(Note: these are not in order of importance)
- Decision-making – A fork in the road appears. Another organization asks you to partner on something. A new funding pot is created (it happens sometimes). Start the decision-making process by looking at your strategic plan. What choice will get you closer to your goals?
- Conflict resolution – Your Board elects a new Chair and she and the ED don’t hit it off. Two senior staff members want new funding to go to their program. A donor thinks you are wasting money. Hand them all the strategic plan. No one person (or two) should be able to blow the organization off course.
- Oversight – The Board is struggling to focus on the big picture. Or worse, they sit silently listening to staff talk about the program activity. The Board wants to keep the organization on track without micro-managing, start every board meeting with your strategic plan.
- Fundraising – You need money (really? Surprising as most no-profits in BC are rolling in the stuff). People with money seem to give to the other groups in the field. Show them you have something useful to do with their money and hand over your strategic plan.
- Job Descriptions – Do your job descriptions line up with your strategic plan? Who – whether Board committees, staff or volunteers – is actually tasked with the activities that will achieve your goals? Hold up your Strategic Plan whenever you write, refresh or edit job descriptions.
- Employee Engagement – If you want to keep the best staff possible make sure they know where you are headed to be sure that’s where they want to go too. Lord knows the salary won’t be the reason they stay.
- Community Engagement – The best communications tool in the world of social media is a strategic plan. If it ain’t helping the Strat plan, don’t tweet it.
- Short-term planning – Starting a new program? Planning a new event? Facing a new funding cut? Pull out the strategic plan before you draft that logic model. (see a future blog on the joy of the logic model).
- Accountability – The Executive Director’s job is hard enough, juggling the demands, stresses, and multiplex expectations. Why make it worse by not having a plan? That way the Board, the funders and the staff all know why she is at that climate change conference in Timbuctoo (which is a place that will be badly impacted by climate change, by the way).
- Evaluation – A close cousin of Accountability. You can’t know if you’ve arrived if you never said where you going.
Write a plan. Do it. Evaluate how it went. Write a plan. Do it. Evaluate how it went…How could that get in your way of changing the world?
Top Ten Ways to Use Your Strategic Plan