Annual Strategic Planning: Scale Your Nonprofit in 2019

by Cameron Ripley  |   |  Strategy  |  0 comments

2 min to read ✭ The New Year is upon us, and it's time to plan. In this post, you will learn more about strategic planning frameworks that we recommend so that your nonprofit can have the best year in 2019!  

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

 Does your organization have an annual strategic planning process focused around how to improve the way you run? With 2019 kicked off in full force, it’s important that your team finds a rhythm within strategic planning. This may be an annual strategic plan, or perhaps a quarterly one. However your business strategy manifests, it’s important that you dedicate time to planning it.


Frankensteined Method of Strategic Planning

 Many of these different planning techniques come from a great book called Scaling Up: How A Few Companies Make It…and Why the Rest Don’t by Verne Harnish. Scaling Up is a wonderful resource and a good read from the full 106 book compilation of Cameron Ripley’s List of Business Books and Ratings

 There are three key phrases within strategic planning. Ideally, you’ll invite your senior leadership and dedicate at least a full day to planning out your strategy. 


Phase 1: Reflect and Review Stakeholder Feedback

This first phase is where you really want to think about what you want to take with you and what you want to leave behind. Start by reflecting on your past year. What milestones has your organization hit? What goals did you set? Review your highs and lows by month and take a good look at what were your top lessons learned.

Next, look at feedback. Review feedback from both your team as well as from your organization’s donors and beneficiaries, if possible. This will better help you better understand how your nonprofit is operating from all directions. 

Lastly, reflect on your organization’s overall vision, core values, and impact. Are you still living into your mission?


Phase 2: Take Inventory of the Present & Analyze the Four Key Functions of Your Organization

Take the time to review the four key functions of your organization: People, Strategy, Execution, and Cash. You can start by writing out the strengths, weaknesses, and trends in your space, and take that into analyzing your key functions. This will help you seriously align with what is going well and what might need more improvement. 


What are the inherent strengths of your organization that have been the source of your success? Why are you succeeding? 


What are the inherent weaknesses of the organization that aren’t likely to change? What is holding you back? Be self-aware here.


What are the significant changes in technology, distribution, product innovation, markets, donors, and social trends around the world that might impact your industry and organization? 


Phase 3: Effective Goal Setting to Scale Impact

Set your plan for three years from now. Then, reverse engineer and work backward to see what you would need to accomplish each year to get there. Again, keep in mind your organization’s key functions here and keep people, strategy, execution, and cash at top-of-mind while you plan. 

Then, set a theme for the upcoming year. Can you describe in one sentence how you want your year to unravel? What goals do you want to absolutely hit? 

Finally, set your objectives and key results. What goals do you absolutely want to hit? What key results can you set to measure if you have properly accomplished your objectives? 


Create a Rhythm

Find that strategic planning rhythm that works well for your organization. Repeat this process quarterly to ensure you can be as aligned with your nonprofit’s needs as possible. 

Cameron Ripley

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