A Nonprofit Strategic Plan is a guide to operating your nonprofit for the foreseeable future. It should be continually referred to and read by all your organization’s stakeholders (the Board of Directors, staff, and essential volunteers). To provide the most benefit to your team, it’s critical to understand what goes into a Nonprofit Strategic Plan and how to use this valuable tool.
Letter From The Board of Directors
This cover letter addresses anyone reading the Strategic Plan. Share your plan with stakeholders who can help you achieve the organization’s mission. That said, a Strategic Plan is not a fundraising tool. While potential fundraisers and grantmaking foundations will appreciate that your organization has a plan, the introduction letter is not intended to welcome key donors to fund your organization.
The Executive Summary is a concise recap of everything contained throughout the plan.
Problem and Solution Analysis
Filled with research and statistics, the Problem Statement identifies the issue(s) your organization addresses. Then, the Solution section addresses how your organization tackles these challenges.
Sometimes called a Client Profile, the Market section provides information about the demographics of your target population. This section gives a clear picture of the individuals who may need your organization’s services.
Many nonprofits don’t believe they compete with other nonprofits, but in many ways, you do. You compete for donors and funding (especially in smaller markets), and you also compete for volunteers and high-quality staff members. This section identifies a few local competitors while detailing your organization’s strategic advantage to the community.
Identifying and understanding your organization’s stakeholders is essential. This analysis gives you an idea of who is on the team and what value they add.
The SWOT Analysis is a critical portion of the Strategic Plan. It identifies the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats your organization faces. While it’s easy to celebrate strengths, it’s essential to fully acknowledge the weaknesses, too. This way, your stakeholders know what to work on. Additionally, identifying potential opportunities will help your organization grow, while understanding the threats will prevent you from being surprised should they come to pass.
A great Strategic Plan has goals that can be achieved in the next one to three years. These goals should help your organization expand funding, offer new services, maintain compliance, and reach new clients. Keeping the goals front of mind will ensure your stakeholders are all working to achieve them together.
A nonprofit cannot exist without diversified and extensive fundraising. The Financial Plan section explains your organization’s current and planned funding tools and projected financial statements for the coming years. These projections help the organization know if it’s working toward its financial goals or lagging behind the projections established.