Strategic Planning

Strategic Planning

Strategic planning is vital if a nonprofit is to grow and thrive.   A good strategic plan unifies an organization and sets clear goals for all to follow.

What is a Strategic Plan?

Goals and action steps to meet those goals are based on an organization’s vision, mission, client needs, core strengths, target markets and the environment in which it is operating.  A strategic plan sets priorities for the organization, guides decision making and ensures that board and staff are moving in the same direction.

A full strategic plan may include these areas below.  If resources are limited, ESC can recommend an abbreviated strategic planning process which will yield many of the benefits of a full plan.

  • History
  • Vision and Mission
  • Services provided
  • Core competencies or a SWOT Analysis
  • Target clients and their needs
  • Environmental assessment
  • Major goals
  • Action plan for each goal
  • Multi-year budget

Why do you Need a Strategic Plan?

A strategic plan provides these benefits:

  • Consensus among board, staff and stakeholders on the organization’s goals and steps to reach those goals
  • Agreed upon priorities for deploying limited resources
  • Meets a common prerequisite required by foundations in grant applications
  • Organizational focus,  increasing the likelihood that you can achieve success
  • Path toward financial sustainability

Form a Cross Functional Team
Strategic Planning meeting
McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center Strategic Planning

You will need to establish a strategic planning team consisting of board members, the Executive Director or CEO, key staff and possibly members of the community. As team members collaborate and contribute their various talents and skills, consensus develops – one of the key outcomes of the strategic planning process.

McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center Strategic Planning

Why use ESC to Facilitate?

Most nonprofits benefit from having a neutral third-party guide the process, facilitate constructive communication and identify and resolve issues.   Your ESC consultant(s) will help you form a team and recommend a schedule of six to ten planning sessions during which the team will work through the planning topics.

ESC consultants are experienced, neutral and strategic.  We can tailor a practical approach to your unique needs, identify or gather the necessary data and help you do analysis for fact-based decision making. We work in teams of multiple disciplines.  The preparation of the plan is primarily the clients’ responsibility. However we can advise and contribute on financial projections, human resources, board governance, marketing and business planning.

ESC Resources

Should you do strategic planning or board development first?
Read Michael Daily’s Recommendation.

Learn more about ESC’s Strategic Planning Consulting.

Read the Harbor Homes Client Success Story to learn how ESC helped create a five-year strategic plan for Harbor Homes.

Read our tips on strategic plan implementation.


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