A Case for Strategic Planning at Sunset Community: Where Are We Now?

Welcome back to the Brighter Strategies’ case study series on strategic planning. The last blog article described steps one and two in Sunset Community’s strategic planning journey. This article looks at steps three and four.

Step Three: Identifying the organization’s strengths, problems, opportunities, and threats through a SPOT analysis

After establishing the foundation for Sunset Community’s strategic plan, Sue initiated the SPOT analysis. This examination of internal and external factors (strengths, problems, opportunities, and threats) acted as the final information gathering process to capture where the organization is, before determining where it should be. It required several meetings of the strategic planning taskforce to ensure due diligence.

Sue and her team met four times, dedicating one meeting to each of the below SPOT categories. They examined historical data, looked at current organizational and employee information, conducted a market analysis, and engaged in scenario planning. As a result, they created the below SPOT analysis for Sunset Community:

StrengthsRich history of tradition

Diverse client programs

Positive reputation in community

Strong organizational leadership

ProblemsLack of external financial resourcesHigh staff turnover

Slow to integrate technological advances

Facility is at capacity – no room for intakes

OpportunitiesGrowth is imminent with aging populationLand is available for expansion

New government funding availability

Rebranding/marketing campaign

ThreatsMarket for competitors is ripeOrganizational opposition to change

Impending new regulations

Shifts in consumer preference

Please note that this is a “snapshot” of a comprehensive SPOT analysis. In addition to listing all of the possible strengths, problems, opportunities, and threats, a SPOT should include supporting documentation and data.

Step Four: Setting strategic organizational goals
Once all corners of an organization are examined, it’s time to set some goals! The SPOT identifies where the organization is, and the goals (also called objectives) illustrate where it wants to be. Like everything a nonprofit does, strategic objectives must link back to the organization’s mission, vision, and values because goals are a reflection of these foundational elements.

Sue introduced the goal-setting process with a discussion of Sunset’s value proposition. A value proposition describes how a company delivers value to stakeholders and clients. It is the solution to customers’ problems, and a lens through which goals are developed. A value proposition can focus on operational excellence, market leadership and innovation, and/or customer intimacy.

To determine Sunset Community’s value proposition, Sue asked several leaders in the marketing and sales functions to attend one of the strategic planning team meetings. During this meeting, the group reviewed the SPOT analysis and decided that Sunset could be most effective when it focused primarily on customer intimacy, with operational excellence as a secondary target. They wrote, revised, re-wrote, and finalized (no one said this process was going to be easy!) the below proposition:

Sunset Community helps senior people to experience comfortable, safe, and happy lives by connecting them to customized care and activities promoting physical, mental, social, and emotional well-being.

This statement incorporates Sunset’s mission and vision and blends a focus on the client (customer intimacy) and the nonprofit (operational excellence).

The next blog article will outline Sunset’s specific goals based on this value proposition, as well as the metrics that show evidence of goal completion. Stay tuned!

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