A Case for Strategic Planning at Sunset Community: How Do We Keep the Plan Dust-free?

Sue and her team have reached the end of the road. They successfully completed the most difficult part of the strategic planning journey . Now they must pull all of their analysis, goals, and measures together in a written plan, to be disseminated to internal and external stakeholders.

Step Six: Writing and communicating the strategic plan

The strategic taskforce had documented each step of the process along the way, making the final step much easier to complete. They organized the Sunset Community strategic plan per the following format:

  • Executive summary: the standalone introduction and comprehensive, succinct summary of the entire strategic plan
  • Organization description: the origin and history of Sunset, an explanation of programs, and an overview of customers and markets
  • Mission, vision, and values statements: Sunset’s MVV statements determined in step two
  • SPOT analysis: a snapshot of Sunset’s strengths, problems, opportunities, and threats examined in step three
  • Goals and strategies: Sunset’s Balanced Scorecard 
  • Appendices: action plans for specific objectives, data gathered through the strategic analysis, ongoing financial reports, etc.

Sunset identified which stakeholders would receive the complete written plan, including all appendices (senior leaders and Board members), which groups would see only the body of the plan (employees, clients, volunteers, and family members), and which individuals would prefer the executive summary (funders and regulatory agencies).

Finally, Sunset ensured that all of the blood, sweat, and tears invested in plan development and writing were not in vain. Sue’s team designed and launched the following communication plan to disseminate the strategy and incorporate it within the culture of the organization—both inside and outside of its four walls.

  • Every Board member and senior leader received a copy of the full plan, with the directive to read, comprehend, and explain it in simple language.
  • Sue understood that most employees would not read the plan in its entirety. Therefore, all employees were given a fact sheet with the plan’s main highlights—again, in simple language.
  • Sunset’s leaders posted the nonprofit’s new mission, vision, and values statements on the walls of the facility and created cards with the written statements for distribution to employees, clients, and family members.
  • Sunset’s marketing team began publishing portions of the plan in newsletters and promotional materials.
  • Finally, Sunset’s learning and development department worked with representatives from the strategic planning team to conduct short, ongoing training sessions aimed to teach all staff and Board members about the plan.

The second article in this series references two additional steps in strategic planning—execution and review. In basic terms: Just do it! Sunset’s plan implementation included annual review, with the strategic planning team re-convening yearly to ensure goals were on track and to make adjustments, if necessary. This process ensured that Sunset Community’s strategic plan would not collect dust on a shelf.

Now it’s your turn to start planning! What’s the first step you need to take? We are happy to talk to you more about strategic planning, as well as the specific opportunities and challenges your nonprofit is facing. Please contact us at 703.224.8100 for more information.

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