Strategic and Financial Planning
Without a solid strategic plan to guide future decisions, direct staff in the right direction, and help the board and staff assess accomplishments, the organization functions without a rudder and easily makes snap decisions that serve the moment but do not necessarily take the organization where it is heading. The board and chief executive need to work together to draft a plan that functions as the road map in the future. The steps in the traditional strategic planning process include:
- Define or review the mission and vision of the organization
- Carry out SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis to assess your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats
- Define your goals and objectives
- Write the plan
- Draft operational plans
- Monitor progress
The strategic plan serves as the road map for your operational plan. It should help you determine what the applicable services are that allow you to fill your mission in the most effective manner. You may need to be less ambitious in the beginning and not try to do everything for everybody. Define your core programs, justify expenses and, ensure that you have funding or adequate revenue to sustain the activity and cover your administrative costs.
Draft a business plan. Even nonprofits need a business plan. In fact, your business plan should be part of your initial planning process. It must make the financial case for moving ahead. If you cannot justify the need for your organization, rely on continual revenue, and keep expenses under control, you will not have a viable organization. The elements of a business plan are
- Executive summary: a one-to-two page plan overview that answers the questions of who, what, where, why, and how.
- Organization description: information on the past, present, and future activities of the nonprofit and how each is in line with the mission.
- Market analysis: Discussion of the outside competition, your pricing structure, and your marketing plan to attracting clients and customers.
- Financials: Detailed, multi-year analysis of revenues, expenses, and projected cash flows.
- Operations plan: Detailed outline of the daily activities, staffing, and general procedures.
- Appendices: Additional or back-up documents - Resumes of key staff, an organizational chart, market research results, a list of funding sources.
- SWOT analysis http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SWOT_analysis
- Driving Strategic Planning http://www.boardsource.org/Bookstore.asp?category_id=0&Item=133
- Strategic Planning for Nonprofit Organizations http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-0471445819.html