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Thinking Strategically A Primer on Long-Range Strategic Planning for Grassroots Peace and Justice Organizations Randall Kehler Andrea Ayvazian Ben Senturia Many thanks to Fran Henry, George Lakey, and Bill Moyer for their experience and insights regarding strategic planning, and to our colleague Elizabeth Rankin for her advice and technical assistance. Exchange Project Peace Development Fund 44 North Prospect Street Post Office Box 270 Amberst, Massachusetts 01004 (613) 256-8306 The Exchange Project is the training arm of the Peace Development Fund a I. I. Tv. VI. VIL Table of Contents Preface: How to Use This Manual ..... 1 Introduction to Strategic Planning 3 What It Is and Why It Matters. 3 Overcoming Our Resistance . .. . 5 Developing a Commitment to Planning within Your Group....... 8 Preparing to Start the Planning Process Defining the Mission Assessing the Starting Point ....... 20 Identifying Goals ......--.--..-5 23 Developing Strategies .........-.- 27 Making the Plan Work ..........- 30 Appendix A. Characteristics of a Good Plan ...... 34 B. ASample Plan ........ cesses 36 C. Further Reading ....... veces. 40 Preface How to Use This Manual This is intended to be a “hands on” resource for grassroots peace and justice groups interested in doing, or at least exploring, long-range strategic planning. It is designed not for experts or professional planning consultants, who usually have their own manuals and techniques, but for people with little or no experience in strategic planning. Itisnot necessary for everyonein your group to read this manual before participat- ing in the planning process. However, those who are responsible for initiating the process should at least familiarize them- selves with the overall content, and whoever is going to actually facilitate the process should read it through carefully. You may also want to make handouts for all the participants by copying particular parts of the manual—for example, the introductory sections, the checklist at the beginning of each chapter, and the first two itemsin the Appendix. From our experience working with a variety of grassroots peace and justice groups around the country (including our ‘own local groups), it seems clear that most groups are not initially committed to long-range strategic planning. For that reason we begin this manual by discussing ‘what we mean by “long-range strategic planning,” why we think it matters, how Wwe can overcome ourresistance to it—all of which is in the introduction—and what specific steps will lead groups to become committed at least to trying it (Chapter 1). Especially for groups that have never ‘engaged in this kind of planning, these are extremely important sections of the manual We have also discovered that how groups prepare for their planning process makes a great deal of difference. Crucial decisions must be made concerning who should participate, who should facilitate, where sessions should be held, and, especially, how much time should be allocated. This second section (Chapter II) willhelp you think through these questions and avoid some of the pitfalls. The next four chapters contain the “bread and butter” essentials of the long- range strategic planning process. They deal with the following questions: What is our group's overall mission? (Chapter Il); Where are we now in relation to our mission? (Chapter IV); Where do we want to be—two, three, five, or ten years from now? (Chapter V); and How do we get from here to there? (Chapter VI). Once your long-range strategic plan has been created and agreed upon, there are still a few remaining steps that must be taken in order to make sure the plan gets implemented. For example, you will need todecide how youare going to get started, whois going tobe responsible for what and by when, and what procedures you will adoptin order to determine how thingsare going along the way. Following through on these questions, which are covered in the final chapter (Chapter VII), can make the difference between a plan that sits in a drawer anda plan thatis put into practice. In the Appendix we have provided a listof some of the important characteristics ofa good long-range strategic plan, as well as one example of sucha plan. The Appen- dix also contains a short list of books and articles for those who wish to do further reading on this subject In using this manual, please bear in mind that the planning methodology