Funding: Archives 2014 & Earlier

The Nuts and Bolts of Strategic Planning for Nonprofits

Consider strategic planning “the shelter and water” a nonprofit needs to sustain, said Ana Cortez an expert in strategic planning who helps family-serving agencies plan for the future. “We don’t know how long the journey may be,” she said, so the first step is to establish a strong framework that will carry on an organization’s mission.

On Thursday, the Center for Missing and Abducted Children’s Organizations, a membership entity that helps nonprofits reunite missing and abducted children with their families, hosted a webinar led by Cortez on strategic planning. During the presentation, Cortez discussed the planning process and what it can mean for an organization.

Many people believe it takes a lot of money and a year or more to strategically plan, but it can take much less time and not a lot of money, said Cortez. And nonprofit boards or leadership teams aren’t the only ones interested in planning, she added. The staff members on the ground, she emphasized, are the ones “who need to understand the larger goal and why things are being done a certain way.”

There are also many “pros” to strategic planning, said Cortez. It gives the organization a method to approach its work, allows it to break down big tasks and fully utilize staff, volunteers and partners. Importantly, added Cortez, it helps “spread ownership” so that everyone involved in the planning process has a stake in the organization’s focus and mission.  

When outlining the basics of strategic planning, Cortez suggested nonprofits consider the following steps:

  • Think about the organization’s business and assess what it needs versus what staff members want. Planning efforts, she said, should focus on a few critical areas of organizational need.

  • Select a person to spearhead the effort.

  • Identify someone outside the organization, who has no agenda, is assertive and responsive, to facilitate the process.

  • Develop a planning timeline.

  • Conduct an analysis of the organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Referred to as a “SWOT analysis,” an outside individual should interview staff, volunteers and outside partners about the strengths and weakness of the organization.

  • Hold a strategic planning meeting or retreat to discuss the findings of the SWOT analysis and build a logic model, which will help the organization identify its long- and short- term goals, as well as what organizational inputs are necessary to reach desired outcomes.

Many of the organizations listening to the webinar were local nonprofits that search for children who have been abducted or are missing, noted Cortez. They are in a crisis-oriented business, she acknowledged, so taking time to strategically plan can be difficult. But, every nonprofit needs the organizational foundation to sustain its business of helping children and families, she said. Strategic planning will help do that, she added.

Photo credit: Development Works Photos / Flikr
 

Comments

Youth Today is the only independent, internationally distributed digital media publication that is read by thousands of professionals in the youth service field.

Youth Today adheres to high-quality journalistic standards, providing readers with professional news coverage dedicated to examining a wide spectrum of complex issues in the youth services industry from legislation to community-based youth work.

EDITORIAL INDEPENDENCE

Our organization retains full authority over editorial content to protect the best journalistic and business interests of our organization. We maintain a firewall between news coverage decisions and sources of all revenue.

DONORS & DONOR TRANSPARENCY

We are committed to transparency in every aspect of funding our organization. Donors may be quoted, mentioned or featured in our stories. Our news judgments are made independently – not based on or influenced by donors. Accepting financial support does not mean we endorse donors or their products, services or opinions…(read more)

Archives

Categories

Recent Comments

Kennesaw State University Mountain Logo & Ceneter for Sustainable Journalism Logo
LOGO Institute for Nonprofit News 3 turquoise boxes stacked in "J" shape

Copyright © 2018 Youth Today and MVP Themes --- Published by Center for Sustainable Journalism,
Kennesaw State University, 1200 Chastain Blvd. Suite 310, Kennesaw GA 30144

To Top