9 Elements of a Successful Strategic Planning Process

  • The simpler the planning process, the more likely it is to succeed.
  • There is no one right way to plan. The best planning processes are those custom-designed to fit the needs of an organization and the working styles of Board and staff.
  • The primary benefit of planning is often the process, not the product. Planning is a structured way of involving a number of people in thinking about the future, and this is often its chief value.
  • Planning is not necessarily a synonym for growth. Scaling down activities (or eliminating them) may often be an appropriate planning decision.
  • Anticipate that planning produces conflict and anxiety. No one can completely control the outcome of the planning process and this can create tensions among board and staff. The feeling is often compounded by frustration over the amount of time spent in planning.
  • The desire for consensus almost always impedes the planning process. It is important to hear everyone’s views, but it is not advantageous to incorporate every minority opinion into a plan.
  • To be successful, a planning process must have the support the staff and Board.
  • Planning should not be left solely to professional planning consultants. Staff and Board must be involved so that the decisions reached are their own.
  • Perhaps most importantly, there must be a climate of enthusiasm within the organization toward planning. Without that, a planning process has little chance of success.

For more information about how a Nonprofit Center consultant can help your organization through this critical process, call 215-951-1701 or email [email protected]