What’s a Strategic Plan? What Your Nonprofit Ought to Know



Nonprofits have massive targets to make our world a greater place. From selling animal welfare to creating training extra accessible, the nonprofit sector seeks to enhance our communities in quite a lot of methods. Whereas dreaming is an enormous a part of nonprofit planning, it’s much more essential to make these goals a actuality. 

With a purpose to deliver your group nearer to attaining its mission, you want a strategic plan. A strategic plan is a daring plan of motion that aligns together with your targets, making ready your group for the long run. With this overarching plan, you’ll have the ability to make robust selections rapidly, prioritize your most essential duties and focus in your targets — each within the quick and long-term. 

Whether or not you wish to make a plan for the following few months or the following few years, your strategic plan will provide help to reply massive questions alongside the best way. For example, you’ll understand how a lot cash you’ll be able to allot to your subsequent fundraising marketing campaign and the way you’ll market your group’s applications and occasions to draw donors. In flip, you’ll see advantages like elevated income and donor retention

Undecided the place to get began? Don’t fear, we’ve obtained you lined! On this article, we’ll stroll you thru the ins and outs of a nonprofit strategic plan. Then, we’ll go over three steps to make your strategic plan come to life:

  1. Assess your group’s present state.
  2. Align your targets and set up priorities. 
  3. Create a plan of motion.

Your group can maximize its effectivity with a roadmap for the long run. These steps will provide help to keep on monitor to realize your mission and develop your donor base. Let’s get began. 

Strategic Planning: Understanding the Fundamentals

To create your strategic plan, you’ll want an excellent understanding of what it truly is. In line with Aly Sterling Philanthropy, a nonprofit strategic plan is “a daring plan of motion that aligns a corporation’s targets with its values to supply a dynamic efficiency map for future endeavors.”

There are three key phases of getting your strategic plan off the bottom: assess, align and act. Within the evaluation part, you’ll dive into every part your group has executed so far. Contemplate questions like: What have we executed effectively? The place can we enhance? How can we modify our methods to maximise our probabilities of success? 

Within the align part, you’ll decide your greatest priorities in keeping with your overarching targets. Assume deeply about what you need your group to perform. Be bold, however be affordable inside the limits of your finances and employees. 

The act part is the place your strategic plan actually begins to take form. After getting an understanding of your targets and priorities, you’ll plan out the right way to put it into observe. 

Growing a strategic plan is a multi-team effort, which means you’ll wish to get everybody concerned — group members, volunteers, employees and leaders! Getting suggestions and brainstorming concepts for the long run is significantly better when you might have loads of nice minds working collectively. 

Why You Want a Strategic Plan

With out a blueprint, your nonprofit gained’t have the sense of group it must be as profitable as potential. A strategic plan has an a variety of benefits each internally on the employees and volunteer facet and externally for the group you’re impacting. These advantages embody: 

  • Improved work effectivity. Totally different groups inside your group will work extra fluidly collectively once they’re all sticking to the identical plan. Getting duties executed can even be a a lot smoother course of since you’ve clearly recognized your priorities. By working from the very best precedence activity to the bottom, you’ll discover that your group can accomplish extra in a smaller time frame. 
  • Means to make selections simply. When you’ve created a listing of your most essential duties, you’ll know when it is smart on your group to tackle new aims or concepts and when it doesn’t. Body your group’s actions round your priorities and targets so you’ll be able to keep on monitor. 
  • Alternative to revisit your mission assertion. By reflecting in your mission, you’ll be able to rework it so it’s stronger and extra related to your group’s future targets. Having a clear-cut mission assertion helps supporters discover and join together with your group, which might result in elevated donations and volunteers. 
  • Elevated donor engagement. When you’ve revamped your advertising and marketing, fundraising and communication methods within the motion step, you’ll be able to join with donors on a deeper degree and provide them extra alternatives to become involved. This may strengthen your donor relationships, resulting in long-term help. 

Contemplating these advantages, it’s price it to take the time to create a robust strategic plan. Let’s bounce into the way you’ll make this occur! 

1. Assess your group’s present state.

Your group has absolutely made nice strides, however there’s at all times room for enchancment. Raise up the hood of your group and check out all these transferring components. There’s your fundraising technique, communication technique, advertising and marketing technique, monetary well being and extra to evaluate! 

Up till now, have you ever been hitting all of your targets? For those who haven’t, contemplate which parts of your nonprofit technique might be strengthened. When you have, how will you proceed to enhance upon your foundations? What new targets are you able to set to extend your group’s degree of influence locally? 

This may increasingly look like lots to consider, however you’re not alone! Depend on your staff of employees and volunteers and/or supporters to provide you suggestions. Surveying stakeholders is usually a massive assist in getting quite a lot of completely different views on the right way to enhance your group. 

2. Align your targets and set up priorities.

Now that you simply’ve seen the place you’ll be able to enhance, it’s time to rank duties so as of precedence. For example, possibly budgeting has at all times been a problem on your group. A precedence is perhaps to bolster your fundraising technique so your campaigns can attraction to as many individuals as potential, due to this fact rising income. 

Or, possibly you’ve had a tough time sustaining donors. Prioritizing customized communications could be useful to strengthen your relationships with supporters and keep away from donor churn. 

Keep in mind to maintain your targets in thoughts and make it possible for your priorities align together with your mission. An effective way to do that is by collaborating with different employees and volunteers to debate the varied wants of your nonprofit. Use these completely different concepts to assemble a precedence record that may assist your nonprofit greatest meet its targets. 

3. Create a plan of motion. 

With all these nice concepts floating round on the right way to strengthen your nonprofit, you’re able to make a plan of motion. You’ll have to implement the next methods so you’ll be able to create an efficient mannequin for achievement: 

  • Advertising technique. Feathr discovered that growing a advertising and marketing technique will assist your group develop to its full potential and convey in additional income. Your advertising and marketing technique ought to be tailor-made to the viewers you’re concentrating on. For instance, in case your nonprofit is all about uplifting teenagers to be their most genuine selves, it will be a good suggestion to construct your social media presence. One other essential advertising and marketing platform your nonprofit wants is an accessible and interesting web site to draw donors from everywhere in the world. Be artistic and assume outdoors of the field with thrilling internet content material like movies and graphics. 
  • Communication technique. Speaking usually together with your supporters is a vital a part of strengthening donor relationships. Make sure you let supporters find out about upcoming occasions, volunteer alternatives and different highlights of your group to allow them to keep in-the-know. You should utilize quite a lot of communication channels to share this info, resembling textual content, e-mail or in your web site. You’ll additionally wish to present your gratitude to donors by sending customized thank-you notes or giving them a name. 
  • Fundraising technique. A productive fundraising technique requires participating fundraising concepts! To plan these thrilling fundraisers, your nonprofit may have to cowl bills like meals, renting a venue, and many others. That is the place making a strategic nonprofit finances turns into essential. By fastidiously figuring out how a lot funding you’ll be able to contribute in direction of fundraising occasions, you’ll be able to deliver your concepts to life with out breaking the financial institution. You also needs to contemplate the timeframe of your fundraisers, how usually you wish to maintain them every year and the way you’ll market them to achieve success. An effective way to strengthen your fundraising technique is by making a nonprofit fundraising calendar. With this calendar, you’ll be able to develop a correct timeline for every step of your fundraiser. 

For those who’re on the lookout for extra help when planning your nonprofit’s subsequent fundraiser, a fundraising marketing campaign marketing consultant may help you establish gaps in your technique and maximize your fundraiser’s success.

Preparation is vital to creating certain your nonprofit group can attain its targets. By growing a strategic plan, your nonprofit will likely be in higher form than ever to deal with obstacles and meet its mission. Good luck! 

In regards to the Writer

Aly Sterling, President & Founder, Aly Sterling Philanthropy

Lengthy earlier than Aly Sterling based her eponymous consulting agency, she was fixing the distinctive but comparable issues encountered by nonprofit organizations. Her resolution to begin her personal enterprise in 2007 was pushed by her perception in management as the one most essential consider organizational success, and her dedication to work with a number of causes at one time to scale societal change.

Aly’s experience consists of fundraising, strategic planning, search session and board management improvement for the well-positioned nonprofit. She is usually looked for remark by commerce and mainstream media, together with the Chronicle of Philanthropy and U.S. Information & World Report. She has contributed to publications of BoardSource and The Governance Institute, in addition to the Toledo Chamber of Commerce and The Giving Institute.




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