A few years back, a “strategic plan” meant a 50-page document outlining what should be done over the next five years. We got over that once we realized that said document often ended up on a shelf somewhere and rarely, if ever, saw daylight.

Today, our thinking has evolved. We envision strategic planning as a highly collaborative process to create a tool that helps you focus on key priorities and enables you to make decisions over the next few (1-3) years, while also adapting to new conditions and opportunities as they arise.

Ideally the strategic planning process should answer five questions:

  1. For what impact, and for whom, do we want to hold ourselves accountable? Are there specific populations on which we want to focus, or disparities that we want to address?
  2. How will we achieve that impact, based on what we as an organization are best positioned to do?
  3. What specific priorities and work will we focus on?
  4. What resources – financial, human, and organizational – will we need to pursue this work?
  5. How will we know we are making progress?

While resource allocation is an evergreen challenge, there are certain moments for nonprofits when strategic planning might be particularly helpful.

Read the full article about strategic planning by Vlad Nedelea at The Bridgespan Group.