Strategic Planning Part 8: Getting the Most from Your Strategic Plan : Successful Nonprofits

Strategic Planning Part 8: Getting the Most from Your Strategic Plan

by goldenburggroup

Strategic Planning Part 8: Getting the Most from Your Strategic Plan

by goldenburggroup

by goldenburggroup

This post is part 8 of a series about strategic planning.

After all the time, money, and effort you have invested in building your new strategic plan, you definitely want to get the most from it. Obviously, you’ll want to use it as a management tool, but you’ll also want your new strategic plan to enhance your public relations, support fundraising efforts, attract visitors to your website and build your social media base.

Of primary importance, you will want to use your strategic plan as a management tool for staff and a governance tool for your board. The plan is ideally suited for staff management and board governance because it includes quarterly goals. Each goal can be assigned to a staff member (or board member if the goal relates to the board).

To report this information throughout the organization, I recommend creating a one page dashboard that is both easy to read and not cumbersome to complete each month. Like most dashboards, you will color code the items being measured:

  • Green: on target
  • Yellow: slower than anticipated
  • Red: not likely to hit the target by the deadline

When color coding the dashboard, it is important to be honest with yourself and the board about those items that are yellow or red. Every organization experiences speedbumps and roadblocks when implementing a strategic plan, and no one should feel embarrassed or ashamed of missing the goal. Instead, the quarterly will encourage healthy dialogue about how to turn the red to yellow and the yellow to green.

If you only use the new strategic plan as a yard stick to determine progress, you will undoubtedly achieve the majority of your goals. But there are six other ways to derive benefit from your strategic plan (described below).

#1: Send a Press Release.
A new strategic plan is a great opportunity to tell the community about your new mission, vision, and key goals. In addition to sending the press release to local media, also consider associations and niche publications that may be interested in announcing your strategic plan.  See the sample press release below.
#2: Share The Plan With Funders.
Share the entire plan with any significant funders who typically ask for the strategic plan as part of the application process. When you send a copy of the plan, also ask to schedule a time so that you can share the plan highlights with them in person. This is a great opportunity to meet with the funder without asking for money.

#3: Share the plan with select major donors.
Invite your major donors to one-on-one coffee meetings with the executive director to discuss the strategic plan. Bring a copy of the strategic plan with you (keeping in mind that you may want to remove some of the financial detail before sharing the plan). Your donors will be impressed that you took the time to share this information with them, and this will be another important cultivation opportunity.

#4: Serialize the Plan On Your Website.
While not appropriate for every section of the strategic plan, you can use the plan to create blog posts for your website. The environmental scan might become four blog posts (one about stakeholder feedback, another about the financial history of the organization, a third about the programmatic outcomes, and the fourth about fundraising outcomes). You can also serialize a high-level overview of the goals and tactics. These blog posts will have SEO-rich content because they will repeatedly use the name of your organization and the key words that people are likely to google.

#5: Maximize Social Media Attention.
As you serialize the blog posts, be certain to link them on social media and tag the key stakeholders you interviewed, as well as your board, key staff, and consultants.

#6: Announce a Schedule For Publishing Your Progress.
Select and announce a frequency for publishing your progress to funders, major donors, the media, and your social media followers. If done quarterly, you will have another series of media hits and your funders will be very impressed with your transparency.


By taking just a few of these steps, your organization can gain significantly more benefit from your strategic planning process. In fact, you’ll likely have foundations and major donors asking to give you money based on the successful implementation of your strategic plan.

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