Four Keys to a Successful Strategic Planning Experience


As the old saying goes, "If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there."  The same is true for companies and organizations. Without a clear destination, it is impossible to set a course and measure progress. Without a strong strategy, a nonprofit organization is likely to flounder, wasting valuable time and money on activities that do not further its mission.

A well-crafted strategy can also help a nonprofit organization secure funding from foundations and other donors. Donors want to see that their money will be used effectively, and a detailed strategy can demonstrate this commitment.

What is strategic planning?

Strategic planning is the process of setting goals and determining how best to achieve them.  It involves creating a road map for success, which can be used as a guide for decision-making. It is an important tool for nonprofit organizations, as it allows them to focus their limited resources on their most important objectives.

What goes into a successful strategic planning experience?

Below are four key factors to keep in mind:

1: Define your mission.

One of the first things you need to do when embarking on a strategic planning experience is to define your mission. This will provide you with a north star to guide your decision-making and ensure that everyone on your team is moving in the same direction. Moreover, it can help you attract like-minded individuals who are passionate about your cause and want to help you achieve your goals.

2: Do your research.

Before you can develop an effective strategy, you need to have a solid understanding of your target audience. Who are they? What are their needs? What motivates them? Answering these questions will help you create messaging that resonates and drives results. Furthermore, it is important to stay up-to-date on industry trends so that you can adjust your plans accordingly. The last thing you want is to be caught flat-footed by new development or change in the marketplace. 

3: Set realistic goals. 

One of the most common mistakes organizations make when developing a strategy is setting unrealistic goals. If your goals are unattainable, it will only lead to frustration and disappointment down the road. So, it is important to set milestones that are ambitious yet achievable. This will not only help keep everyone on track but also provide a sense of accomplishment as you check each goal off your list.

4: Be prepared to adapt.

Even the best-laid plans can go awry, so be prepared to adapt on the fly. Whether it is a change in the marketplace or an unforeseen obstacle, being flexible will allow you to course correct as needed and continue moving forward toward your ultimate goal. Just remember, no one said this was going to be easy—but it will be worth it in the end! 

Strategy planning is essential for any organization that wants to achieve long-term success. By keeping these four key factors in mind, you can create a plan that will help guide you toward your goals and ensure that everyone on your team is working toward the same objectives.

Do you need help with strategic planning?

At The Nonprofit Advantage, we provide single event to multi-month strategic planning guidance to form your first strategic plan or renew an existing one.  Our process is highly collaborative, inclusive, and tailored to your organization. We would be happy to speak with you about how we can help you achieve your goals. Contact us today!

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    Alex Kennedy, Executive Director Save the Nations Ministries

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