Why Nonprofits Need Strategic Planning

Posted on April 24, 2024

Strategic planning is crucial for nonprofits because it’s like a roadmap guiding them toward success. It ensures that everyone involved is working towards the organization’s mission and goals. Plus, it holds everyone accountable for their actions.

What Goes into a Good Strategic Plan

Every nonprofit’s strategic plan will vary, but they should all clarify the goals and how to achieve them.

  • Goals: These are the big dreams of the nonprofit, showing where they want to go.
  • Objectives: These are the smaller steps breaking down the big goals into doable tasks.
  • Tactics: These are the practical things the nonprofit does to meet its objectives. It could include fundraising plans, donor management strategies, and ways to improve communication.

How Often to Plan

Strategic planning takes time and effort from everyone involved. So, it’s best not to do it too often, but not so rarely that the plan becomes outdated. For example, at the Jerome Bettis Bus Stops Here Foundation, they do it every three years and also have yearly plans for each department.

Getting Help from Outside

It’s smart to have an outsider help with planning. They offer fresh ideas and make sure everyone feels comfortable sharing their thoughts. This person should talk to leaders, staff, and board members to understand what the nonprofit needs and how it works.

Dealing with Challenges

Even with a great plan, things might not always go smoothly. That’s okay! It’s just a chance to learn and make adjustments. For instance, nonprofits sometimes have to work longer than planned to achieve their goals. They use these challenges to figure out what they need to do differently next time.

Incorporating Donor Management and Fundraising

Donor management and fundraising are vital parts of a nonprofit’s strategic plan. It’s crucial to have a clear plan for how to connect with donors, keep them engaged, and ask for support. This might involve strategies like hosting events, sending out newsletters, or leveraging social media.

A strategic plan isn’t just a document to check off a list—it’s a living thing that guides a nonprofit’s actions. When things don’t go as planned, it’s not a failure; it’s a chance to grow and do better for the people they serve. With thoughtful donor management and fundraising strategies, nonprofits can further their mission and make a real impact.

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