Skip to main content

Strategic Planning

What is it about the phrase “strategic planning” that makes eyes glaze over?

We all know that “Plan” is my middle name. I get excited about making a plan. Maybe because I wander around, pick up this and that, and don’t finish anything all day if I don’t have a plan or at the very least, a To Do list.

As a consultant I focus on strategic planning for nonprofit organizations. Before I start working with a client I ask these questions:

  1. Is the board of directors ready to work on a strategic plan?
  2. Will the staff be included in the process?
  3. Is there a budget to support the work?

If the answer is “Yes” to these questions, then we’re ready to get started.
A strategic plan:

  • must be aspirational and grounded in reality.
  • is finite. It’s’ for a set length of time, such as 3-years.
  • moves the agency beyond its current status.

Creating a well-thought-out strategic plan takes time and dedication to the process.

There are five different models of strategic planning for nonprofit organizations.

  • Standard Strategic Planning Model: best used when conditions are stable and organization well established.
  • Issues-Based: external conditions are turbulent and organization faces major issues.
  • Organic: uncertain external factors, create actionable short-term goals.
  • Real-Time: facing crisis like economic recession, extreme focus on very short term goals.
  • Alignment: organization has great departments, but trouble with internal communications.

The implementation of a strategic plan is NOT the sole responsibility of the executive director and staff. It is a joint effort between the board, executive leadership, and the staff. A copy of the strategic plan should be at every board meeting. And every significant decision made by the board and leadership should be based on the strategic plan.

Make a plan, move it forward!

About Fundraising, for March every Thursday at noon:

  • March 9: Using SMART Goals in Planning
  • March 16: Objectives, tasks, action items, responsible, resources and outcomes
  • March 23: Implementation – Who’s responsible, resources, outcomes
  • March 30: Evaluations, quarterly updates, tracking, oversight

DMGroupConsulting, is your frontline fundraising consultant. Contact us at