Strategy for Nonprofits

by Jule' Colvin on July 19, 2010

As leaders of non-profit agencies you may often ask yourself if it is really necessary for your organization to spend valuable resources to develop a strategic plan?  It certainly is!  Keep reading to find out why your nonprofit should revise (or develop) – and use – a written strategic plan.*

  • Competitive advantage in grant seeking. Donors are interested in how their support will be used to advance the organization’s mission and its future plans. A clearly articulated strategic plan gives your non-profit agency the edge over other organizations competing for grant funds.
  • Ensuring continuity – A clear vision and mission statement encompassed in the agency’s written strategic plan helps to keep the organization on course.  This document is the framework which sets the agency’s priorities and serves as a guide for succession planning.
  • Guiding key decisions – Time pressed executives and board members are better able to evaluate opportunities and make decisions in the context of the fit with the long term strategy for the agency.
  • Identifying potential problems – The development or revision of the agency’s strategic plan entails a critical assessment of the current situation, historical trends and forecasted changes.  The process itself, therefore, provides the opportunity to identify issues previously unrecognized by the leadership and plan accordingly.
  • Defining competitive strengths & evaluating opportunities for collaboration- The strategic plan identifies the agency’s niche(s) and competitive strengths, as well as potential cost saving opportunities through cooperation, such as merging back office operations. Potential partnerships may be identified and evaluated.

In addition to securing the future of your organization, the strategic planning process offers the shorter term benefit of developing mission-centered action plans designed to ensure efficient use of resources.

*Source:  The Importance Of Strategy For Nonprofits (by Rosemary Bayer and Lee Gorman)

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