Is your nonprofit doing all it can to advance its mission? Going through the process of outlining your organization’s most important priorities and documenting them in a well thought out strategic plan is the first step in answering this question.
A strategic plan is the cornerstone of your nonprofit’s success. It ensures everyone, from your board to your leadership to your staff, is on the same page about your nonprofit’s mission, vision, values, and most important priorities. Then, it details a plan for how you’re going to reach your goals. However, so many organizations fail to have a well-documented, actionable nonprofit strategic plan.
That’s where The Essential Nonprofit Strategic Plan Template comes in. It’s designed to help your nonprofit strategic planning team understand where your organization is today and what you need to do to increase your effectiveness and maximize your mission impact moving forward.
Here’s a behind the scenes look at what’s inside The Essential Nonprofit Strategic Plan Template:
With this template, we’ll help you articulate your nonprofit’s reason for being, mission, vision and values. Then, we’ll guide your team through the process of making important decisions about your nonprofit’s course over the next 1-3 years. All of this will allow you to set clear goals moving forward, and create a plan of action for bringing your strategic plan to life — ensuring everyone on your team is accountable.
The Nonprofit Impact System
All of the work Prosper Strategies does is centered around The Nonprofit Impact System™, a complete set of tools and approaches you can use to optimize every aspect of your nonprofit for maximum mission impact.
It includes the four key elements every nonprofit must master to achieve its full potential: Focus, Strategy, People and Progress.
Focus: this element is about identifying your nonprofit’s unique differentiators through the exploration or your organization’s reason for being, visual identity and messaging.
Strategy: There are four strategies every organization should create and act upon to drive maximum mission impact – a strategic plan, programmatic strategy, fundraising and marketing strategies.
People: the people you choose to engage in solidifying your focus and carrying out your strategy will determine the progress you make on advancing your mission more than anything else. Nonprofits that find a way to get the right people to do the right things at the right time are unstoppable.
Progress: even with a clear focus, smart strategies, and the right people in the right roles, it can be hard to get everyone on your team to take consistent, coordinated action to advance your mission. The Progress element solves this problem by building a culture of accountability and putting processes in place that keep everyone on track.
Strategic planning touches on every element of the system, and The Essential Nonprofit Strategic Plan Template will walk you through the process.
Learn more about Prosper Strategies’ Nonprofit Impact System™.
The Strategic Planning process should involve key members of your board, leadership and staff. We recommend developing a strategic planning team.
Typically a strategic planning team includes your ED or CEO, and the individuals chiefly responsible for your operations, programs, fundraising and marketing, as well as one to two members of your board of directors.
We recommend identifying five to seven individuals who can come together over several months to complete the exercises outlined in The Essential Nonprofit Strategic Plan Template.
Learn more about People strategy.
The best nonprofit strategic planning process starts with research. Before you put pen to paper, you need to develop a clear understanding of where your organization is today, so you can chart your course for the future. The Essential Nonprofit Strategic Plan Template provides you with all of the tools and templates you need to do just that.The best nonprofit strategic planning process starts with research. Before you put pen to paper, you need to develop a clear understanding of where your organization is today, so you can chart your course for the future. Click To Tweet
You’ll start with an organization assessment, where you’ll identify whom you serve, where you serve them, the programs you offer and how you’re funded. Then, you’ll take a look at other nonprofits in your area to assess how your nonprofit is similar or different. You’ll also look generally at trends in your space. Finally, you’ll assess who your organization’s most important stakeholders are and what they value most about your nonprofit. These assessments will evidence key insights that will get your strategic planning team operating off of the same set of information, making it easier to identify what you need to do moving forward.
This section of The Essential Nonprofit Strategic Plan Template ends with a SWOT, or an assessment of your organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. The SWOT is a great launching pad for identifying your nonprofit’s upcoming strategic priorities.
The template is complete with not only all of the tools you need to conduct these assessments, but also examples to help you successfully complete each one.
Before getting into the nitty gritty of nonprofit strategic planning, and with an understanding of your organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, you’ll want to take time to align on your nonprofit’s mission, vision and values. This is what the Focus element of the Nonprofit Impact System™ is all about. In this section of the template, we walk your through exercises to develop:
Your Nonprofit’s reason for being, which is a statement that captures the unique impact only your organization can make.
Your Mission and Vision Statements that define the future your nonprofit is working to create and the work you’re doing every day to get closer to that reality.
And finally, your Nonprofit’s Values
qAll of these elements are fundamental to your nonprofit’s ability to make strategic decisions today and the future, so it’s worth taking the time to get them right.
Learn more about the Focus element of The Nonprofit Impact System™.
In the strategy section of The Essential Nonprofit Strategic Plan Template, we help you to take a look back at your previous strategic plan to assess what you achieved and, based on that, evaluate how you’re going to approach your strategic plan similarly or differently this time around. If you’ve never had a strategic plan before, not to worry, you can just skip this section.
Next, we take you through some exercises to help you do some BIG thinking about your nonprofit’s future and your priorities. This is where we help you start brainstorming your strategic planning objectives by reflecting back at your organization’s SWOT analysis and working through the biggest strategic questions your organization is facing.
Check out the example below from The Essential Nonprofit Strategic Plan Template.
We recommend choosing no more than 3-4 organization-wide objectives for the year. Therefore, once you’ve brainstormed all of your potential objectives for your strategic plan, we help you narrow them down based on each one’s:
- Potential impact on your organization’s mission and outcomes
- Urgency to complete in the coming year
- Likelihood it can be accomplished in the coming year with your existing team and resources
Learn more about the Strategy element of The Nonprofit Impact SystemTM.
Finally, we help you bring accountability to your nonprofit strategic plan. This is the part of the process where most organizations stop short. They have their yearlong strategic objectives, but they fail to make those objectives actionable by breaking them down with quarterly milestones.
In this section, we provide templates so your nonprofit can look quarter-by-quarter at what you need to do as a team to reach your annual objectives. This ensures you can adopt a structured approach to goal setting, while also maintaining agility to shift and change plans as unforeseen circumstances arise.
Take a look at the example below:
Learn more about Progress.
There you have it! An inside look at The Essential Nonprofit Strategic Plan Template! By working through it, you’ll have identified your nonprofit’s focus, clarified your mission, vision and values and put forth a plan that will help your organization achieve greater outcomes.
Here’s to your nonprofit strategic planning success and mission impact.
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Going through the process of outlining your organization’s most important priorities and documenting them in a well thought out strategic plan is the first step in maximizing your nonprofit’s impact.