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A New Year; A Better Plan!

Phew! 2020 is over and 2021 brings hope and energy for a better year. The key strategic questions to ask yourself include:

· Are we ready to create the future we seek and hope for?

· Does our strategic plan have the “right stuff” to get us where we want to go?

· Do we have the resources we need to achieve desired outcomes?

· Is our board and staff “engaged and aligned” and working together?

If the answers to any of these questions is no, then it is a good time to re-evaluate your plan and perhaps your planning process. Strategy Solutions has helped hundreds of organizations “get to the next level” through strategic planning and effective governance. If done well, the focus is on changing how people work together, not simply discussing mission, vision and priorities.

Effective planning includes several “must dos” if you want to take your organization to the next level. These include:

  1. asking/answering “What is wanting to happen here?” and (if the organization is faith based) Where is God calling this ministry?” Conducting a through environmental assessment and getting input and feedback from various stakeholders is key.

  2. action planning includes more than listing action steps; you should look at the organization’s functional needs and determine the human, capital and operating resources required to implement your plan, along with the associated costs. Be prepared to restructure your team and add new skill sets, considering potential collaboration first.

  3. outline your fundraising needs and build a “case for support.” Your final plan should include an explanation of the “return on investment” in both mission outcomes and financial sustainability. You may need to develop a cash flow forecast; your fundraising plan should include specific tactics and a timeline for raising needed resources.

  4. restructure your board and recruit additional skill sets needed to oversee your plan. This will include creating a workable committee structure and an “agenda of work” for each board committee that outlines their role supporting implementation. Clarity regarding the diversity and skill sets needed will help you network to find quality board members.

  5. educate and coach the Executive Director and Committee Chairs on their respective roles. Believe it or not, most EDs don’t realize that they have the power/ ability/ responsibility as part of their role to establish a board engagement process and work with the Board and Committee Chairs to implement it. The problem is two-fold: the ED doesn’t know what they don’t know about how to do this and well-intentioned board members have no idea how to effectively support the ED and their work. Because adults learn best by doing, it is more effective to set up the structure and teach these skills to the ED and board leadership within the context of your goals.

Many strategic plans either sit on a shelf or fail to accomplish the majority of their goals because these critical success factors are not part of the planning process. Make 2021 your best year ever, by doing your planning right!

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