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Nonprofit Education

What is Nonprofit Strategic Planning?

All organizations need to spend time focusing on nonprofit strategic planning. Strategic planning for nonprofit organizations helps guide an organization and keep the organization focused on what the core purpose and beliefs of the of the organization.

Strategic planning is an organization’s process of defining its strategy, or direction, and making decisions on allocating its resources to pursue this strategy, including its capital and people. Various business analysis techniques can be used in strategic planning, including SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats), PEST analysis (Political, Economic, Social, and Technological), STEER analysis (Socio-cultural, Technological, Economic, Ecological, and Regulatory factors), and EPISTEL (Environment, Political, Informatic, Social, Technological, Economic and Legal).

Nonprofit Strategic Planning is the formal consideration of an organization’s future course. All strategic planning deals with at least one of three key questions:

  • “What do we do?”
  • “For whom do we do it?”
  • “How do we excel?”

In strategic planning for nonprofit organizations, the third question is better phrased “How can we beat or avoid competition?” (Bradford and Duncan, page 1).

In many organizations, this is viewed as a process for determining where an organization is going over the next year or more -typically 3 to 5 years, although some extend their vision to 20 years.

In order to determine where it is going, the organization needs to know exactly where it stands, then determine where it wants to go and how it will get there. The resulting document is called the “strategic plan.”

It is also true that strategic planning may be a tool for effectively plotting the direction of a company; however, strategic planning itself cannot foretell exactly how the market will evolve and what issues will surface in the coming days in order to plan your organizational strategy. Therefore, strategic innovation and tinkering with the ‘strategic plan’ have to be a cornerstone strategy for an organization to survive the turbulent business climate.

Nonprofit Strategic Planning Outline:

The preparatory phase of a business plan relies on planning. The first chapters of a business plan include Analysis of the Current Situation and Marketing Plan Strategy and Objectives.

Analysis of the current situation – past year

  • Business trends analysis
  • Market analysis
  • Competitive analysis
  • Market segmentation
  • Marketing-mix
  • SWOT analysis
  • Positioning – analyzing perceptions
  • Sources of information

Marketing plan strategy & objectives – next year

  • Marketing strategy
  • Desired market segmentation
  • Desired marketing-mix
  • TOWS-based objectives as a result of the SWOT
  • Position & perceptual gaps
  • Yearly sales forecast

By following these steps and setting specific goals and objectives your strategic plan will help your organization focus on your core purpose, current objectives and future objectives. By having one concise document outlining all of these important facets of your organization you will be able to ensure that your organization does not drift off track your purpose and goals. So if your organization has not yet thought about nonprofit strategic planning follow the steps and outline to help you ensure your organization’s success.

If you think your organization might benefit from having a strategic plan but still have questions schedule your Free Consultation with one of our Nonprofit Experts today.