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What to Ask Yourself in Strategic Planning

Posted: July 23, 2017 at 3:00 am

Strategic Planning

As a nonprofit organization, you understand that planning is everything, and you can’t be too prepared for anything. We’ve created a recap of BoardSource’s resource on strategic planning to help you know what questions to ask in each phase of planning.

Plan Before the Plan

Before you start any kind of planning, you need to have an idea of what your organization’s big picture looks like, and what elements will be involved. Ask yourself and board members:

  • What have past planning processes looked like?
  • What changes need to be made based on what worked/didn’t work?
  • What resources (human and financial) are needed?


Think SWOT

Completing a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis will help prepare your team for many unexpected situations. With your board, discuss the following:

  • What opportunities and threats does the organization face?
  • What do our partners and the community expect and need from our nonprofit?
  • What does our organization do well, and what can we improve upon?
  • How are we comparing to our competitors (for clients, volunteers, support, etc.)?
  • Have there been any changes in leadership, personnel or our mission lately, and if so, how has it impacted the organization?


Check Purpose and Mission

Now that you’ve gathered all of the information regarding the organizations history and current needs, ask your board the following questions to ensure vision and mission are current:

  • Why does the organization exist?
  • What is the organization impacting?
  • What values do its members share?


Make Plans Concrete

Once vision and mission are set in stone, begin focusing in on the objectives of the organization with the following questions:

  • What steps can we take to fulfill our mission?
  • What functions does our organization consist of (financial programmatic, support, etc.), and are there others needed?
  • Are there areas of the organization no longer necessary based on the changes in the above planning phases/discussions?


Ongoing Checks

Implementation of the planning process is in place, but you and your board members will still need to maintain a structured approach of ensuring that the organization is progressing to achieve its mission. Ask these questions to continue checking progress:

  • How are we incorporating our vision and goals into our work plans, programs and budget?
  • Are we properly analyzing our impact and result?
  • Are we referring to the strategic plan initially created in meeting and during reviews?


These five phases of strategic planning will help set up your organization for success. If you are ready to take action and work towards better fulfilling your mission, but you aren’t sure how, get in touch with Raising Help!

We love helping nonprofit organizations do more good work by creating plans to expand or deepen their impact and efforts in a number of ways. Learn how we can strategize with and for your organization >

Take the first step to furthering your mission – contact us today!