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.
See these resources for more about strategic planning, logic models and other tools:
- How to develop a Logic Model (from Compass)
- Evaluation Toolkit (from Pell Institute)
- Theory of Change Toolkit (Annie E Casey Foundation)
- Impact evaluation guidelines (Better Evaluation)
- Evaluation expert database (EvalCommunity)
- Fundraising/Giving Trends in 2020 (Blackbaud Institute)