What does your organization need to look like in 3-5 years? How do you get from where you are now to where you need to be? What is the current status and future forecast for the needs you seek to address? How can your organization better accomplish its mission in the coming years?
Whew! Such relevant questions and all important to the structure and performance of your organization. Reflective practices and strategic planning have become ingrained in the foundation of nonprofits yet are they being used effectively and efficiently as possible.
The most effective organizations have been able to excel in partnership with other sectors and organizations. Incredible opportunity awaits at both local and global levels for positive problem-solving and community solutions. Working across sectors is a way to achieve your organization’s goals and also address challenging issues facing our society and communities. Your organization is working to deal with big issues, and these issues are impacted by social and economic forces your organization doesn’t control. In order to do effective cross-sector work, there needs to be constant communication with people and organizations who work differently than you do, and who use different language and processes.
A Toolbox for Creating Collaborative Strategies
One part of the organizational toolbox that creates coherent communication between sectors is a solid strategic planning process.
In any solid strategic planning, there are two strong components:
1) Assessing the current reality at organization-specific and industry-specific levels
2) Creating an actionable plan for the future.
KNOWING WHERE YOU ARE AND WHERE YOU WANT TO GO
Assessing key stakeholders about organizational performance and mission capability. Gathers information and contextual knowledge that give you the answers to these questions:
- What are your organization’s current capabilities?
- What are prevailing attitudes and opinions that various stakeholders hold about your organization?
- What are major strengths and weaknesses of your organization that impact its mission effectiveness? What are the key barriers at your organization to greater service capacity and effectiveness?
- How might your organization access significant resources and other needed assets to meet its goals in our community?
The purpose of the assessment is to ensure that your workplace develops the following:
- Baseline knowledge prioritization to create a business plan that increases organizational mission effectiveness to move your organization steadily toward its sought outcomes;
- Best practices that quickly and efficiently develop the Board of Directors;
- Best practices that quickly and efficiently develop the Staff; and
- Quick wins that have a big impact in your organizational environment to generate additional resources and capability.
A strong assessment drives creation of a clear and smart plan. And, as evaluated by your inner circle, a clear and smart plan is an enormous part of harnessing this critical core’s interest and energy, exponentially increasing the achievement of your objectives. The strategic planning process both gathers information from your inner circle, and gets them on board: they become part of the planning process, and they develop an understanding that a larger shift is happening, thus they are ready to help you with those next steps. Strategic planning is a way of bringing people and organizations, who may not have felt so invested in the past, into your inner circle.