Strategic planning non profit 

Strategic planning non profit organizations benefit from formal and systematic corporate strategic planning process, by enhancing their long term performance.

Strategic planning non profit organizations, just as for business organizations, can and should be designed to bring success and avoid failure. This can be done by capitalizing on the strongest capabilities of the non-profit organization in question, and exploiting the greatest opportunities, while reducing risk associated with organizational weaknesses, and environmental threats.

The early analytical stages of the strategic planning non profit process set the stage for the more creative work of generating strategic options and selecting or designing strategies for non-profit organizations.

Following the data-collection stage in the charity/hospital/church, or other strategic planning non profit process, the planning team should gather all its conclusions together in some methodical manner showing the 'strategic totality'. This is essential preparation for the process of selecting the overall non-profit strategy.

This presentation includes the SWOT grid key issues, together with the targets, forecasts and gaps, and the short list of biggest strategic issues in a table.

This will help the planning team to reach a precise description of their organization's key strategic issues. There is sometimes only one of these, often two, sometimes up to five or six, but never more.

If you can't shorten the list of strategic issues to six or less you need to consider what is going on before proceeding. You may still be focusing on operational issues that could be handled elsewhere and by others. Or you are perhaps listing symptoms of an underlying major issue that has not yet been surfaced in a way that gains agreement from the planning team.

This shared understanding of the overall strategic situation of the organisation gives a sound basis for strategic decision making. With this summary from the previous stages of strategic planning, non-profit strategies with the right 'flavour' for the organization can be developed.

Requirements for strategic planning non profit corporate strategies

The primary requirement for an overall non-profit organization set of strategies is that they should be developed to cover two main dimensions, bringing success and avoiding failure when things go wrong.

  • Non-profit strategies must give the organization a very good chance of hitting the target for satisfactory performance or Tsat and even exceeding it.
  • At the same time, strategic planning nonprofit style must not expose the particular organization to such risks that its performance might fall below to that considered to be failure or Tmin.

Additionally strategic planning non profit version, must have a set of strategies that meet these requirements-

  • make full use of all the organization's most impressive strengths.
  • correct or neutralize all major weaknesses. It must not be based on these weaknesses.
  • either eliminate or reduce the impact of all the major threats.
  • exploit any highly rated opportunity for enhancing non-profit performance.
  • be strictly practical and relevant to the precise strategic situation of the particular non-profit organization, and hopefully be
  • imaginative in the sense of being able to engage staff in implementation, and stand out among similar non-profit organizations in some way, and not be a pale imitation of what everyone else is doing, so as to strengthen the community standing of the organization and its non-profit mission.

Generating options in strategic planning non profit

Framing a set of non profit strategies to meet these general requirements involves generating a list of strategic options. These must address all the key issues surfaced in the preceding target setting and SWOT analysis stages of the strategic planning, non-profit, process, as well as the general requirements specified above.

In one sense the strategies available to organisations may seem endless. In the face of this some organizations defer to others and go along with what seems to be the strategy of the month.

Avoid the extremes of being overwhelmed with the possibilities and attempting to do too many things, or of avoiding the hard work of strategic decision making by mindlessly borrowing or being caught up in the current trends and fashions in strategic thinking.

A range of tools is available to help come up with useful options to consider for strategic decision making.

However a few generic areas requiring strategic action keep recurring, and so it is worth checking them out as possibly relevant to the organization's strategic situation.

With most non-profit organizations a program development strategy may involve developing new programs or modifying existing services, bundling or unbundling services in combinations or packages to appeal to different client group segments or constituency groups. It is simple to state these obvious possibilities, and yet often there is nothing easy about effectively carrying out the process.

It requires focused attention to current and potential competing providers and beneficiary needs now and in the future. It also means anticipating impacts on the other functions of the organization, including the financing of pilot programs and service delivery processes, and possible changes to program promotion and location.

Many non-profit organizations may find that the major strategic issues they are facing require a specific strategy to guide the choice of methods of producing goods or services offered to the community, or process change management. This can be a fundamental rethinking of the way an organization carries out either or both its primary value creating activities or key support functions.

Moving beyond how the non-profit enterprise produces and delivers its products and services there is a range of strategies for finding the needs of your particular groups, and engaging or enrolling them in services designed to benefit them.

Non-profit organization marketing strategies cover a range of considerations in terms of the nature, scope and location of the groups to be served.

For some other enterprises the strategic issues are more to do with the way the organisation structures managerial accountability and so they may need to look at strategic planning and organizational design.

The strategic situations faced by organisations are many and varied. However at some stage, most organisations may have to review how they are financing themselves. For non-profit organizations in particular they may have to reconsider approaches to fundraising.

It has become popular for many organisations to have a human resources strategy. However only in some cases will the strategic planning process issue identification lead to strategic workforce planning being a corporate level strategic issue, to be addressed in the overall strategic plan of the organization. For some non-profit organizations strategies to do with recruiting, developing and deploying volunteers may warrant a special corporate level strategy.

And as for most other organisations, strategic planning non profit has been through a period when information and communications technology(ICT) was regarded as a major strategic asset, and the effort to align these ICT assets to the overall organizational strategy lead to the widespread development of strategic IT planning.

As the rate of change has increased the consequences for many non-profit organizations of unforseen risk have had to be planned for and appropriate management structures and practices put in place. For some nonprofits these consequences can be so severe that they certainly need corporate level risk management strategies.

In some cases where the credibility of the non-profit is as stake, the really important strategic issues may warrant a special NPO public relations strategy.

Even highly respected and high performance business organizations have had to learn to manage the relationships they have with a range of interest groups more strategically. In recent times this has meant more attention being paid to the matter of corporate social responsibility strategy. NPOs may face a different problem. They pride themselves on being 'well behaved corporate citizens'. This is sometimes put ahead of the actual level of performance for which they exist. Sometimes this protects them for too much scrutiny over performance, because what they do is perceived to be so intrinsically good and they behave so well as they do it. However, NPOs, not matter how worthy their aims, and polite their conduct, should not be complacent about matters of corporate social responsibility. Mishandling of abuse complaints has dome almost irreparable damage to the reputation of some NPOs.

In theory there are as many strategies as there are strategic issues arising from strategic planning non profit; facing specific NPOs in particular situations at particular times, and so we can't deal with them all here.

However, in addition to the types of strategy already listed, there will be some generic strategies that many NPOs may consider before settling on the very few that they need to implement effectively to achieve their goals.

Among these would be strategies for productivity improvement, quality management, attitude and cultural improvement, size and rate of growth strategies, corporate governance, and so the list could be extended.

In addition to these cross-sector possibilities for strategies, specific sectors or types of organization may have special needs to be addressed in their strategic planning non profit corporate strategies.

For example the dramatic changes in the application of Information and Communications technologies (ICT) have posed challenges for library strategic planning.

Similarly, applications of ICT, changing demographics, global demand for skills, and international mobility, have impacted strategic planning in education, at all levels.

Environmental organizations face a myriad of challenges from issues round the location of their activities, and of course climate change.

One of the most complex sectors is that of healthcare strategic planning non profit, with the multiplicity of players in the industry, the complexity of funding and insurance arrangements, as well as the escalating costs of drug development and other forms of treatment, and major public health issues.

With the changing roles of public and private sector provision of many services public sector strategic planning begins to take on some of the characteristics of business strategic planning.

Perhaps one of the oldest, if not the oldest, organizational practices is military strategic planning. The word strategy derives from the Greek strategia, meaning "office of general, command, or generalship". Perhaps the first strategic planning non profit, if not non plunder!

Changing social attitudes and competition for discretionary money challenges charitable organizations to be more strategic in their approach to managing themselves. Specifically religious organizations, operating in a global context have also had to adopt more 'business like' management practices leading to the growth of church strategic planning.

This does not exhaust the possible organizations using strategic planning non profit, and having to come up with performance enhancing corporate strategies. We may also cover some of these such as cooperatives from time to time.

The process of strategic planning non profit being presented here will have ensured that the broad strategy proposals that will have now emerged are all highly relevant to the organization's overall strategic situation. The team can be reasonably sure that, providing they honestly and bravely accept the truth about their organization in the earlier stages, the general strategic direction they have now chosen will be relevant to the particular strategic planning non profit situation. They do not know whether they have had their feet on the ground all this time; they do not know if the strategies are really practical; they do not know if they have the resources of money, management and skills to carry them out; they do not know how long it will all take. The planning team will have completed the most significant part of their work when agreement emerges around the strategies.

However, they still have three more important tasks to perform.

They must-

  • evaluate the strategies,
  • put them into action, and
  • they must monitor them.

However, they have not finished their work as managers. They need to show that these strategies will be powerful enough to lift the NPO's performance up to, and even beyond, the Tsat level they chose in Stage 2. They also need to assess what might happen to their organization if, having adopted the proposed strategies, one of the threats or opportunities they expected to occur either occurred in a different form or not at all.These tasks are explained in the area of the site under Strategic Management Process.

For another viewpoint, and useful resources on strategic planning for nonprofit organizations check out this site.

Return from Strategic Planning Non Profit, to the Simply Strategic Planning Home Page


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