and reason for your organization's existence. The vision statement should outline the desired future state and the impact you aspire to achieve. Additionally, the values statement should reflect the core principles that guide your organization's actions and decisions. Clarifying these elements will provide a compass for the entire strategic planning journey.

Step 2: Assess the Current Landscape
Before diving into strategic planning, it is crucial to conduct a thorough assessment of the current landscape in which your nonprofit operates. Often termed a "SWOT" analysis, this assessment is meant to observe the external environment, including social, economic, and political factors, and understand how they may impact your organization. Simultaneously, you will evaluate your nonprofit's internal strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (hence the "SWOT"). Conducting this analysis at the outset of the strategic planning process will provide a solid foundation for your decision makers to make informed choices and set attainable goals.

Step 3: Set SMART Goals
Effective strategic planning involves setting specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals. Align your goals with your mission and vision, ensuring they are realistic and attainable within a defined timeframe. Identify key performance indicators (KPIs) for each goal to help track progress and success. Breaking down larger goals into smaller milestones provides a sense of accomplishment and maintains momentum.

Step 4: Engage Stakeholders
Strategic planning should be a collaborative effort that engages key stakeholders, including board members, staff, volunteers, donors, and community members. Their perspectives and insights are invaluable in shaping the strategic direction of your organization. Conduct stakeholder interviews, host focus groups, or utilize surveys to gather diverse input and ensure a shared understanding and ownership of the strategic plan. The worst kind of strategic plans are those that aren't ever evaluated or monitored after they are complete.

Step 5: Develop Action Plans
Transform your strategic goals into actionable steps by developing comprehensive action plans. Assign responsibilities, set timelines, and establish metrics to measure progress. Break down larger goals into smaller tasks and identify the necessary resources and budget to support implementation. Regularly review and update action plans to remain adaptable in an ever-changing environment.

Step 6: Monitor and Evaluate
Successful strategic planning necessitates ongoing monitoring and evaluation. Establish mechanisms to track progress against goals and regularly review performance. This can include regular check-ins, performance dashboards, or formal evaluation processes. Celebrate achievements and learn from challenges, adjusting strategies as needed to stay aligned with your organization's vision.

Step 7: Communicate and Engage
Transparent communication is paramount for strategic planning success. Share the strategic plan with internal and external stakeholders, ensuring everyone understands the goals, strategies, and actions. Maintain open lines of communication through regular updates, newsletters, and meetings to sustain enthusiasm and commitment to the strategic plan. Foster a culture of continuous improvement and adaptability.

Strategic planning is a dynamic process that empowers nonprofit organizations to navigate complexities, adapt to change, and create a compelling vision for the future. By conducting thorough assessments, defining mission, vision, and values, setting SMART goals, engaging stakeholders, developing action plans, monitoring progress, and fostering communication, nonprofits can cultivate a strategic mindset that drives growth and impact. Embrace strategic planning as an opportunity to envision a brighter future for your organization and the communities you serve.

7 Steps to Successful Nonprofit Strategic Planning 

  • Step 1: Define (or Re-familiarize Yourself with) Your Mission, Vision, and Values
  • ​Step 2: Assess the Current Landscape
  • ​Step 3: Set SMART Goals
  • ​Step 4: Engage Stakeholders
  • ​Step 5: Develop Action Plans
  • ​Step 6: Monitor and Evaluate
  • ​Step 7: Communicate and Engage