The four phases of strategic planning: prepare, develop, execute and monitor

Strategic Planning for Non-Profit Organizations

September 13, 2019

One of the key roles of a non-profit board of directors is to set organizational direction. Strategic planning is the process by which most boards determine the organization’s long-term goals and then identify the best approach for achieving those goals. This long-term visioning and planning is critical to the long-term success of a non-profit. The strategic plan will then guide the work of the organization as it is operationalized by staff.

When embarking on a strategic planning exercise to set priorities and direction for an organization, the board is asking itself a series of questions:

  • Where are we now?
  • Where do we want to be?
  • What impact/good do we want to achieve?
  • How will we get there?
  • Who must do what to get there?
  • How will we know how we are doing?

These questions can be answered through a four phase process:

  • PREPARE:  Gather relevant information on the issues facing the organization and engage stakeholders. More about Preparing for a Strategic Planning Process.
  • DEVELOP: Develop strategic options and refine them to specific goals and objectives. More about Developing a Strategic Plan.
  • EXECUTE: Create an implementation plan with the appropriate resources and built in metrics to measure success.
  • MONITOR: When implementing, create regular reporting on measurable objectives to ensure the disorganization is meeting its objectives and refine the implementation plan as needed.



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