With 2020 coming to a close, many of us are beginning to think about the new year ahead. This past year was far from ordinary and now you may be heading into a new budget cycle, staff may be leaving, or new board members may be joining. The pandemic may have made your organization adapt in ways in which you never thought possible. With the feeling of change and resolution in the air, there is no better time to start thinking of your organization’s strategic plan.
A strategic plan is an organizational management tool that helps set priorities, solidify your mission and vision, establish agreement, and create action steps for short- and long-term goals. Strategic planning is a great tool to understand where your organization is today, where it’s going, and how to get there. There are a variety of methods and approaches to use when structuring your strategic planning process. What matters is that the process reflect your organization’s culture, capacity, resources, and leadership.
While strategic planning can take time and resources, there are many benefits. It can clearly define the purpose of a group, help communicate with constituents, use resources more efficiently, and create metrics to measure success. By the end of the process, the strategic plan should become a living document for the organization, that is regularly revisited to ensure goals are being met or revised due to unexpected circumstances.
Especially in light of the changing circumstances created by the pandemic, you may have found yourself practicing some elements of strategic planning already. Keeping on top of trends in your industry, recognizing what is working, what needs improvement, and how outsiders perceive your organization are all important parts of a strategic plan. However, it is important that the planning be done in a systemized, facilitated fashion to ensure diverse perspectives throughout the organization are heard, goals are attainable, and the organization’s mission aligns with its values.