Strategic Planning in Nonprofits


ABOUT STRATEGIC PLANNING IN NONPROFITS (SPiN)? Strategic Planning in Nonprofits covers six planning elements: preparing, listening, envisioning, planning, executing, and evaluating. It anchors each unit in why it matters and provides helpful tools to help learners act on what they learn so that you can better achieve your mission.

two Understanding How to Move Forward: Let’s answer a few questions before starting your Strategic Planning to see where you are using the Action Map.

three Learning Tool Kit: We have created an overview of the strategic planning process and included a tool kit of resources to help you with your strategic planning. Download the Overview and SPiN-kit

four Ready to Get Started? We know that you learn whenever you have a challenge to solve. Strategic Planning in Nonprofits (SPiN) works well for “a la carte” learning. Watch the video that touches on your challenge.

PREPARE: A key to successful Strategic Planning is “planning to plan”. To achieve a thoughtful plan that is truly strategic, you’ll need an effective process that is inclusive, transparent, and well-informed.  

LISTENWhen an organization’s leadership knows about the people you serve and other relevant data about your program and organization, your strategy improves, and you gain respect among your key audiences. You will be able to tell your story better, and your relationships and community impact will grow. Let’s start with a Nonprofit Health Check-up

ENVISIONWhen your organization invests time to develop or renew a powerful mission and vision, you will be able to answer the questions “Who are we?” and “Why do we exist?”, have a strong connection to your organization’s core purpose, and set the stage for a strong, well-grounded strategy. 

PLANIt is important to clarify what specific areas of focus and strategies you will use to achieve your mission. Planning helps you to chart a course to turn your vision into reality; determine what actions best support your Mission and Vision; ensure that your plan is right-sized and achievable by analyzing resource and capacity issues; inspire others to take action to help your organization to succeed. 

EXECUTE:We have all heard stories about plans that sit on the shelf and are never referred to again. You have just done a lot of work to set the strategic direction of your organization and get everyone on the same page. Be sure to continue to utilize the plan framework and hold yourselves accountable to reach your goals. 

EVALUATE: Evaluation will help you learn whether your activities are producing the desired results or change you are seeking to accomplish, gain new insights into how you can improve your programs and increase your impact; demonstrate to funders and donors that your work is making a difference; and give you data that can serve as a foundation for your next strategic plan. 

Five  Additional Resources:

Strategic Planning Flowchart








Laura Pierce, Executive Director celebrating with Nonprofit Leaders who completed the SPiN Cohort

Here is what the SPiN cohort had to say:

“This engaged our board in a new way.” – Najja Brown, Yield to the King Ministry

“It has really brought us together as a board.” – Act One

“It feels really good to have the support.” –Jeanne Berwick, One Equal Heart Foundation