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NGOs 101: Strategic Planning

Strategic Planning“Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail”Alan Lakein

In this context, its crucial for NGO leaders to do Strategic Planning to gear their organization, their efforts and the funding they are receiving towards the best course forward.

So the first question is: What is Strategic Planning?

Strategic planning in a nutshell is envisioning what the future of the organization should look like and drafting the course of action towards it.

Below is a list of simple Q&A that can help you better understand Strategic Planning.

When should an organization do Strategic Planning?

  • When starting up
  • When a new program or initiative is to be launched
  • When the organizational structure is to be changed
  • When there are major changes in the community, thus changing the context of the organization
  • When there are major changes in the Board or Team members
  • Annually

What are the benefits of Strategic Planning?

  • Understand Why the Organization Was Created
  • Set the Vision, Mission and Goals
  • Set Action Plan
  • Ensure Team Buy-In
  • Develop a Sense of Ownership
  • Utilize Organization’s Resources Efficiently & Effectively
  • Develop Metrics to Measure Progress
  • Resolve Key Issues  & Fill Gaps

What are the 2 types of Strategic Planning?

Goals Based

  • Start with future in mind
  • Develop the plan to achieve it
  • Extrovert  Approach

Issue Based

  • Start with current status in mind
  • Identify gaps and issues
  • Develop the plan to overcome them

What is the Strategic Planning Life Cycle?

Goal Based Strategic Planning:

  • Understand the purpose of your organization – Why was it created?
  • Assess the organization’s history – How was it created and what has it achieved so far?
  • Develop/Assess its Vision – How does the future look like?
  • Develop/Asses its Mission – How will it achieve the future?
  • Develop/Asses its Values – How will it achieve the future?
  • Develop/Assess its Goals – Narrowing down the Mission into clear elements
  • Understand the internal factors – Strengths & Weaknesses
  • Understand the external factors – Opportunities & Threats
  • Extract Lessons Learned – What to repeat and what to avoid
  • Develop/Assess the Program/Projects/Tasks/Operations to achieve its Goals – The Action Plan & Tactics

Issue Based Strategic Planning:

  • Understand the internal factors – Strengths & Weaknesses
  • Understand the external factors – Opportunities & Threats
  • Extract Lessons Learned – What to repeat and what to avoid
  • Understand the key issues facing the organization – What is wrong with the organization today?
  • Develop/Assess ways to tackle the above mentioned issues – How are we going to resolve the issues using the SWOT results and Lessons Learned?
  • Develop indicators to check if what you planned to do is being implemented and is getting you where you expect to be – Monitoring & Evaluation of Key Performance Indicators

In my upcoming articles I’ll share with you my recipe of how to assist your organization in drafting it’s Vision, Mission, Goals, Values and then how to use the SWOT Analysis, PESTLE Analysis, Enhance SWOT Analysis, how to set Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and finally how to Extract Lessons Learned.

Stay tuned for more!

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