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The Power of Feedback: Internal & External Reviews to Improve Your Strategic Planning

Once your organization has decided 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 “Strategic Plans: An Essential to Nonprofit Success” to understand why the organization needs to plan strategically.

Internally, nonprofits and ministries should begin with a quick review of the organizational mission statement to determine if it is still relevant or if it needs to be tweaked. Further, reviewing the mission statement helps to ensure all board members are on the same page and 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 external factors, or influences which 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 over this; however, this step provides vital information that can guide the direction of the strategic plan and thus, the organization.

What are some areas that should be reviewed?

  • 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 important areas external to the organization that can influence the work of the organization and 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?

With this background information, the board of directors and key leadership will have a strong foundation as they look forward to the future of the organization over the next 3 years. Next week, we will look at the process for the board of directors.

Because this process can be time consuming, an outside consultant can help guide organizations through the strategic planning 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.

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