Developing an Effective Nonprofit Strategic Plan: Aligning Mission, Vision, and Goals

Strategic management is designed to manage organizations in conditions of high instability and uncertainty in the external environment. Its role in nonprofit organizations has increased dramatically in recent decades. So, how to develop an effective nonprofit strategic plan?

The essence of strategic planning in nonprofits

In the past, businesses could operate successfully, dealing mainly with internal issues related to the efficient use of resources. It is now paramount to implement such management that ensures the adaptation of businesses and organizations to a rapidly changing environment. The peculiarity of strategic management is that it has very few routine procedures and a lot of creativity. The business practice has shown no single strategy for all organizations, just as no universal strategic management exists. Each nonprofit organization (NPO) is unique, and the strategy development process for each firm is unique, as it depends on the position of the firm in the market, the dynamics of its development, its potential, the behaviour of competitors, the product produced, the state of the economy, etc. However, there are several fundamental points of strategic management, the knowledge of which allows you to develop and implement a strategy more effectively.

Strategic management of nonprofit organizations should take into account the distinctive features or essential characteristics inherent in the entire set of nonprofit organizations:

  • intangibility and social significance of goals, a ban on the distribution of profits between participants,
  • strict legislative regulation of the management mechanism,
  • provision of services as a widespread end product of the activity,
  • difficulties of labour motivation, etc.

By the way, developing strategic planning is impossible without searching for alternative forecast options. Without knowing how events will create, one has to make many assumptions. In long-term planning, achieving a high level of accuracy is quite difficult. Therefore, besides the main scenario, there should be several alternatives.

How to create an effective strategic plan for NPO?

Today creating a strategic plan for NPO can be easily automated as the modern IT market offers dozens of services and platforms with all necessary functionality. For example, board portals for arranging online meetings and data management for collegial bodies ensure strategic plan template for nonprofits and other templates for arranging agendas and minutes. In this way, the board software automates the routine activity of the board members.

The development strategy of the enterprise reflects the business plan. Its creation is an important step. A business plan is a multi-page document that plays a significant role in strategic planning. It has the following features:

  • demonstrates the company’s capabilities to potential investors;
  • allows you to transform the enterprise development strategy into measurable indicators;
  • creates the basis for the formation of the company’s budget;
  • it becomes the starting point for making changes to the tasks set in strategic planning.

Typically, planning covers a period of 3 to 5 years (in an unstable situation – 1-3 years). The document includes different blocks. The central section of the enterprise development plan is the production program. The remaining blocks are devoted to personnel, sales of goods, marketing tools, investments and other areas of the company’s activities. Strategic financial planning is of great importance. It helps to understand how much money is needed to solve the tasks. After completing the fourth stage, the company has a full-fledged development strategy.