Planning


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Strategic Planning

Mission Clarification

  • Mission must be the cornerstone of any action taken by a nonprofit organization. It is not uncommon to find differing understandings (sometimes vastly so) of the mission among board and staff members. It is essential that the governance team be “on the same page.” Mission clarification will identify a “mission principle”—the concept articulating the central meaning of the mission. This is the foundation of the plan.

 Market Niche

  • Identification of the organization’s unique area of excellence in service enables more focused programming, clearer communication, and greater success in fundraising.

 Strategic Priorities: Finding Focus

  • A strategy is an organizing principle that coordinates action. Strategy helps identify those things that should be done and, perhaps even more importantly, those that should not. With strategies selected, actions can be prioritized and assigned to responsible parties. (Read Reclaiming Strategy in A Planning Primer)

  • Strategic principles are the unifying concepts that serve as the basis for making choices and decisions about programming and the application of organizational resources. In any planning process, they guide the selection of priorities on which to focus.

  • Strategic Priorities are the areas (usually no more than three) on which an organization will focus its energies and resources for the period the plan covers. These are selected as subsets of and means of furthering overarching strategic principles.


Operational Planning

 
 

Who Does What When

Strategy helps identify those things that should be done and, perhaps even more importantly, those that should not. With strategies selected, actions can be prioritized and assigned to responsible parties. Implementation of the strategies is the “rubber meets the road” meat of the plan. Project management, the art and science of “getting things done,” is the mechanism by which an operational plan gets implemented.


Funding Systems

 
 

Identify diverse, renewable funding streams

Nonprofits exist because the programming they provide cannot be fully supported by user fees. Competition for financial support is the greatest it has ever been. Fundraising is a fact of life for all elements of the sector. The most successful organizations will have carefully thought-out plans for securing annually renewable support from broadly diverse sources.


Marketing Systems

 
 

Identify strengths on which to build and areas for improvement

Marketing, in the nonprofit world, means communicating with external audiences about the services provided. Every nonprofit has at least three vastly dissimilar target markets: beneficiaries, funders, and potential volunteers (including board members). O4 can help you develop a strategy for external communication that includes identifying your market niche, principal constituencies, targets to pursue, and the best means of doing so.


Volunteer Systems

 
 

Create A Volunteer Program

Volunteers are the most highly leveraged resource available to nonprofits. Free workers, but they must be managed. Otherwise they will be counter-productive.

You know your organization needs them, but what’s the best way to set up a volunteer program and how best to ensure that their time—and yours—is used well? Whether you need to start a program or give a boost to an existing program, Outfitters4 will work with you to make the vision of volunteer involvement a reality in your organization.

Volunteer Program Development Outline

  • Program Mission (Why have it?)

  • Management System
    ~ Identify Internal Resources and Staff Responsibilities (Who will manage it and how?)
    ~ Articulate Volunteer Positions (Job Descriptions)
    ~ Develop Recruitment/Screening Processes
    ~ Design Training Process
    ~ Establish Evaluation/Reward System

  • Marketing Plan (Why volunteer with us? Whom do we target?)


Additional Reading: 

The Hidden Value of Volunteers by Abby Montclova

Volunteer Management is NOT Volunteer Coordinating by Abby Montclova