On this episode, Joel will take you through a high-level overview of his STRATEGY steps to build your strategic plan. These 8 steps are built on industry best practices, books and courses, and real-life experiences in taking organizations through this process.
Step One: Set the Foundation. What are you planning for? Who is your core planning team?
Step Two: Take a Look at Your World. What is happening in the world around us – politically, demographically, economically, etc.? These issues are going to impact the decision-making for your organization. However, this is not an opportunity to create excuses on why you can’t raise “x” amount of dollars, or why you can’t hold an event, or do a specific program. It’s to arm you with the information you need to make the best decision possible for your organization in the mission.
Step Three: Realize Your Future. What is your vision? Where do you want to be in 3-5 years? What does success look like? Part of this step is drilling down into your mission and the things that are going to drive your day-to-day actions that will support your larger vision. Determining the organization’s core values are a part of this process as well. What do you believe in? Once you have clarity and alignment within your organization, you can then go out and recruit the right people to become staff members, volunteers, and donors.
Step Four: Assess Your Organization. Perform a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats). Whereas step two is taking an external view, step four includes taking an internal look at your organization through the strengths and weaknesses. There will be overlap with step two when you start to look at the opportunities and threats because these are external views as well. However, this allows for some checks and balances between the two steps.
Step Five: Tighten Your Focus. This step is where you create a balanced scorecard. Healthy and smart organizations have a balanced scorecard, meaning they aren’t skewed in one direction or another. The four areas of the scorecard are capacity, internal processes and systems, finance, and client stakeholder satisfaction.
Step Six: Establish Your Measurement. If you don’t know where you’re going, then how are you going to get there? Did you do it or didn’t you do it? Simple. For example, if part of your plan includes to create a marketing plan for year one, what actions are you going to take to make that happen? This is an action you can control. Establishing the measurement then comes back to did you take this action or not because we know that taking action will lead to growth and impact.
Step Seven: Gather Your Tactics. Tactics are new or continuing projects and actions designed to improve performance of one or more focus areas. Tactics reduce performance gaps in the focus area and help achieve results.
Step Eight: Your Plan to Execute. The worst thing you can do is go through this process and then put it away on a shelf. This is where a lot of organizations fail in their strategy; they have a plan but then it doesn’t get executed. Your plan to execute is how you are going to roll out your entire plan and put it into motion. Remember, this plan does not have to be overcomplicated. Start with a one-pager, then you can drill down from there into a quarterly, monthly, or weekly plan.
As we move through the upcoming episodes, we are going to delve deeper into each step individually and answer any questions you may have. To submit a question about strategic planning, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We know being a nonprofit executive is a lonely job and we want you to know that you are not alone as you work toward your mission. If you like the content of the podcast, as well as the work we do, we invite you to join the Nonprofit Executive Club. The Executive Club is a monthly training program that gives you the ability to increase your influence through strategic planning and fundraising support. For more information and to join the Club, go to nonprofitexecutiveclub.com
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Interested in learning more about Joel Kessel? Visit kesselstrategies.com to find out how Joel helps growth-minded leaders gain clarity.