A Strategic Plan is a map. Strategic Planning is a systematic, documented process where the stakeholders agree and build commitment to, what actions need to be taken by the organization to reach its Vision. The term Strategic Plan usually brings chills to board members, the leadership team, and staff because of the usually confusing, complicated process needed to create this map. It does not need to be this way. The Niles Partners has developed a simple process to build this map. Like a map, the plan should be lean – it gives the user pertinent information without charts, graphs, and pages of text. The Strategic Plan has several distinct components, which follow.
The Mission Statement
This states, concisely, what the organization does – the reason the organization exists. It is the cornerstone of both external communication and internal vision. It does not change under most circumstances. It presents: the cause – who, what, where; the actions – what the organization does; and the impact – what change the organization brings to the community. Mission statements that leave the reader gasping for breath after having read it are useless. The key term is concise.
The Vision Statement
This articulates an achievable goal the stakeholders want the organization to become or to achieve at some future date. A vision statement is future oriented, reflect the organization’s values, clarifies the organization’s direction, and must inspire the reader.
The Value Statement
This statement is held sacred in well-lead nonprofits. These agencies have established and can articulate the values that influence every decision and the internal and external behavior of the agency. This statement helps test the mission and focuses the vision. All operations are measured against these values. This statement helps to see whether new stakeholders (board, staff, or volunteer) align with the organizational values. One method The Niles Partners recommends is to present one value per month in all internal correspondence
The Value Proposition
This answers the question, “What’s in it for me?” It is a 30-second testimony of the unique service the organization brings to the community and how your listener’s contribution furthers your effort.
These are the actions necessary for the organization to travel from here to there. Initiatives are the concrete steps which take your organization from where you are today to where you are going. These initiatives are clearly stated with assigned accountability and responsibly.
The Implementation Plan
This is where the action begins. This process is and must be, managed and controlled by metrics. Like the old adage states: “what gets measured, gets done.”
Too many times The Niles Partners have seen Strategic plans presented with pages and pages of non-relevant text, charts, and graphs beautifully presented in a leather or fine paper binder gathering dust on the Executive Director’s bookcase. Like a roadmap, a Strategic Plan is consulted and guides the organization to achieve its vision.
The Niles Partners has developed a proprietary process, Evergreen Strategic Planning, to accomplish the drafting of a Strategic Plan with a hard day’s work. Next, The Niles Partners helps you design reasonable metrics, so you see progress. Remember: When it is done it will be better. If it is not better, it is not done! Let The Niles Partners help you make it better.