11 Steps for Prepare for Strategic Planning

To be successful, which means being able to effectively serve our clients, we need a roadmap.  It is the strategic plan that helps provide direction and focus so that we can fulfill our missions. With specific results to be achieved and a course of action defined for achieving them, a strategic plan also helps ensure that board and staff are clear about and united in these common goals.

While the strategic plan is unique to every organization, there are some common issues that need to be discussed or resolved to set the proper conditions before a strategic planning process should take place. Special thanks to Jason Alexander, principal at Capacity for Change, LLC and strategic planning consultant for The Nonprofit Center, who has led hundreds of successful strategic planning processes for nonprofits, who assembled this checklist based on his broad experience.

  • Assure there is board–staff confidence in each other’s abilities
  • Deal with overwhelming financial crises/challenges
  • Deal with deep-seated tensions/divisive issue
  • Board and staff are open to considering organizational change
  • Organizational ability to commit resources to planning exists
  • Strategic planning committee members and leadership are in place
  • Time and resources can be committed for board/staff interviews, one or two retreats, two to five planning committee meetings
  • Time and resources exist for board/staff to collect additional data or conduct market research, if needed
  • Someone is able to write the planning document
  • Someone is able to monitor and revise the planning document
  • Finding and securing funding for an outside facilitator or planning consultant is possible, if needed
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