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Non-Profit Strategic Planning.
Many would be surprised to know that non-profit strategic planning varies little from strategic planning conducted by for-profit organizations. In fact, the non-profit strategic planning process has more to do with size than tax status. Large non-profits function in much the same way large corporations do, and small non-profits often use the same planning processes as other for-profit small businesses. [i] Non-profit strategic planning, like any “regular” strategic plan, should always include quantifiable measures for success to ensure the proper results.
Below we are going to discuss the similarities and differences between strategic planning for businesses and non-profit strategic planning, to help those in the non-profit sector gain a better understanding of how having a strong strategic plan can help accomplish the organization’s short and long-term goals.
For-Profit and Non-Profit Strategic Planning: Similarities
In simpler terms, strategic planning is a tool organizations use to answer three questions:
- What is our purpose? (Mission)
- What do we want to achieve? (Vision)
- How are we going to get there? (Plan)
A strategic plan should look further into the future and be more about the vision of the company rather than the quarterly figures. The simplest of strategic plans should include a set of statements describing the purpose and values for the company, along with a set of statements on how to achieve targets the organization has set. [iii] These objectives provide you with a way to measure progress through the plan implementation period. The similarities between non-profit strategic planning and for-profit strategic planning, however, ends there.
Organizers can use vision- or goal-based planning to articulate their strategy, or develop an action plan based on the specific issues facing the company, and goals they’d like to achieve in the long-term. [ii] No matter how organizations decide to go about it, the actual plan should be a written document with concrete actions the organization needs to take to achieve the desired results. The written statements and goal setting aspect of the non-profit strategic planning process is how for-profit and non-profit strategic planning is similar.
For-Profit and Non-Profit Strategic Planning: Differences
Strategic planning for non-profit organizations is different because it varies greatly in approach. Non-profit organizations may choose to include the community and the people they serve in their analysis and interviewing sessions. The needs of board members and donors shouldn’t be discounted, although they should be kept separate; their needs and wants are different than those the organization seeks to help. Non-profits should also have more information in the plan about long-term community outreach, goals for donations, and staffing plans as their operations increase.
These are not any different from the needs of a small business, but because a non-profit is often based on government and public funding, the addition of staff will have to be planned and accounted for. Many non-profits hope to achieve intangible goals such as “increase awareness about domestic violence,” or “provide arts education for America’s youth.” While these are great mission statements and goals, you must make sure that you include measurable and quantifiable objectives.
How AchieveIt Helps Non-Profit Strategic Planning
AchieveIt’s best-of-breed software guides you through the proven Execution Flywheel that has generated breakthrough results for many of our clients. It contains a full suite of tools that shortens the planning cycle, enables strategic decision-making, and powers accountability and execution. No other cloud-based application guides you through the entire strategy development and execution management life cycle with such focused precision. AchieveIt’s software is the ideal technology for implementing a non-profit strategic planning and execution management system, as it enables organizations to manage and track the execution of every type of plan in real-time – whether strategic plans, operational plans, project plans, or quality improvement plans.
Learn how to hardwire strategy and execution into your organization through the use of strategic planning software, strategy development software, business execution software, or quality management software.