Nonprofit Strategic Plan Examples For Your Organization
Coming up with and accomplishing goals looks different for every nonprofit organization. Introducing a strategic plan can help you achieve your goals more efficiently based on the type of goal. We’ll go over the various types of strategic planning models available and which is potentially the best suited for your organization’s needs.
What is a Strategic Plan For Nonprofits
A strategic plan is a process implemented by an organization outlining how its goals and objectives will be accomplished. This strategic plan covers the entire organization, creating a roadmap for everyone to move together in order to accomplish annual goals. The purpose of a strategic plan is to break up big tasks into bite-sized pieces, making it easier to achieve through a series of steps.
How to Build a Strategic Plan
In order to build a strategic plan, you have to first assess the goal or goals you wish to tackle. You can use the acronym “SMART” to better visualize what needs to get done. SMART stands for:
- Specific. Be specific about the goal you want to achieve. Think “who, what, when, where”.
- Measurable. Using numbers or figuring out a way to measure your success will help determine how well you did when achieving your goal. You’ll need to be able to track your progress too.
- Assignable. How reasonable is the goal, and do you have enough volunteers/staff to accomplish it?
- Realistic. Think about whether or not this goal aligns with the overall mission statement of your organization.
- Time. Your goal needs a time limit to be accomplished in.
This acronym helps you create realistic goals that your organization can actually achieve. It’s also important to bring in others on goal discussion to ensure that the goals being created truly are realistic and assignable. Once you’ve created your goal, you can move on to the strategic planning stage.
Strategic Planning Models
Different strategic planning models help frame goals from various perspectives based on the type of goal created. Let’s get into the five main types of strategic planning models.
- Standard strategic planning model.
The standard strategic planning model has fairly stable goals and touchpoints. In general, this model looks like a map with basic objectives to be achieved along the way. This model looks like:
- Defining overall missions and goals.
- Setting specific short-term goals to get closer to your mission.
- Making a clear path for those short-term goals and delegating who will help in achieving them.
- Create a schedule for completing those goals to end on your big goal.
- Issue-based strategic planning model.
This planning model is meant to address a specific issue and fix it as a goal. An example of this would be something like missing volunteer number goals. You would center your planning around steps that involve pushing volunteer numbers up. For issue-based strategizing you’ll:
- Research the things blocking your way to success.
- Figure out how to address those blocks to recenter your organization.
- Keep track of your goal progress and readjust as needed.
- Organic strategic planning model.
Organic planning goes with the flow more than the standard model. This type of planning is perfect for organizations that are a little more unstable than average and have to make small changes to their planning steps as they go along. The expectation going in is that things could shift a bit based on need. Organic planning looks like this:
- Start with team-building events that highlight your organization’s mission and re-unifies the organization.
- Work together as a group to discuss strengths and distribute goal-related tasks.
- Meet up throughout the process of working on your goals to reassess and discuss goal progress.
- Real-time strategic planning model.
If you have a sudden short-term plan appear that needs immediate attention, you should come up with a real-time strategic planning model. This could be if an emergency happens in your community or within your organization. Your real-time strategic planning model might look like this:
- Frequent large meetings for short-term goal assessment.
- Discussing goal progress and any issues that arise throughout the process.
- Damage control occurs after the incident has passed and address new goals afterward.
- Alignment strategic planning model.
This planning model is for organizations that have disjointed teams. Goals can be difficult to achieve without a good flow of communication, so this planning model sets out to bridge the gap in order to come together and complete your goals. An alignment strategic planning model should have these steps:
- Your entire organization has a meeting to reconnect and learn about the individual issue of each department.
- Discuss and affirm the overall goal your organization is trying to achieve.
- Adjust your short-term goals to better accommodate everyone’s ability.
Industry Leaders’ Strategic Planning
Nonprofits of all sizes use strategic planning to further their organization and its goals. Even the biggest industry leaders use strategic planning to push forward and bring more to their communities. The Smithsonian, for example, has outlined its five-year plan to “increase and diffuse knowledge”. On their website, they outline five main points they wish to achieve to complete their goal. This is an excellent example of what a strategic planning model should look like, as it’s detailed and concise with what it sets out to achieve.
Strategic Planning Example
We’re going to give you an example of what a basic strategic plan should look like. The goal we’re going to set is to help open a second outpost location for your nonprofit.
Main strategic plan goal: Open a new youth services location to help bring more services to the area and combat staff and volunteer overwhelm.
Goal 1: Find a location to rent or buy within the next 2 years within 20 miles of the current location.
- Objective 1 (Assigned to a person): Create a budget.
- (List activities) Analyze the overall annual budget.
- Calculate the cost of required equipment/materials.
- Come up with a realistic number for rental or buying costs.
- Objective 2 (Assigned to a person): Look at locations to rent or buy.
- Look at buildings within the budget that reside within 20 miles of the current location.
- Close on a building and ensure it’s up to code.
Goal 2: Outfit the new building to be ready to move in and begin operation within 1 year.
- Objective 1 (Assigned to a group): Remodel the interior and prepare for operation.
- Find and hire builders.
- Ensure the building is up to code and organization standards
- Hire a muralist within the community to paint a mural on the building.
- Objective 2 (Assigned to a group): Scout for volunteers and staff members.
- Handle small hiring and scouting events for various positions.
Goal 3: Open the new location and begin awareness campaigns.
- Objective 1 (Assigned to person): Spread the word about new location.
- Work with local organizations to get the news out.
- Let people know at the current location that a new location is opening.
- Objective 2 (Assigned to a group): Prepare staff and open new location.
- Hold staff trainings.
- Finalize an opening date.
- Open the new location.
This is a watered-down version of what strategic planning would look like in a real situation, but the basic rules are the same. All you’re doing is breaking down your big goal into smaller goals.
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