Once your organization has decided that it needs to undergo a strategic planning process, the next step is to begin looking closely at the organization. Are you trying to figure out whether or not you need to conduct a strategic plan, take a look back at “Why a Strategic Plan” to understand why.
It often helps to quickly review the organizational mission statement to determine if it needs to be tweaked or if it is still relevant. Further, reviewing the mission statement helps to ensure that all board members are on the same page, that the mission means the same thing to everyone. Since all programs and services should align with the mission statement, and the strategic plan will point back to the mission, it is important that it be accurate.
Next, the organization will want to review environmental factors that can’t be controlled by the nonprofit or ministry. This part of the planning process may be done prior to bringing the group together. Many organizations make the mistake of skipping this step; however, this step provides vital information that can guide the direction of the strategic plan and thus, the organization.
What do we look at?
Some areas the organization will want to review include:
- Community economic trends
- Community demographic trends (the big question is, “are things changing?”)
- Have any laws recently been passed that affect the work of the organization?
- Are there are other organizations performing the same services or similar services?
Additionally, there are some other areas that are external to the organization but can be influenced by the organization that should be reviewed. These include:
- What are the giving trends?
- What is the community’s impression of the organization?
- What is the impression of the organization’s volunteers?
After gathering this information, the organization can begin to look at opportunities that exist for them. Are there new emerging needs in the community? Are the demographics changing creating a demand for a service for a new population?
This information forms the base of background information for the board of directors and key leadership as they look forward to where the organization will be in the next 3 years. Next week, we will look at the process for the board of directors.
Because this process can be time consuming, it is often helpful to have an outside consultant work with the organization to guide them through the process. The Faith Based Nonprofit Resource Center is available to help nonprofits and ministries plan for their future. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.