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Components of an Effective Strategic Plan

An effective strategic plan is comprehensive document that covers top priority areas of an organization’s work, such as governance, operations, staffing, programs and services, fundraising and finances, and facilities. Depending on the strategic planning scope and emphasis, a plan could address specific areas such as marketing, communications, fundraising, membership, or technology. The major components of a typical strategic plan are as follows:

A Mission Statement
This is a brief expression of the organization’s purpose. It answers the question: why do we exist?

A Vision Statement
This is a description of the organization’s desired future. It should be explicit, straightforward and concise. It answers the question: where do we want to be at least 20 years later if we have the resources we need?

A Core Values Statement
These are principles that guide how the organization is built, operates and delivers programs and services. It answers the question: what do we believe in?

Critical Issues
These are key priorities that we need to address in strategic planning; they are areas of interest or concern we would like to work on during the period we are planning for. These broad objectives must directly serve your mission. Usually, the SWOT analysis, among other tools, will help us identify these priorities.

Goals are desirable outcomes that may be focused on specific parts of the organization’s operations or programming. Goals should be articulated clearly enough that we could assess their progress in being achieved at any point in our process. For this purpose we develop SMART Goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound). A goal would answer the question: What do we want to accomplish?

A strategy is an approach, a tool or a set of tasks needed to achieve a certain goal. A strategy would answer the question: how will we accomplish this goal?

Action Plan
This is a set of coordinated actions to achieve a certain goal. It details the exact action steps, the timeframes, and the role of individuals involved.

Monitoring Process
This will provides guidelines on how the leadership of the organization will measure progress towards the implementation of the strategic plan.

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