Congratulations! You have successfully formed your nonprofit organization and have received your 501c3 tax exemption. This is when your organization gets to start operating and spreading its mission to as many individuals as possible. However, it may be in your organization’s best interested to take some time to plan for the future prior to fully jumping into operations. Taking a few weeks to plan for the nonprofit’s future will ensure that your organization will meet its objectives in the most efficient and effective manner possible. You may be wondering what the best way to plan for your organization is. This is where developing a strategic plan will be greatly beneficial to your activities.
A strategic plan is essential a plan to your organization’s success. It is often considered a road map for how your organization will meet its goals and assess the progress that you have made. It is essential that all of your representatives are involved in the entire process of creating your strategic plan to ensure that everyone is like minded and agrees upon the goals that are set in place.
The Components of a Strategic Plan
Some vital components of the strategic plan include the following:
Your Core Values, mission, and Values. This is the area of the strategic plan for your board of directors to determine and put in writing what your organization believes and how it will positively impact its targeted demographic. This will ensure that all your activities are in line with your values and furthering your specific mission. Take the time to determine how your organization will uniquely operate compared to other nonprofit organizations that are serving similar populations. How will your organization meet the needs in a way that is currently being unmet? How are your services providing support to the underserviced in a more efficient manner than what is already available to them? The idea is to provide direction to all of your programming activities in a clear and concise manner to all that are involved within your organization.
The Who’s and What’s
Assessing Your Environment. This is the section of the plan that provides an overview of your community, your targeted demographic, and their needs. Your team of directors and strategic plan writer will need to spend some time researching the environment that you are serving and detailing a written explanation of the your findings. Some of the questions to be addressed may include, but are not limited to the following: Who is your target demographic? Who are the current organizations that we can partner with? What organizations are providing similar services? What is the current state of our donors? Who are our donors? What trends are occurring within our field? What are the threats effecting our programs?
A large section of assessing your environment is looking internally into your organization. What are your organization strengths? What have we accomplished and who do we have involved within our team? What are our weaknesses? What are the road blocks that are preventing us from future success?
When your organization has a clear understanding of its mission, the neighborhoods it is serving, and the current abilities of its organization, it can begin to formulate a step by step plan for success. Being truthful about your current abilities will allow your directors to make improvement to the organization’s structure so it can meet its goals in a realistic timeframe.
Setting Goals and Objectives
The next step within the strategic plan creation is to establish a detailed action plan for the organization. This is where your board of directors will set short term goals (within the next fiscal year), mid range goals (1 to 3 years) and long term goals (five year or farther out). These goals should have assigned deadlines and tasks should be assigned to directors and volunteers for personal responsibility.
Within your goals, make sure to set objectives for all aspects of your organization. This not only includes program goals, but setting concise objectives for fundraising and administrative responsibilities. Paying attention to funding sources and administrative tasks will ensure that your program goals can be met.
The last section to prepare is evaluation component. This is the opportunity to determine whether your activities are reaching the desired results you have set or if you need to make modifications to reach the goals that have established. Your board members should be meeting regularly to determine if assigned tasks are being completed and how you can improve all activities in the future.
It is important to consult with your strategic plan through the month and at your board meetings. If you spend the time and resources to complete the plan but do not follow through, it is not going to assist your nonprofit in being successful. Continue to refer back to the plan and make adjustments as your organization grows.
If you are ready to get started with your strategic plan for your nonprofit organization, please contact CharityNet USA at 407-857-9002 today!