Welcome to the Sylvia & Carter blog – a forum to share inspiration, ideas, and reflections about the issues impacting nonprofit organizations today. Corrine Sylvia and Connie Carter, principles of Sylvia & Carter & Associates, have decades of experience helping nonprofits of all shapes and sizes to thrive and grow. They will be posting their unique perspectives and observations monthly, and your feedback is most welcome. Join the conversation!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Strategic Planning: 3 tips on Making it Really Work for You

These days, strategic planning is considered a “must do” for nonprofit organizations.  Previously a tool of the for-profit community and large institutions, today even the smallest, most grassroots nonprofits are drafting multi-year plans.  As a consultant to nonprofits, I know the strategic planning process can be inspiring and challenging, stimulating growth and change.
And yet, I also know that’s not always the case.

Tired of the same old, same old, dusty “let’s get it over with as quickly as possible” approach?

Here are 3 tips on how to make strategic planning really work for your organization:

Include everyone in the process.  Successful strategic plans benefit from the input and wisdom of a diverse group of people who will be responsible for its implementation.   Invite your staff, board members and other key volunteers to the table.  The result will be lively, rich discussions.

Get feedback from the community and your constituency first.   Use individual interviews, small focus groups, large community meetings, and online surveys to find out what people really think about the organization, its mission and programs and what they would like to see you do in the coming years.

Use a combination of large and small group meetings.  Inspired strategic planning occurs when everyone participates.  Utilize a variety of activities and forums to encourage even the shyest person to feel comfortable offering his/her opinions.