Thursday, March 06, 2008

Strategic Planning - Basic Ideas to Start Thinking About It

Yesterday I presented a workshop on Strategic Planning for Nonprofits for a great group to work with at the Bergen County Volunteer Center. I orient this popular workshop for small organizations in particular. The evaluation forms indicated that participants valued learning a step by step process they could use and the resource material I provided. So today I am going to share some of that with you.

I strongly recommend that nonprofits choose a strategic planning model designed specifically for nonprofits. I use the Peter Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management model, now the Leader to Leader Institute, which is built around answering five basic important questions. This is a straightforward and flexible model for developing a plan. Check the link below for more information on publications that can guide you through the process.

My outline for a strategic planning process is as follows:

The strategic planning committee:
•Plans and organizes for developing the strategic plan
•Explores mission, vision, values, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats
•Develops the strategic planning questions and conducts interviews and focus groups
•Researches and prepares an Environmental Scan
•Develops the Findings and Recommendation Report
•Leads a Board Retreat to develop the vision, mission, values, goals and objectives for the final plan.

Staff and Board:
•Support the committee’s work and participate as committee members
•Sets up processes and monitoring to ensure the plan is being implemented
•Communicates the plan to all constituencies including funders
•Connects the plan to program development, marketing and fundraising plans, volunteer and audience development

This past month I have been busy with facilitating board and staff retreats, and a church governance board retreat. In all cases we were doing “strategic planning activities” – not full strategic planning. All of the groups benefited for taking the time to work on mission, vision and values. Even if you are not ready for that full strategic plan, I highly recommend you consider this for a Board Retreat.

Give me a call----let’s talk about it.
Leader to Leader Institute

Marion Conway Consulting

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