Strategic planning is first to look back and what you have done in the past as a way to understand what your next steps will be. Secondly, it is a way to create common objectives among the people you work with. Strategic planning is also useful for brainstorming new ideas and implementing them to see if they work. If they don’t, quickly move on to a new idea until only the best ones have stuck.
Who Should Be Involved?
Approach planning in a layered format. Look to the top tier of your organization to drive the direction of the plan, including board members and the executive committee, but use staff and partners as informers. The stakeholders’ purpose is to validate the decisions made by the top tier.
When Should It Happen?
Redesign your plan every three to five years, revise every year, adjust every three months, monitor every month, and implement your plan daily. Even if goals are far-reaching, the point of this working document is to guide everyday steps!
What Should Come Out Of It?
1. Vision-A vision statement is not about how you are getting there, it is about where you want to go! When deciding what your vision is going to be, think big but think realistically; think of a world in which, if you achieved this goal, your organization would no longer need to exist! Ex: “A world in which every child attains the right to survival, protection, development and participation.” If there was a world where all children had the right to protection from everyone, there would be no organization fighting for them.
2. Mission - Your mission statement is what you will do to achieve your vision specifically. So, while your vision is broad and may never change, your mission must be specific to your organization’s abilities. It also must be timely, meaning while your organization grows, so can your mission statement’s scope, and if your organization is accomplishing goals faster or slower than anticipated, your mission statement should be adjusted.
3. Value System-A value system is what your organization will live by. Try to identify the values that are specific to your organization and avoid universal values like accountability or justice. This is because your value system should shape how your employees will approach problems that only your organization may have. Remember, you want to use this strategic plan, not just make it.
4. S.W.O.T. Analysis-S.W.O.T. stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. This is a valuable tool is assessing how and where your organization can strengthen itself in order to better achieve your mission.
Strengths: What are we comfortable with, what do we do well?
Weaknesses: What are we uncomfortable, what do we not do so well?
Opportunities: How can we use the things we do well to address and fix the things we don’t do well.
Threats: What will play on our weaknesses and break down our strengths?
Strategic Objectives- What is the action plan? This is getting further into the practical side of your strategic plan. For example, now that you have decided what your value system is going to be, what are you going to do to practically make it shared by all. What is your strategy in…
o Engaging your Stakeholders
o Mobilizing your Resources
o Developing your Knowledge
o Promoting your Value System
5. Performance Criteria – As an organization, you will have to make decisions about how you are going to go about doing things. This is what is meant by performance criteria. Your organization must decide whether you have the time and resources now to address underlying issues, take risks, and invest money instead of easing the worst effects, be predictable, or convert donations to immediate aid only. There are real tensions between these performance criteria that need to be addressed.