Strategic Planning. Strategic Planning

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1 4 Strategic Planning Strategic Planning 1

2 4 TABLE OF CONTENTS Strategic Planning 3... What is Strategic Planning? 3... Why do Strategic Planning? 4... Assessing Your Strategic Planning 5... Developing a Strategic Plan 5... Ways to do Strategic Planning 5... Elements of Goal-based Strategic Planning Environmental Scan SWOT Analysis Vision, Mission, Values / Guiding Beliefs Strategic Goals Strategies Action Plan Monitoring A Strategic Plan is Not a Communicating Your Strategic Plan Implementing the Strategic Plan Developing Action Plans Hiring Consultants How to Find Consultants Who Work in the Non-Profit Sector How to Recruit a Consultant Conducting Interviews Ending an Unproductive Relationship 2

3 Strategic Planning What is Strategic Planning? Strategic planning is a process where an organization or group comes together to discuss what they do, how they do it, and what resources they will need to do it. Through strategic planning, you create a strategic plan. The strategic plan: o Outlines the high-level vision, mission, guiding principles, goals, and strategies of the organization o Focuses on goals and strategies ranging from one to three years into the future o Is designed by a committee or board with senior staff o Is reviewed annually Tips for Success The key to a useful strategic plan is to ensure it is clear and concise and reflects the work and language of the organization. Why do Strategic Planning?! The purpose of a strategic plan is to help clarify your organization s plans and ensure stakeholders are on the same page. We do strategic planning because we believe organizations must change as the environment changes. The task of strategic planning is to understand how the environment is changing, and will change, and how to make decisions that allow the organization to respond to those changes. Strategic planning allows an organization to: Clarify its unique purpose and how clients and users view it Clearly understand and talk about its work Identify priority areas for action, and community partners and stakeholders Improve the way people work together Get staff and volunteers involved in the planning process Understand the external environment and how it impacts the organization Question traditional practices Have effective management Develop - a clearly stated future direction and action steps to move toward that direction - a clear blueprint for action that guides all decision making - milestones and/or performance indicators to measure progress Collect information that can be used to market the organization to the public, current and potential donors, funders, and staff 3

4 Assessing Your Strategic Planning YES NO? 1. Does your organization have a written, updated strategic plan? o o o 2. When did you last review the strategic plan? 3. How often is it reviewed and by whom? 4. Did your organization hold a meeting in the last year to o o o discuss the strategic plan or process? 5. What were the results and next steps? 6. Does your organization include outsiders in the strategic o o o planning process? 7. Who is included and how? 8. Will they be included again? o o o 9. How does your organization orient its board, staff, and o o o volunteers to the strategic planning process?! You may want to revisit this after you complete the module. 4

5 Developing a Strategic Plan The way a strategic plan is developed depends on several factors: Nature of the organization s leadership Culture of the organization Complexity of the organization s environment Size of the organization Expertise of planners Organization s budget Ways to do Strategic Planning There are two basic ways of strategic planning: goals-based and issues-based. Goals-based Most commonly used Focus is on the organization s mission, vision, and/or values Develops: - Goals to work toward the mission - Strategies to achieve the goals - Action plan detailing who does what and by when Issues-based Examines issues facing the organization Develops: - Strategies to address the issues - Action plan to implement the strategies - Not covered in this workbook Note: issues-based strategic planning is not covered in this wokbook Tips for Success Strategic planning is customizable so you can select a planning model appropriate to the size of your organization and the issues it is currently facing. Elements of Goal-based Strategic Planning 1 Environmental Scan Environmental scanning is the gathering, analysis, and use of information about events, trends, and external relationships in an organization s environment. Information gathered provides the context for the strategic plan. It includes: An explanation of the current climate in which the organization exists Relevant social issues and needs! You can usually complete an environmental scan in one or two sessions. 5

6 Describe your organization s external environment. Who are your funders? Government: Local, Provincial, Federal Tips for Success Private: The strategic planning process and the strategic plan you create are equally important. Foundations: Other: What are their reporting expectations? 6

7 What is your relationship like with other funders? The municipal government or Métis Settlement council? The provincial government? How does the political and economic environment impact your program(s)? Political: Economic: 7

8 What is the major social issue or problem your organization or community is trying to address? Organization: Community: Is there a reason, strongly supported by research, for the existence of your organization and the programs you offer and/or fund? 8

9 When was your last environmental scan? What was determined at that time? Tips for Success Involving as many stakeholders as possible in the entire strategic planning process leads to a more successful plan. 9

10 2 SWOT Analysis SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Strengths and weaknesses are internal factors, part of the organization itself. Opportunities and threats are external factors. Looking at SWOT helps you focus on the key issues. A SWOT analysis is often done with the environmental scan and can usually be completed in one session. What does your organization do well? What does your organization struggle to accomplish? What resources exist within your organization? What resources do you lack? Tips for Success The planning process is never finished; planning is a continuous cycle that is part of the management process itself. What challenges do you face? 10

11 What trends do you see in your sector? Are there changes in your environment/community that may present opportunities? When was your last SWOT analysis? Tips for Success There is no right or wrong way to develop a strategic plan. Plan in a way that fits with your organization. How was the information gathered? What was discovered at that time? 11

12 3 Vision, Mission, Values / Guiding Beliefs Vision: a long-term statement about the ideal future if the organization successfully meets its mission and goals Mission: a clear, concise statement about why the organization exists Values/guiding beliefs: the beliefs and principles guiding decision-making EXAMPLE A family violence organization might have the following: Vision: A violence-free society Mission: To build awareness and reduce the incidence of family violence in the community Values/guiding beliefs: We believe in inclusion and equality regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, or ability Does your organization have a clear, meaningful, written mission statement that reflects its fundamental purpose, values, and people served? o Yes If so, what is it? o No If not, when/how will you develop one? Does the mission statement duplicate the mission of any other organizations? o Yes o No If so, what will you do? 12

13 Are the programs you offer helping you achieve your mission? o Yes o No If not, what will you do? Is your mission statement statement widely understood, agreed upon, and communicated by staff, the board, volunteers, constituents, and community? o Yes If so, how? o No If not, how can you improve this? If you do not have mission, vision and values statements: Why does your organization exist? What does it offer that no other organization offers? What is the ideal state you want to achieve when you meet your mission and goals? What values are important to your organization? 13

14 4 Strategic Goals Goals provide direction for fundamental change The time horizon for most goals goes beyond the annual budget cycle Four or five goals are often enough for a three-year time frame EXAMPLE Ensure all community members have access to family violence education and services Does your organization have a strategic plan detailing your goals for the next three to five years? o Yes o No If so, what are the goals? If not, what goals do you want to achieve? 14

15 Have you prioritized your goals with timelines? o Yes o No If not, which goals are most important? When do you have to meet them? 15

16 5 Strategies Strategies are the specific steps you must take to meet your goals. Each step describes: What you have to do In what timeframe Who has to do it The action plan EXAMPLE Determine what groups are not accessing family violence services and why. Have strategies been developed to achieve your priority goals? o Yes o No If so, what are they? If you have not developed strategies: What do you have to do to accomplish your goals? Who will do it? When does it have to be done? 16

17 6 Action Plan Action plans identify the concrete steps you need to take to achieve the strategy, who will do each step, by when, and with what resources. Action planning is one way of implementing your strategic plan. Tips for Success You may create one action plan outlining how you will implement your strategic plan or you may create many action plans, each contributing to the strategic plan. How are you going to achieve each goal? How will your strategies be implemented? Tips for Success Don t forget to implement your plan. 17

18 Who is going to do each task? When should each task be done? 18

19 What is the role of each committee, partner, staff member, etc? Do you have an evaluation process and performance indicators so you can measure your progress toward your goals? o Yes o No If so, what are they? If not, how will you know you are making progress? 19

20 Have you allocated human and financial resources so you can ensure the goals are accomplished in a timely fashion? o Yes o No If not, what will you need? 20

21 7 Monitoring The action plan should specify who is responsible for overall implementation of the plan, as well as who is responsible for achieving each goal and implementing each strategy. Tips for Success The action plan should be updated and reported on regularly. This is an effective way to ensure the plan is being implemented in a timely manner. Who is responsible for ensuring your strategic plan is implemented? Who is responsible for achieving each goal? 21

22 Who is responsible for implementing each strategy? How will you report on the action plan? Who will update and report on the action plan? 22

23 A Strategic Plan is Not a Business Plan Program Plan Outcome Plan Used in large organizations, governments, or very large departments Formal, public, and political Often confused with a strategic plan and non-profit organizations often produce a hybrid plan Should easily fit into overarching strategic plans Also called a service plan Describes your services Outlines your deliverables States your anticipated success Provides evidence for the results of a program One example is a program logic model, a plan that logically connects all the pieces of a program A type of evaluation plan, just like process plans and feasibility plans Determines the impact of a program on the lives of clients and participants Provides a roadmap guiding the evaluation process Central elements are the program logic model, measurement tools, data collection processes, and database structure 23

24 Communicating Your Strategic Plan Once you have completed your strategic plan, it is important to communicate the information to the stakeholders. Use the following checklist to ensure all stakeholders have the opportunity to review the strategic plan before implementation. Every board member and member of management has a copy of the plan Highlights of the plan (or the entire plan) have been given to each member of your organization Your mission, vision, and value statements are posted on the walls of your main offices You have included relevant portions of your plan in your newsletter, advertising, and marketing materials Implementing the Strategic Plan Operation phase - action plans are developed to achieve goals and strategies Action Plans - describe who is doing what, when, and in what order, for the organization to reach its goals Developing Action Plans Action Plans - Specify the goals and strategies to be accomplished Describe actions needed to address priority issues and reach the goals of the organizations Specify who will complete each action and in what time frame Can be developed for each function of the organization or each program/service Hiring Consultants If your organization does not have the capacity to do strategic planning, it s a good idea to hire a consultant rather than save money and learn as you go. Strategic planning is an important activity that will result in setting a long-term direction for your organization and help you make decisions for future programming. Hiring a consultant may be money well spent! Should you hire a consultant to help with strategic planning or do it yourself? This will depend on how you answer the following questions: Do you have the management and staffing resources, skills, and experiences required for the strategic planning process? Does your board have the time to be involved in the process? 24

25 How to Find Consultants Who Work in the Non-profit Sector There are numerous sources for finding consultants: Professional associations such as the Canadian Evaluation Society and the Alberta College of Social Workers Reference centres such as the Resource Centre for Voluntary Organizations the FCSSAA Resource Bank and the Centre for Not for Profit Management Lists of consultants from funders who invite consultants to submit proposals Professors and graduate students from universities and colleges Referrals from other non-profit organizations Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Voluntary Sector Services, provides support for strategic planning, free of charge. How to Recruit a Consultant The following skills are required to recruit a consultant: Budgeting Designing a Request for Proposal (RFP) Objectively reviewing proposals to ensure they are complete and meet your needs Short listing candidates Interviewing If your organization does not have the resources and skills to recruit a consultant, you may want to call on volunteers with experience in this area or arrange for a short workshop on how to recruit consultants. When you are ready to recruit, you need to design a Request for Proposal and ask consultants to submit proposals based on the RFP. RFPs and submitted proposals should contain the following: Outline of how the consultant intends to approach the project A breakdown of the major activities and outputs that will contribute to the outcomes you want, (referred to as methodologies) The skills the consultant will bring to the project Who will report to you, how often, and in what form Timelines for the project A budget detailing the cost of completing the project, including an hourly or daily fee rate and breakdown of project expenses Consultant qualifications and experience with a resume or CV and references 25

26 Conducting Interviews Assemble a diverse interview team Interview at least two prospective consultants Ask each candidate the same questions Check references Ending an Unproductive Relationship Even though you were thorough in interviewing and hiring a consultant, things can go wrong. You may hire the wrong consultant or the consultant does not have the right skills or experience for the work you want to do. Perhaps your organization really was not ready to move forward with a strategic planning process, or management may struggle with information that is coming from the consultant. In these cases, you have a responsibility to end the relationship quickly and professionally. 26

27 Notes: 27

28 28 Notes:

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