Framework for a Basic Strategic Plan Document for a Nonprofit

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    Framework for a Basic Strategic Plan Document for a Nonprofit

    © Copyright Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD, Authenticity Consulting,
    LLC
    .

    Directions

    The following framework will guide you through completion of your basic strategic
    plan document. (There are many models for strategic planning — this framework
    is for conducting a goals-based plan.) Each section includes directions. Many
    sections include examples, as well. In addition, sections includes links to
    related, additional information to help the reader fill out that section of
    the framework.

    NOTE: The framework depicts a useful format, but should be duplicated into
    an editable version, for example, into Microsoft Word.

    Readers are encouraged to work with a planning team in their
    organization to fill in this framework. After completing this
    framework, readers can move information from the framework to
    a more suitable document to be the final version of the strategic
    plan document, if desired.

    (Note that there are a wide variety of perspectives and approaches
    regarding strategic planning. The library topic Strategic
    Planning
    provides overviews of many of these perspectives
    and approaches.)

    Also consider
    Related Library Topics


    [NAME OF YOUR ORGANIZATION!!]

    STRATEGIC PLAN

    for the period

    [insert dates!!]

    [insert date that plan was authorized by board by
    directors (in the case of a corporation)!!]


    TABLE OF CONTENTS

    Executive Summary

    Board Authorization of Strategic Plan [in the
    case of a corporation!!]

    Organizational Description

    Mission, Vision and Values

    Goals and Strategies

    Appendices
    A – Action Planning (objectives, responsibilities and time lines)
    B – Description of Strategic Planning Process Used
    C – Strategic Analysis Data (External Analysis, Internal Analysis
    & List of Issues)
    D – Goals for Board Committees and Chief Executive Officer
    E – Staffing Plans
    F – Operating Budgets
    G- Financial Reports (Budgets, Statements, etc.)
    H – Monitoring and Evaluation of Plan (Criteria, Responsibilities
    and Findings)
    I – Communicating the Plan


    Executive Summary

    (Complete this section after you have finished the other sections of the
    plan document. The Executive Summary describes plan highlights to bankers/funders,
    board members, employees and other stakeholders. The Executive Summary should
    be one to two pages in length at most. It should include very concise descriptions
    of the most important information from the strategic planning process and its
    results. For example, include very brief descriptions of what’s in this document
    and how to use the document, strategic issues and goals, when the plan will
    be implemented, how the implementation will be monitored and by whom, and any
    specific actions required by upper management.)


    Board Authorization of Strategic Plan [in the
    case of a corporation!!]

    (Authorization designates board member’s approval
    of the strategic direction and action plans described in this
    strategic plan document.)

    Name of Board Member: ___________
    Date Signed: _________

    Name of Board Member: ____________
    Date Signed: _________

    Name of Board Member: ____________
    Date Signed: _________

    (etc.)


    Organizational Description

    This section should include information that will be informative,
    particularly to readers from outside of the organization.

    • Brief overview of history of organization
    • Description of major products and services
    • Overview of major accomplishments and other highlights
      during history of organization


    Mission Statement

    The mission statement is a concise description of the purpose
    of the organization. It answers the question: Why does our organization
    exist? When answering this question, include the nature of your
    products and services, and the various groups of customers that
    buy the products and services. The mission statement should provide
    continued direction and focus to your plans and operations. Post
    your mission statement throughout your organization, on all stationery,
    in your plan documents, etc. (For additional assistance, see Writing
    Mission Statements
    .

    Your Mission Statement: ____

    Vision Statement

    The vision statement is an inspirational, compelling answer
    to the question: What do you hope for your organization and customers?
    Ideally, it should be written in a compelling, inspirational fashion.
    Post your vision statement throughout your organization. (For
    additional assistance, see Writing
    Vision Statements
    .)

    Your Vision Statement: ____

    Values Statement

    The values statement depicts the priorities in how the organization
    carries out activities with stakeholders. The board and chief
    executive should regularly reference the values statement to provide
    guidance to the nature of how the organization should operate.
    (For additional assistance, see Writing
    Values Statements
    .)

    Your Values Statement: ___


    Goals and Strategies

    Goals are identified from having
    taken a wide look around the outside of the organization (an external
    analysis) and careful look inside the nonprofit (an internal analysis),
    and then identifying what are the most important issues to address.
    Appendix C includes information to organize this analysis. Your
    Goals Should Be “SMARTER”
    When you design and word your goals, be sure they are “SMARTER”,
    that is, specific, measurable, acceptable to the people working
    to achieve the goals, realistic, timely, extending the capabilities
    of those working to achieve the goals and rewarding to them. Don’t
    worry so much about having to specify goals to be exactly “correct”.
    Your goals are likely to be modified somewhat as you give more
    attention later on to product design.

    You Will Likely Have Organization-Wide and Product/Service-Specific
    Goals

    You will probably have organization-wide
    goals, for example, goals in regard to building and running your
    organization, for example, board development, staffing, getting
    a new building, etc. You also will probably have goals that directly
    in regard to building, producing and selling products or services
    to your customers.

    Write Down Goals to Address Issues

    Below, write down the strategic goals that
    must be achieved in order to address the issues listed in Appendix
    C. Think about what must be achieved in order to address the issues.
    Consider goals over the term of your strategic plan, but look
    very closely at the next year especially. (For additional assistance,
    see Strategizing.)

    Write Down Forward-Looking Goals

    Next, write down more forward-looking goals.
    If you are developing a new organization, then you’ll probably
    have goals to build a board, do a strategic plan, do a market
    analysis to build a program, get volunteers, hire staff, etc.
    Consider goals over the term of your strategic plan, but look
    very closely at the next year especially. (For additional assistance,
    see Strategizing.)

    Next, Associate Strategies with Each Goal

    Next , under each goal, write down the major
    approaches (or strategies) that must be used to achieve each goal.
    Consider strategies over the term of the strategic plan, but especially
    over the next year. (For additional assistance, see Strategizing.)

    Now Consider: Are the Goals and Strategies Closely Aligned
    with Organization’s Mission, Vision and Values?

    Does each goal and its associated strategies
    really contribute toward the mission and vision of the organization.
    Will the goals be reached by using strategies that are closely
    aligned with the values of the organization? If not, then very
    closely reconsider whether you want to pursue those goals and
    associated strategies.


    Goals and Strategies (Cont.)

    (Make copies of this page as needed.)

    Your Goals and Strategies
    Goal # 1 (Write them to be “SMARTER”)

    Strategy # 1.1

    Strategy # 1.2

    Goal # 2

    Strategy # 2.1

    Strategy # 2.2

    (etc.)


    Appendix A — Action Planning (objectives, responsibilities
    and timelines)

    In the section labeled “Your Action
    Plans” below, write down action plans, especially for the
    next year. Action plans specify how the strategic goals and strategies
    will be carried out. Action plans often include various objectives
    to be reached while achieving each goal, who is responsible for
    achieving each objective and by when. Write objectives to be “SMARTER”.
    (For additional assistance, see Action
    Planning
    .)

    (Make copies of this page as needed.)

    Goal # 1 (Write them to be “SMARTER”)

    Strategy # 1.1

    Objectives
    for Strategy
    1. 1

    Date of Completion

    Respon-
    sibility

    Status
    and Date

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    (etc.)


    Appendix B – Description of Strategic Planning Process Used

    This appendix might include, for example,

    • description of how the strategic plan
      document was developed
    • who was involved in the planning
    • any major problems and lessons learned
      during the planning process
    • etc.


    Appendix C – Strategic Analysis Data — External Analysis

    An external analysis looks at societal,
    technological, political, and economic trends effecting the organization,
    e.g., recent or pending legislation, demographic trends, rate
    of access to trained labor, and competition. In your external
    analysis, don’t forget to look at stakeholders’ impressions
    of the organization, including bankers’/funders’, customers’,
    community leaders’, etc. (For additional assistance, see
    Taking
    a Wide Look Around the Outside of the Organization
    .)

    From out external analysis, we identified the
    following trends and how they might effect our organization:

    Political trends:

    Economic trends:

    Societal trends:

    Technological trends:

    Other trends:


    Appendix C – Strategic Analysis Data — Internal Analysis

    Write down the major strengths and weaknesses
    of your organization. Consider the quality of operations of the
    Board, products, staffing, finances, facilities, marketing, etc.
    (For additional assistance, see Looking
    at Organization’s Strength’s, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats
    (SWOT)
    .)

    From out internal analysis (our SWOT analysis),
    we identified the following factors:

    Strengths of the organization:

    Weaknesses of the organization:


    Appendix C – Strategic Analysis Data — Listing of Strategic
    Issues

    New businesses, in particular, are often
    better off to first look at the major obstacles or issues that
    if faces, and next identify the more forward-looking, developmental
    goals to accomplish over the next few years. For example, current
    issues might be that sales are flat, there is high employee turnover,
    etc. Developmental goals for a new organization might be, for
    example, build a board, do a strategic plan, do a market analysis
    to build a product, hire staff, etc.

    To identify the key issues identified from
    your strategic analyses, consider the following guidelines:
    a) From considering the effects of weaknesses and threats that
    you identified, what are the major issues that you see? List as
    many as you can. Consider issues over the term of your strategic
    plan, but look very closely at the next year especially. Many
    organizations have stumbled badly because they ended up “falling
    over their feet” while being focused much too far down the
    road.
    b) Consider each of the issues. Ask whether it’s “important”
    or “urgent.” Often, issues seem very important when
    they’re only urgent, for example, changing a flat tire is an urgent
    issue — but you’d never put “changing a tire” in your
    strategic plan. Attend only to the important issues and not the
    urgent issues.
    c) Deal with issues that you can do something about. Issues that
    are too narrow do not warrant planning and issues that are too
    broad will bog you down.
    d) Issues should be clearly articulated so that someone from outside
    of the organization can read the description and understand the
    nature of the issue.
    (The following link may be useful at this point when identifying
    issues: Life
    Cycles of Organizations.
    )

    Key issues that our organization must address
    through use of this strategic plan include:

    1. ________________________

    2. ________________________

    3. ________________________

    4. ________________________

    (etc.)


    Appendix
    D -Goals for Board Committees and Chief Executive Officer

    Organize Appropriate Board Committees
    [in the case of corporations!!]

    Board committees should be developed
    that associate with each of the major areas of strategic goals.
    For example, if a strategic goal is to build and develop the board,
    then consider a Board Development Committee. (Of course, you will
    have other types of board committees to address ongoing major
    activities that are not directly associated with types of strategic
    goals, for example, an executive committee.)

    Build Board Work Plans

    One of the best ways to ensure that board
    committees are fully participative and effective is through use
    of work plans for each board committee. With the board members,
    design work plans for each committees. Write goals and/or objectives
    to be “SMARTER”. A work plan is the plan that each board
    committee references to guide completion of their contribute to
    the organization’s strategic plan. For example:

    Work Plans for Your Board Committees
    (Make copies of this page as required.)

    Board Committee _______

    Committee Chair _______

    Goal # 1(Write them to be “SMARTER”)

    Strategy 1. 1

    Objectives
    for Strategy
    1. 1

    Date of Completion

    Respon-
    sibility

    Status
    and Date

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    (etc.)


    Goals for the Chief Executive

    The board [in the case of corporations!!]
    is responsible to provide ongoing governance and direction the
    organization. Usually, the board decides to carry out their responsibilities
    by including the role of a chief executive in the organization.
    The board is responsible to oversee the performance of the chief
    executive and evaluate the performance of the chief executive
    on a regular basis.

    The chief executive should be attending
    to responsibilities and goals that are directly aligned with the
    strategic goals of the organization (as should the responsibilities
    and goals of everyone else in the organization). Therefore, after
    strategic goals have been identified, it’s timely for the board
    to update the performance goals of the chief executive (who, in
    turn, updates the performance goals of everyone else in the management
    and employees in the organization). (For additional information,
    see Performance
    Management
    , Board
    of Director’s Evaluation of Chief Executive
    and Employee
    Performance Management
    .)

    Goals may need to be reworded to be more
    specific to the authority and resources of the chief executive
    role.

    Goals should be designed and worded to be
    “SMARTER”, that is, specific, measurable, acceptable
    to the chief executive, realistic, timely, extending the capabilities
    of the chief executive and rewarding for him or her to accomplish.

    Your Goals for Your Chief Executive

    (Write goals to be “SMARTER”.)

    1. _________________________

    2. _________________________

    3. _________________________

    4. _________________________

    (etc.)


    Appendix E – Staffing Plans

    Reference each of the strategies to reach
    the goals and consider what kind of capabilities are needed to
    implement the strategies. This might seem like a lot of guesswork,
    particularly if you don’t have experience in supervision. However,
    don’t worry so much about being exactly correct — you will likely
    refine your staffing plan later on as you design and plan your
    products in the development process. If you are developing a new
    organization, you might think about including the following typical
    roles in your initial staffing plan (but again, consider these
    roles in terms of implementing the strategies in your plan): chief
    executive, administrative assistant and product managers for each
    of your major products. However, it’s common that the chief executive
    is also a product manager or the first year or so. You may end
    up refining the staffing plan as you complete action planning,
    along with identifying who will accomplish each of your objectives.
    (The following link may help you when developing your staffing
    plan. See Organizing
    Staff
    .)

    Note that in the following table, staffing
    is specified in terms of full-time equivalents (FTEs). One FTE
    is equal to one full-time staff position throughout the year.
    If staff will start half-way through a year, than include .5FTE,
    etc.

    Staff Position

    Year
    1

    Year
    2

    Year
    3

    Central Administration, General Operating Activities:
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    Staff for Products [insert name!!]: (have a
    section for each product)
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    Appendix F – Operating Budgets

    In the table labeled “Your Budget Planning”
    included below, list the resources you will need to achieve the
    goals in the strategic plan and the costs to get and use the resources
    — especially over the next year. You don’t have to be exactly
    accurate — besides, you may end up changing your budget as you
    give more attention to product design and planning. You should
    do a budget for each of the years included in the span of time
    covered by your strategic plan — but give particular attention
    to the first year of the time span.

    Look at each of your products. Think about
    how much revenue the product might generate. Next, think about
    the expenses to run the program, such as human resources, facilities,
    equipment, special materials, marketing and promotions, etc.

    Now think about what resources will be needed
    for central administration. Will you need a chief executive officer,
    assistants, etc?

    (For additional information, see The Right Way to Prepare a Budget)

    Example Operating Budgets

    The following multi-year budget is an example
    to help you think about the types of resources you may need to
    achieve the goals in our plan and to help you think about how
    you’ll develop your operating budgets.

    Note that the following budget includes
    40% “fringe” — this is the extra amount budgeted to
    cover benefits, for example, medical insurance, social security
    taxes, retirement contributions, etc. You should find estimates
    of the current fringe rate for salaries — or, you can budget
    specific amounts for each of the specific benefits.

    Also note that the following is a rather
    simple budget format and should be modified to suit the needs
    and nature of your organization.

    REVENUE:

    Year 1

    Year 2

    Year 3

    Product A Sales
    Product B Sales
    Earned Income

    TOTAL

    REVENUE


    EXPENSES
    Central Administration — Personnel:
    Chief executive officer (include yearly salary + 40%
    for benefits, etc.)
    Administrative assistant (include yearly salary + 40%
    for benefits, etc.)
    Travel
    Staff development
    Total Central Administration — Personnel Costs:
    Central Administration — Facilities:
    Rental of office space (central offices and 4 classrooms)
    Office furniture
    Utilities (electricity, water, heat)
    Telephone (local & long-distance)
    Maintenance and janitorial
    Total Central Administration Facilities Costs:
    Central Administration — Equipment:
    Copier leasing
    Computer, printers, networking
    Training equipment, projectors, etc.
    Vans (4 for student transportation)
    Total Central Administration Equipment Costs:
    Central Administration — Marketing
    and Promotions:
    Media plan (brochures, newspaper ads, etc.)
    Yearly meeting
    Annual report
    Build and maintain mailing list
    Web page development and maintenance
    Total Central Admin. Marketing & Promotions Costs:
    Other Expenses:
    General office supplies
    Liability insurance
    Subscriptions, books, etc.
    Total Central Admin. Other Expenses/Costs:
    Product A (a training package)
    — Personnel:
    Program manager (include yearly salary + 40% for benefits,
    etc.)
    Consultant: curriculum design (3 months full-time; 9
    months 2 hours per day)
    Consultants: teachers (4 full time and 4 half time)
    Consultants: psychologist/counselor (1 full time)
    Misc.
    Total Product A Personnel Costs:
    Product B — Materials:
    GED testing packets (600)
    Grading services from Dept of Human Services (600 students)
    600 self-study guides
    Support group facilitator guides
    Total Product A Materials Costs:

    TOTAL EXPENSES

    TOTAL SURPLUS
    (OR DEFICIT)
    (= revenue minus expenses)

    Your Budget Planning

    The following table may need to be modified
    to suit the needs and nature of your organization. (See the advice
    and materials suggested in the previous section.)

    REVENUE:

    Year 1

    Year 2

    Year 3

    Product A Sales
    Product B Sales
    Earned Income

    TOTAL

    REVENUE


    EXPENSES
    Central Administration — Personnel:
    Chief executive officer (include yearly salary + 40%
    for benefits, etc.)
    Administrative assistant (include yearly salary + 40%
    for benefits, etc.)
    Travel
    Staff development
    Total Central Administration — Personnel Costs:
    Central Administration — Facilities:
    Rental of office space (central offices and 4 classrooms)
    Office furniture
    Utilities (electricity, water, heat)
    Telephone (local & long-distance)
    Maintenance and janitorial
    Total Central Administration Facilities Costs:
    Central Administration — Equipment:
    Copier leasing
    Computer, printers, networking
    Training equipment, projectors, etc.
    Vans (4 for student transportation)
    Total Central Administration Equipment Costs:
    Central Administration — Marketing
    and Promotions:
    Media plan (brochures, newspaper ads, etc.)
    Yearly meeting
    Annual report
    Build and maintain mailing list
    Web page development and maintenance
    Total Central Admin. Marketing & Promotions Costs:
    Other Expenses:
    General office supplies
    Liability insurance
    Subscriptions, books, etc.
    Total Central Admin. Other Expenses/Costs:
    Product A (a training package)
    — Personnel:
    Program manager (include yearly salary + 40% for benefits,
    etc.)
    Consultant: curriculum design (3 months full-time; 9
    months 2 hours per day)
    Consultants: teachers (4 full time and 4 half time)
    Consultants: psychologist/counselor (1 full time)
    Misc.
    Total Product A Personnel Costs:
    Product B — Materials:
    GED testing packets (600)
    Grading services from Dept of Human Services (600 students)
    600 self-study guides
    Support group facilitator guides
    Total Product A Materials Costs:

    TOTAL EXPENSES

    TOTAL SURPLUS
    (OR DEFICIT)
    (= revenue minus expenses)

     


    Appendix G – Monitoring and Evaluation of Plan

    Responsibilities and Frequencies for
    Monitoring and Evaluation

    Plan’s section, goals,
    etc.

    Completion
    date

    Respon-
    sibility

    Written
    description
    of results to:

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    Key Questions While Monitoring Implementation of the Plan

    (The following questions should be modified
    to suit the nature and needs of the organization.)

    Monitoring and evaluation activities will consider
    the following questions:

    1. Are goals and objectives being achieved
    or not? If they are, then acknowledge, reward and communicate
    the progress. If not, then consider the following questions.

    2. Will the goals be achieved according to
    the timelines specified in the plan? If not, then why?

    3. Should the deadlines for completion be changed
    (be careful about making these changes — know why efforts are
    behind schedule before times are changed)?

    4. Do personnel have adequate resources (money,
    equipment, facilities, training, etc.) to achieve the goals?

    5. Are the goals and objectives still realistic?

    6. Should priorities be changed to put more
    focus on achieving the goals?

    7. Should the goals be changed (be careful
    about making these changes — know why efforts are not achieving
    the goals before changing the goals)?

    8. What can be learned from our monitoring
    and evaluation in order to improve future planning activities
    and also to improve future monitoring and evaluation efforts?

    Additional questions:


    Reporting Status of Implementation

    Results of monitoring and evaluation will be
    in writing, and will include:

    1. Answers to the “Key Questions While
    Monitoring Implementation of the Plan”

    2. Trends regarding the progress (or lack thereof)
    toward goals, including which goals and objectives

    3. Recommendations about the status

    4. Any actions needed by management

    Procedure for Changing the Plan

    Regarding any changes to the plan, write down
    answers to the questions:

    1. What is causing changes to be made?

    2. Why the changes should be made (the “why”
    is often different than “what is causing” the changes).

    3. What specific changes should be made, including
    to goals, objectives, responsibilities and timelines?

    Reminders:
    Manage the various versions of the plan (including by putting
    a new date on each new version of the plan).

    Always keep old copies of the plan.


    Appendix H – Communicating the Plan

    Note that certain groups of stakeholders
    might get complete copies of the plan, including appendices, while
    other groups (usually outside of the organization) might receive
    only the body of the plan without its appendices.

    Consider:
    1. Every board member and member of management should get a copy
    of the plan.
    2. Consider distributing all (or highlights from) the plan to
    everyone in the organization. It’s amazing how even the newest
    staff member gains quick context, appreciation, and meaning from
    review of the strategic plan.
    3. Post your mission and vision and values statements on the walls
    of your main offices. Consider giving each employee a card with
    the statements (or highlights from them) on the card.
    4. Publish portions of your plan in your regular newsletter, and
    advertising and marketing materials (brochures, ads, etc.).
    5. Train board members and employees on portions of the plan during
    orientations.
    6. Include portions of the plan in policies and procedures, including
    the employee manual.
    7. Consider copies of the plan for major stakeholders, for example,
    funders/investors, trade associations, potential collaborators,
    vendors/suppliers, etc.

    (For additional assistance, see Writing
    and Communicating the Plan
    .)

    This plan will be widely communicated including through use
    of the following approaches:

    1. _____________________

    2. _____________________

    3. _____________________

    4. _____________________

    (etc.)


    For the Category of Strategic Planning:

    To round out your knowledge of this Library
    topic, you may want to review some related topics, available from
    the link below. Each of the related topics includes free, online
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