Actionable strategic plan development for nonprofit organizations
A strategic plan development is an essential tool that carries a nonprofit organization or charity into the future. When prepared correctly, it plays a vital role in prioritizing targets and optimum use of resources. In addition, an actionable strategic plan ensures that the nonprofit proceeds on the right path and achieves its goals.
Unfortunately, very few strategic plans can accomplish these tasks because although their name is a strategic plan, they do not have a strategic capacity and are not actionable. As many of you know, many strategic plans can’t go beyond waiting on dusty shelves as a beautiful booklet.
Pitfalls of Strategic Plan Development
There are three main reasons why strategic plans do not have the desired effect.
1. Ambiguity and subjectivity
Most of the inefficient strategic plans consist of indefinite and subjective sentences. As a result, when the board of directors, staff, or other stakeholders read the strategic plan, they may draw different conclusions. This uncertainty also prevents board members and staff from acting together. Strategic plan development should include simple, understandable and clear objectives.
2. Incompatibility with resources and capacity
One of the most common mistakes in nonprofit organization strategic plans is the objectives that do not consider nonprofits’ resources and capacity. Such unrealistic strategic goals are not viable. Strategic plan development requires setting realistic and feasible goals.
3. Lack of measurable goals
Unmeasurable goals are one of the most critical reasons strategic plans cannot be implemented effectively. We can compare it to an athlete who runs without knowing where to go. No matter how hard he runs, he cannot reach any goal because no concrete target is agreed upon. Strategic plan development requires setting measurable goals.
Principles of Actionable Strategic Plan Development
So how can nonprofit boards and executives overcome these difficulties and develop actionable strategic plans? There are three principles that leaders can use for strategic plan development.
1. Set measurable goals
Nonprofit leaders can start by measuring where they are today and want to be in the future. Identifying the gap between the current situation and the future objectives will help nonprofits prioritize their goals and focus on what really matters.
2. Develop a shared strategic plan
One of the most critical conditions for an actionable strategic plan is to get the support of everyone. Inclusion and cooptation ensure greater acceptance and effectiveness of the strategic plan.
3. Integrate your strategic plan
An actionable strategic plan is related to all the management functions of the nonprofit organization, including operational plan, human resources management, financial plans, risk plan and stakeholder management plan. Therefore, it is important not to develop strategic plans independently and consider all other plans. We can compare the plans to the wheels of a bus. It is not enough for one or a few to be efficient and harmonious. All must be of the same quality and performance. An actionable strategic plan is the first step of organizational harmony.
Vectors Group and Vectors Institute researchers developed the Executive Strategic Evaluation Process (E-SEP) to assist nonprofit boards and executives develop actionable strategic plans. Contact us now if you need support for strategic plan development.