Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Strategic Planning - A Simple Process for Small Organizations

Frequently when small nonprofits contact me about doing strategic planning they either think it is something the board can do in a Saturday morning retreat (It isn't possible) or do not have any idea of what may be involved and are afraid that it may be way too big an undertaking for them. It actually really can be something reasonable and meaningful in between these two ends of the spectrum.

Whether you are large or small it is important to know where you want to go and how you are going to go about getting there. Here is a simple outline that I use to work with small nonprofits and help them set up a process.

Planning to Plan: Determine issues to be addressed, timeline, commitment needed by committee members, design process for developing the plan

Gather and Analyze the Data: What questions will you ask? Who will you ask - customers, board members, staff, funders, partners, volunteers, donors? Will you use detailed interviews, focus groups, surveys?
How will committee members be involved in collecting, summarizing and analyzing data?

Develop Findings Report and Recommendations: Put together a summary of your findings and what your recommendations are as a result of them.

Develop the Plan(Planning Retreat): Now you are ready to involve the whole Board at a strategic planning Board Retreat where you can develop/update your mission, vision, values, goals and objectives.

Implement Plan: Make sure you have a process to integrate the plan into ongoing operations with objectives and a results monitoring process.

I strongly recommend that you do your homework and use a process designed specifically for nonprofits. There are some excellent books on this subject. I recommend checking out the Leader to leader Institute for more information.

Leader to Leader Institute
Marion Conway Consulting

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