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28. ComprehensiveOutlineofaStrategicPlanningProcess

28. ComprehensiveOutlineofaStrategicPlanningProcess

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Published by earl58
Strategic planning outline/template
Strategic planning outline/template

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Published by: earl58 on May 18, 2009
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This article was excerpted from CRE’s publication Management Without Precedent, Readings to
Strengthen Community-Based Organizations
, 2
Edition, published 1995.
he outline that follows presents an annotated format for developing a strategic plan. It isstructured as a set of questions pertaining to each step in the process: setting up theprocess; affirming your mission; conducting an internal and external situation analysis;lishing your vision for the organization; and developing, refining and implementing the planitself.Depending upon the time and resources your organization is able to dedicate to the process,your approach can be as concise or elaborate as you wish to make it. The important thing is toagree on what you hope planning will achieve and make sure that the process you design willmeet those needs. If it is possible to include, structuring in an opportunity to solicit client input onthe effectiveness (or deficiencies) of your current programs and on what their new and emergingneeds are can be invaluable. Similarly, incorporating evaluative data on your programs andoperations can assure that you ground your assumptions about the organization’s “strengths andweaknesses” in some objective reality. To sort through various options for your planning process,set the goals and agree on how to proceed, it is wise to appoint a planning task force (perhapsincluding both Board and staff members) at the outset to design and manage the entire process,using the following outline as a guide.Finally, a strategic plan is only as good as the follow-up to the planning process itself. Oncea planning retreat is over or the plan itself is drafted, the very real work of translating the plansto your daily activities begins. To the extent that staff leadership - and really staff at all levels -can establish ongoing work priorities which are rooted in the vision and plans for the organization,you will assure progress towards achieving your goals. It is also incumbent upon the Board ofDirectors to keep its eye on the “forest” of the plan, to hold itself and the staff accountable forprogress implementing the plan even amidst the “trees” of daily operations.I. PREPARATIONA.
Expectations for the planning process
 1. What outcomes are desired of the planning process?2. What would you be satisfied with as the result(s) of planning?B.
Management & Board commitment
 1. Is the timing right for your organization?2. Are you willing and able to spend time and money on a planning process?3. Are you committed to following through with implementing the plan?C.
 1. Whose input is needed for the various stages of the planning process?2. How should you invite and prepare them to participate in the process?D.
 1. What format is most appropriate: periodic work sessions; weekend retreat?2. What time of year is best?3. Where can you hold the work session(s)?4. What is your budget for the process? How will you raise it?
Comprehensive Outline of a
Page 1
Strategic Planning Process
Organization’s purpose
 1. What were the watershed events in the history of the organization?2. What has been the purpose of the organization?3. Whom do you exist to serve?4. What are the values and philosophies underlying how you deliver your services?5. What specific outcomes do you seek as a result of your work?B.
Competitive advantage
 1. Why are you the most appropriate organization to carry out this mission?2. What uniquely situates you to serve the purpose and clients identified?3. What distinguishes you from other organizations in your service and/or geographicalarea?4. What do you offer to the community that other organizations don’t or can’t?III. MARKET ANALYSISA.
Client demographics
 1. What is your geographic area of service?2. Who are your clients? How would you describe the people you serve in terms of:a. ages?b. ethnic/racial identity?c. languages?d. income levels?3. How are the demographics of the people you serve changing? What trends do yousee?B.
Client needs/expectations
 1. What are the needs of people in your community?2. What do other services, programs and organizations in your community provide?3. What community needs do your programs currently serve?4. How are the community’s needs changing, and how must your services adapt to thosechanges?5. Are all prospective clients aware of the services available to them from yourorganization? from other organizations?6. How would people in your community describe your program(s)? What is their opinionof your organization?C.
Funding prospects
 1. What is the market for funding your services?2. Is there opportunity for charging fees for your services?3. Who is your competition in the funding arena?4. What is your niche in making the case to funders?IV. INTERNAL ANALYSIS: STRENGTHS & WEAKNESSESA.
 1. What does your organization do extremely well? What are you known for?2. What unique qualities does your staff bring to the programmatic work of theorganization?3. Which programs are less successful? Why?
Comprehensive Outline of a
Page 2
Strategic Planning Process
4. Where are gaps in your program staff’s abilities, talents, performance?5. Have any programs languished due to lack of attention and development?6. How do you monitor the quality of your programs? Is there opportunity to receiveclient feedback?7. What do clients think of your programs/services?B.
 1. Have the following systems kept pace with your organization’s development? Are theyserving you well?a. Bookkeepingb. Budgetingc. Financial management & decision-makingd. Personnel managemente. Client record-keepingf. Fundraising record-keepingg. Overall office management2. Who in your organization handles administrative responsibilities?3. Is there efficiency in administrative areas of your operations?4. Are staff skills in various areas being maximized?C.
 1. What is working well in terms of staff management?2. What is the state of employee morale?3. Do all employees and Board members know each other? Is this satisfactory for allparties?4. Are there opportunities for dialogue among senior staff, program and support staff,and your Board?5. Do various levels of program staff have input on program planning andimplementation? Are their ideas listened to and acted upon?6. Sense of purpose/mission:a. How is the mission communicated throughout all levels of staff and Board?b. Do all employees know what the goals/priorities of organization are?7. Are there systems for offering feedback on staff performance at all levels?D.
Physical facility
 1. Is your location accessible to those you intend to serve?2. Is your space appropriate for your programmatic activities?3. Is your work space conducive to staff productivity and efficiency?4. Is there unused potential in your space?5. Are there improvements that can be made at a reasonable cost which might improveprogram? staff functioning?6. Does your office equipment maximize efficiency at a reasonable cost?V. ENVIRONMENTAL ANALYSISA.
Political situation
 1. What trends are you observing at the Local, State, and Federal government levels?2. What are the implications for funding? for receptivity to your program?3. Are Local political leaders aware of your clients’ needs?4. Do Local political leaders know about your organization? Do you keep theminformed? What is their opinion of your programs?
Comprehensive Outline of a
Page 3
Strategic Planning Process

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