What We Do
Intensive Strategic Planning
Develop your most inclusive, effective strategic plan ever.
With our Intensive Strategic Planning package, we will work with you to design a bespoke approach to the strategic planning process perfectly suited to the unique needs of your organization and the specific challenges you face. This is a great fit for organizations willing to spend more time, resources and effort on going deep into strategic planning and stakeholder engagement, those with unique needs for custom approaches to collaboration and plan development, and those facing periods of complex challenges or change. Intensive Strategic Planning is best suited to organizations with annual operating budgets of $5 million or more.
Intensive Strategic Planning clients are typically facing a hurdle, transition or period of organizational transformation that is significant to them. We bring our years of expertise in nonprofit organizational development and strategy to provide guidance, facilitation and executive coaching surrounding challenges such as expansion or consolidation, revenue diversification, complex organizational dynamics as a result of a networked structure, board or staff dynamics, etc.
While each Intensive Strategic Planning engagement is highly customized, here’s a bit more detail about how each phase typically works.
Like all of our engagements, Intensive Strategic Planning engagements are built around our Shared Power StrategyTM philosophy, which holds that in order to become truly effective and equitable, your organization must share the power to shape its strategies with its many diverse stakeholders. But in Intensive Strategic Planning engagements, we go beyond the basics of stakeholder engagement.
First, we collect a great deal of information from you about the stakeholders that matter most to your organization, their relationships with your nonprofit and with one another, and their appetite and availability for being involved in the strategic planning process. Then, based on what we learn, we shape a thoughtful approach for engaging your stakeholders in shaping your strategy through a combination surveys, focus groups, interviews, stakeholder committees, listening sessions and more, all tailored to your unique stakeholder dynamics.
We also help you develop several committees that will collaborate on the creation of your strategic plan, including a primary planning committee made up of key staff, a strategic planning sub-committee made up of key board members, and a stakeholder committee made up of other stakeholders such as beneficiaries, community members and/or donors. Determining how best to involve all your stakeholders in strategic planning, while being sensitive to their unique life circumstances and lived experience, is one of the most important aspects of Intensive Strategic Planning.
In Intensive Strategic Planning engagements, Prosper Strategies’ research team also conducts a robust organization audit, reviewing past strategic plans, financials, marketing and fundraising materials etc. as well as a deep ecosystem assessment to determine what makes your organization unique among its comparative set.
Phase 1 uncovers significant insights, and lays the foundation for the rest of the strategic planning process.
In the Strategy phase of Intensive Strategic Planning engagements, we begin a cadence of weekly or bi-weekly planning sessions with your primary planning committee to work through the process of navigating the challenges and identifying the opportunities that will shape your strategic plan. Ultimately, we work together to assess and prioritize the strategic questions your organization will face over the next three years, arrive at a set of pillars around which your strategic plan will focus, and establish objectives for bringing each pillar to life. As we work through this process with the primary planning committee, we’ll bring in your other stakeholders for input and feedback in a variety of unique ways (such as through listening sessions and interviews), all dependent upon what we learn about how best to involve them in Phase 1.
Phase 2 results in a set of clear pillars and objectives for your strategic plan that have been thoroughly informed by your organization’s many diverse stakeholders. If your organization would like to develop a mission, vision or values as part of its strategic planning process (or re-evaluate and reaffirm or modify existing statements) that work also takes place during Phase 2.
In the Progress phase of Intensive Strategic Planning engagements, we work together to ensure your organization is successful in bringing its strategic plan to life.
First, we work with you to associate measurable key results with each objective in your strategic plan and guide you through the process of establishing an owner for each objective. Then, we work with your team on setting one-year activity plans for each pillar and objective/key result. Next, we put an objective and key results dashboard and other accountability systems in place, and advise on a cadence of meetings your organization will need to begin to see its strategic plan through. Again, we work with you to seek stakeholder feedback where appropriate in this process, and will be by your side during final board approval.
Finally, if needed, we can take the lead on writing and designing your final strategic plan, and help you align your board, staff and others around it. We can also stay on to help your team put its new systems and processes in place as implementation of your plan begins.
At the end of an Intensive Strategic Planning engagement, you’ll have overcome significant hurdles or challenges and gathered a great deal of stakeholder input and feedback to determine a clear path forward for your organization. You’ll also have the written strategic plan, dashboards, and implementation support you need to ensure your plan is seen through successfully, so you can do more good for the people and communities you serve.
Are you ready to hit the ground running? You’re a good fit for Intensive Strategic Planning if:
- Your organization serves multiple regions or geographies, or you are a national or global organization with affiliates
- You need significant support conducting research
- You are not clear on who needs to be most intimately involved in the strategic planning process, or that group involves more than 7 people
- You would like to more deeply engage your stakeholders in strategy development (utilizing interviews, stakeholder committees, focus groups etc. in addition to surveys and listening sessions)
- You have an annual operating budget of $5M or more, or significant grant funding for strategic planning
- You would like our help involving the board and staff in strategic plan development and adoption
- You are interested in not just evolving your organization’s existing approach but possibly reinventing it (exploring new programs, service delivery models, etc.)
- You could benefit from our help in writing your plan and/or seeking board approval
- You anticipate needing more than 12 weeks to work through strategic planning
- Your goals for strategic planning require a more custom approach tailored to your specific circumstances
- Duration: Typically ~4-6 months (timeline can be condensed with in-person retreat)
- Location: Remote via Zoom or some sessions in-person (client is responsible for travel fees).
- Facilitation: Typically 10-12 sessions. Sessions can also be combined into a multi-day planning retreat for organizations that choose the in-person option.
- Stakeholder Engagement: Range of options customized to your unique stakeholder situation. Can include a combination of surveys, focus groups, interviews, stakeholder committees, and listening sessions.
- Deliverables: Typical deliverables include Research report; Mission; Vision; Values; Three to five strategic plan pillars; Supporting objectives for each; Objective and key results dashboard; Recommended meeting cadence; Written and designed strategic plan document. Other deliverables, such as a Theory of Change or materials for sharing the strategic plan with board and staff, may be added based on your specific needs.
- Investment: Determined based on your organization’s specific needs, after initial consultations.
- Executive director or similar role completes stakeholder audit form, sends past strategic plans and other relevant materials, works closely with us to facilitate stakeholder engagement
- Executive director meets weekly or biweekly with facilitators to work together on logistics of strategic planning process
- Staff and board respond to survey (20-30 minutes)
- Other stakeholders such as beneficiaries, donors, community members respond to survey (20-30 minutes)
- Primary planning committee of staff members participate in all facilitated sessions (typically several sessions and a 2-day in-person retreat OR 10-12 remote sessions) and complete homework following most sessions
- Select group of board members participate in process at key points
- Other stakeholders such such as beneficiaries, donors and community members participate in process at key points
- Executive director reviews and finalizes written strategic plan, board approves