Like many other nonprofits, your organisation is probably in a constant state of change. There are a wide range of internal and external factors that influence your organisation’s budget, workforce, services and priorities. A strategically governed organisation is one which understands and manages these factors to enable the organisation to stay healthy and effective well into the future.

A critical success factor during the planning process is for your organisation to be visionary and creative as you respond to the current or future changes in your sector and community. You need to strategically position your organisation and determine the goals and strategies that are going to help management make good choices and decisions during times of change.

It is also critical that you determine the values underpinning how your organisation operates and makes decisions. Do not make this just another bullet point list of flashy words which are not worth the paper they are written on. They must be the explicit values that will help your governing board, staff and volunteers make purposeful and difficult choices when applying for funding, managing the workforce and providing services. If each person lives these values day to day, they will become part of your organisational culture and help you achieve your strategic goals.

  • Strategic planning is a way of thinking, acting and doing
  • It usually takes a comprehensive view of the big picture but it also leads to specific, targeted actions
  • It is often visionary and usually proactive rather than reactive
  • It is flexible and practical
  • It is a guide for decision making and resource allocation

(Bryson and Alston, 2005)

Features of good planning

The key elements of good strategic planning include:

  • participation from members of the organisation;
  • an approach which sets future direction for your organisation;
  • a focus on establishing a vision and clear goals/aims and objectives;
  • clearly defined values which drive the organisation’s work and services;
  • access to a wide range of information, both qualitative and quantitative;
  • consideration of legal requirements and contractual agreements; and
  • formulation of a written plan which allows for regularly monitoring and evaluating progress.
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