It's easy to move from being a dis-organized and struggling nonprofit to one that is strategic and meeting its goals. There is no mystery involved. The way to become strategic and organized is to create plans and work from them.
A strategic nonprofit uses four main guiding documents that not only provide a clear direction and overview, but also list out clear and specific steps to take throughout the year to reach your goals. Having these strategic pieces in place will give you more time, relieve stress and greatly increase your ability to accomplish your mission.
Four Guiding Documents of Strategic Nonprofits:
Strategic Plan and/or Annual Operating Plan
Does your nonprofit currently have these plans in place? Are they current? Do you use them? If you can answer yes to all three of these questions, then this article is not for you. You are awesome! But most organizations don’t have these guiding plans in place and if they do, they are not using them to their fullest potential.
The Strategic Plan and Annual Operating Plan
This is your chance to get out of the craziness and look at the big picture. You take a step back and look at where you are, where you want to go, and how you will get there. The strategic plan may span 1-5 years, while the Annual Operating Plan will be a more specific plan that is revised year to year and focuses on how to achieve your strategic plan outcomes.
The Annual Budget
This is the numbers version of your annual operating plan. This document is strategic and informative. A good budget is separated out by programs showing the health of each program and the needs of the organization. With a good budget, each month you can look at your budget versus your actual and know definitively the fiscal health of the organization.
The Fundraising Plan
How in the heck are you going to raise all that money? The answer is: by doing A, then B, then C on this date, then doing D, then E, Then F. A fundraising plan helps you bring an otherwise overwhelming prospect into concrete steps with attainable goals. A good plan will include goals, steps to achieve those goals with dates and persons responsible.
The Marketing Plan
A good marketing plan starts at the big picture: what are your qualities, your brand, your key attributes you want to be known for, and then works it's way down through the story lines and calls to action, right into a detailed day-by-day calendar of what media needs to go out when and on what channel. With an overwhelming amount of content out there in the world, it's imperative that yours be top-class.
Creating these strategic documents is not a waste of time. On the Contrary, creating these plans is a huge time saver. You no longer have to think about what you’re going to post on Facebook today, or how you’re going to get more major donors. You’ve already done all the thinking. Now, all you must do is follow the plan.
It’s hard to communicate just how much of a relief this is. The day-to-day activities are now clearly mapped out and you can move forward with the confidence that you are doing the right thing. Not having to doubt and second guess your actions greatly increases your efficiency and ability to focus. Plus you can check on your progress regularly to see if you're meeting your goals and if not, why.
Developing these guiding documents is easy to do. Stay tuned by signing up for the Mighty Nonprofits email list, or give me a call for a free-consultation to see how I may be of service.