Not for Profit (NFP) organizations often overlook the importance of having a true Strategic Plan and the importance of the planning process itself. The planning process insures that the organization has a solid vision, mission, core values, objectives (goals) and strategies to accomplish those goals. The process should take into account the existing organizational culture, technology, financial resources, human capital, regulatory environment and the needs of its clients/community it serves. There should be a very clear tracing of individual tactics all the way up to the overarching organization objective. The sustainability of the organization can be positively impacted by solid strategic planning. It is often the case that NFP leaders think what they have is a Strategic Plan, when in fact it is a glorified “To Do” list.
Once the vision, mission and core values have been established the organization should consider all of its resources when determining objectives to accomplish the mission. This is often the breaking point for most plans, but it should be an opportunity for NFP’s because the leadership team is often smaller which allows the department heads to work closer together.
The planning process should be engrained in the culture of the organization and will often be used to alter that culture if needed, in fact, the altering of the culture may be an objective itself. Strategic planning is often something that is very inconsistent in the for-profit world and even more so in the world of NFP where resources are more restricted and limited for “administration”. On a positive note, most NFP’s are more streamlined; therefore allowing it to disseminate information throughout the organization at a rapid pace. The leadership are a few levels closer to the front lines, which provides the opportunity to develop objectives (goals) that will directly impact services.