Strategic Planning Guide & Other Resources

On-line toolkits, how-to guides and articles abound about how to navigate strategic planning, organizational development, and other services to help your organization thrive.  Here are a few helpful resources.

Strategic Planning: A How to Guide

Strategic planning seems like a simple straight-forward task,
but can easily turn into a marathon. Based on our work
with nonprofit and foundation clients, here’s a short
Strategic Planning Guide to get help you started.

Step 1: Lay the Groundwork

  • Review past strategic plans, other key documents.
  • Determine stakeholders for a Strategic Planning Work Group (SPWG).
  • With your work group, clarify key questions: goals for strategic plan, audience, end product, work plan and timeline.

Step 2: Conduct Interviews

  • Conduct phone/video or in-person interviews with 10-20 key stakeholders.
  • Develop questions: what your organization is doing well, improvements needed, what your organization should focus on in the next 3-5 years.
  • Conduct 60 minute interviews to collect input.
  • Analyze interview responses, organize into major themes for strategic planning retreat.

Step 3: Host a Strategic Planning Retreat

  • Organize a retreat with board members, leadership, and staff. You can hold the retreat off-site (away from your office) and over 1-2 days.
  • Help participants brainstorm mission, vision, strategic plan goals and actions steps. Guided questions with answers by post-it notes is a great way to collect lots of data from many participants. Include icebreakers, interactive activities, breaks, and food, to keep participants engaged.
  • Analyze key findings in a post-retreat summary report.

Step 4: Document the Strategic Plan

  • The final strategic plan should identify your mission, vision and values, with clear goals and action steps to get there.
  • Identify specific staff or departments who’s responsible for each action.
  • Hold weekly meetings for your SPWG (over 3-6 months) to finalize mission, vision, goals, and actions, circulate draft plan for input, and finalize your strategic plan.
  • Share your final strategic plan with your Board, donors, staff and supporters, and celebrate your hard work!
  • See sample strategic plan Schonfield Consulting produced for Community Health Trust here.


Schonfield Consulting led Pajaro Valley Community Health Trust's strategic planning process.

See the finished product here.

"Anne is a pleasure to work with and guides you through the difficult strategic planning process with thoughtfulness, passion, and a great work ethic!”

DeAndre James, CEO, Pajaro Valley Community Health Trust


For a free consultation and to get started on your strategic plan, contact us here.

Other Resources

See these resources for more about strategic planning, logic models and other tools: