Internal MakeOver journey of your NGO we are starting with key development document of the business sector – a strategic plan. There is a famous sentence from Antoine de Saint-Exupery, who said:
“A goal without a plan is just a wish”
Businesses, aware of this, put much effort in designing a strategic plan which will help them achieve their goals – sell product, deliver services, etc. From the other side organizations, although have certain goals and mission, rarely have functional strategic plans. In most cases NGOs are not familiar what is strategic plan and how to develop it. As a result of it, those organizations often “get off the track” by implementing projects which are not directly linked with their goals. This can maybe help you ensure short term financial support or enable you to experience work in some other area, however if that is not a part of your strategy then this waste of resources and time can get you far from your purpose. This is why a detailed strategic plan is needed, but more important is – when you develop it, to stick it to that plan.
Of course, businesses can hire expert to help them develop strategic plans, but NGOs often do not have resources to do so. This is one of the main reasons for developing this toolkit, to support organizations like yours to develop strategic plan which will guide you toward fulfilling your purpose.
Before we get into process of strategic planning, we need to be “on the same page” about what is strategic planning. When working on that with your team, you would as well like to make sure at the beginning of the process that everyone is clear what strategic planning is.
There are many definitions of strategy on which you may find if starting to search. According to Google, strategy is a plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall goal.
To put it in our own words, strategy is framework for all decisions made by your organization which will help you reach you mission. On top of that, strategic planning is a process of creating document which helps you to put your strategy essentials on the paper. It will lead you from “Where are you now” to “Where you would like to be”. That document contains all elements which will help you made coherent decisions in your work in next couple of years. Strategies are often made for a period of 2 to 5 years, but this depends from organization. One may argue that strategy doesn’t necessarily need to be written, however having your strategy in one document provides your organization with many benefits:
You can always refer to it when making decisions;
Make sure that everyone in your organization is on the same path of achieving your organizational vision. Even if someone new come to your team he will be familiar with the purpose and path of your organization;
It will boost up working team spirit in your organization;
It will be easier to you to establish good relations with your donors;
Projects you are implementing will all go toward the same direction – your mission;
It will help you made better decisions where to invest time, money and human resources in your work.