Got planning on your mind? We’re glad to hear it! Strategic planning is a commitment – it takes time, resources, and the willingness to pull together to do the work. But, if it’s done right, it’s a commitment that will pay for itself for years to come. An effective strategic plan gets everyone moving in the same direction, and that kind of momentum produces results.

If you’ve landed here looking for ways to make your plan the best it can be – and you’re looking to use the plan to build excitement and accountability – you’re already on the right track. Strategic planning is one of our specialities, and we’ve learned a thing or two in our decades of experience in the social profit sector about what it takes for a plan to succeed.

For your plan to be effective, everyone in the organization, as well as those who have the power to influence or invest in your vision, must buy in. The plan needs to be embedded in your organizational culture and integrated into everything you do, from big leadership decisions, to day-to-day operations, to your communications strategy. The more you share, the more accountability your stakeholders will feel for the successful outcomes of the strategy.

Below are ten questions to ask yourself about your strategic plan. If you can answer yes to each one or adjust your approach so that any noes turn to yesses, you’ll be set up for strategic planning success.

  1. Our organization has a strategic plan, or is in the process of developing a plan, that clearly details our direction and aspirations for the next three to five years.
  2. Our organization has engaged those that have a high degree of authority (ability to influence the strategy) and interest (those that will be affected by the strategy) in the process.  
  3. Our executive team has developed operational and financial goals for the strategy which have been shared with, and approved by, our board.
  4. Our organization has developed interdependent goals across the organization to get us to where we want to be.
  5. Our executive team reviews the plan regularly to score performance against the plan and make revisions where necessary.
  6. Our organization has developed a multi-channel, multi-strategy revenue generating approach that aims to fulfill the best-case scenario to achieve the goals and aspirations of our strategic plan. We have also laid out a more conservative scenario to mitigate risk.
  7. Our organization makes decisions on which revenue generating strategies to consider, such as what grants to apply for and what role events play, based on the collective understanding of our priorities, goals and how they support our strategic plan.
  8. Our organization has provided the necessary tools, messaging, and timing instructions to empower ambassadors (board, staff, volunteers, corporate partners etc) to actively help us reach our goals.
  9. Our teams can recite the core goals of our plan and use them to guide their work and decision making.
  10. We use our plan as a guide to regularly report on our activity to our executive team, board, staff, and other stakeholders, such as donors, funders, and volunteers.

If you answered yes to all ten statements, congratulations – you’re set up for success! If you didn’t get a perfect score, use this assessment to help you figure out how you can improve. And if you’re feeling stuck and need some guidance to get your plan to where it needs to be, drop us a line. We’d love to help!