Your nonprofit organization’s strategic plan provides the direction in which you are heading and how to get there. A good nonprofit strategic planning process identifies strategies that will best enable a nonprofit to advance its mission. Many nonprofits start the process by identifying the nonprofit’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, in what is commonly called a SWOT analysis.
Organizations use strategic planning to provide a structured process to define success for an organization, determine the operational and programmatic steps to get there, and align resources and staff to achieve the goal within a given time frame.
Given the typical amount of time it takes to create a well thought out strategic plan most plans cover a time period of three (3) years—long enough to allow time for the plan to be enacted and show results, but not so long that the data and goals should change.
But did your nonprofit’s strategic plan just get tossed aside and now seems completely irrelevant? Don’t give up – it’s time to revisit your plan and these basics can be considered in a timely manner to help you realign your focus and your direction at this critical time.
Three steps to quickly revise your strategic plan:
- Ensure your agency’s programs, projects and activities remain within the parameters of your vision, strategy and objectives;
- Review internal and external factors that may require changes to your strategy or affect your ability to achieve your current objectives; and,
- Identify potential scenarios and develop contingency plans to help you stay on track toward reaching your goals and fulfilling your vision for the business.
If you revise your strategic plan during this time it will significantly benefit your nonprofit in these ways:
- Revise/re-align the purpose of your organization and set realistic goals
- Adapt quickly to the changing environment
- Better overcome short-term delays
- Become more forward-thinking and visionary
- Build a consensus in your organization about where your organization is heading
- Increase productivity by ensuring that employees know where they’re going and what’s expected of them
- Capitalize on your strengths
My last words in all of the strategy sessions I facilitate, I leave the room with this advice: “A strategic plan is a living document. It does not have to be perfect or 100 percent complete to start using your strategic plan. A rough draft is better than no plan at all. Put your plan on paper so you can stay focused on your current goals and objectives.”
Download our free SWOT analysis guide and template to shine a light on your nonprofit’s future so you can shape it proactively, not retroactively. Plan ahead with a springboard for your future!
As part of Bloomerang’s Content Donation Program, $100 was donated to Shoebox Ministry.