5 Tips for Leading Your Non-Profit through Strategic Planning
5 Tips for Leading Your Non-Profit through Strategic Planning

5 Tips for Leading Your Non-Profit through Strategic Planning

Over the past decade, the number of non-profits has grown by 30 percent, increasing the competition for funding and top-caliber talent. Executive directors and board members need to think more strategically to keep their organizations healthy, but major roadblocks often stand between non-profits and strategic planning.

Non-profit consultant Jane Page-Steiner’s recent Paycor webinar delineated for non-profits how to conduct successful strategic planning, including the following five tips.

1. Demonstrate commitment from leadership

Many organizations are focused on day-to-day issues and putting out routine administrative fires, but leaders must prioritize long-term strategy. There’s no trick to doing that; it’s simply a matter of making the decision at the leadership level and committing to carving out time. To do so, executive directors might need to delegate some tasks to other committees or staff members to free up their schedules.

Once strategic planning has been conducted, leadership must maintain focus on the plan, work to change organizational behavior and structure and develop the resources to implement the plan.

2. Conduct pre-planning

Identify three to six people to make up a pre-planning team that will steer the planning process, working with a combination of board and staff leadership and possibly an outside consultant. This will make meetings with the full board much more productive.

Pre-planning should include:

* Defining objectives and the scope of planning: Does the organization need to revisit its vision and mission? Will the new plan be internal or broad and community-based? What will be the duration of the new plan period?
* Determining the planning timeline: Generally, it’s three to six months or even as long as a year, depending on how much pre-work is done.
* Preparing documents and planning agenda.
* Assessing your current status. Each board member will see the organization somewhat differently. It can be helpful to conduct surveys or one-on-one interviews to paint the full picture. Those tactics, as well as focus groups and community research, can help you understand the community’s perception of your organization and provide feedback on ideas for new programming.

3. Perform an internal analysis

When you take a deeper look at your organization, consider these five key points:

* Financial status and trends: Do you need to replace major equipment or conduct a capital campaign? Is your fundraising program providing enough revenue to sustain your work?
* Current programs and services: Are they still effective? Do any need to be tweaked or even eliminated?
* Organizational and board performance: How is the board performing? How could its members be more effective?
* Structures and staffing: Do you need new leadership? Are all committees necessary and functional?
* Bylaws and policies: Are your key documents updated and relevant? It’s helpful to create a board retreat packet in advance so important papers can be referred to throughout planning meetings.

4. Consider areas of focus

Think about your organization’s priorities as you determine which need to be addressed during strategic planning. For example:

* Mission and programming: Are there programs you want to launch or enhance? To do so, do you need to develop any key partnerships?
* Leadership development: Do you need to hire more staff? Do you need to develop your board? Does it have the right makeup of skills and connections?
* Sustainability and revenue development: Run a deep analysis of the current situation as well as financial trends. Do you see any opportunity to create a social enterprise?
* Marketing: What's the perception of your organization in the community? How can you have a higher profile and be more recognized?

5. Communicate the results

Once your plan is in place, share the outcome of your hard work, both internally and externally.

Within the community, publicize your highest priorities and your focal points for the plan’s duration.

Within your organization, as you move forward, don’t forget to share progress on the plan with staff and volunteers. Remember that you can (and should) make adjustments to the plan if something just isn’t working, and make a point of thanking and recognizing everyone whose work supports the plan.


For more expert advice from Jane Page-Steiner, *download her recent Paycor webinar

And if you’re inspired to focus on strategy but feel too pressed for time, explore the ways Paycor’s HR and payroll technology can put an end to manual processes and disconnected data throughout your organization, allowing you and your staff to focus on the mission. View this 2-minute demo and contact a Paycor representative for additional information.

More to Discover

Case Study: Baptist Bible College

Case Study: Baptist Bible College

In need of more robust HR & payroll technology to handle their complex needs, Baptist Bible college discovered an expert partner in Paycor. “In our industry, keeping up with payroll, taxes and compliance is very challenging. But Paycor’s specialized higher education team gives me the peace of mind we’re covered. From proactive compliance alerts and user groups to a dedicated industry contact, Paycor is a partner I trust to helps us eliminate risk." - Jason Todd, Vice President, Finance Why Baptist Bible College left their previous HR & payroll provider Founded in 1950 in Springfield Missouri, Baptist Bible College is a private Christian college that specializes in ministry and professional studies degrees. Like many small...

Mental Health in the Workplace: 5 Ways Employers Can Make a Difference

Mental Health in the Workplace: 5 Ways Employers Can Make a Difference

The effect of mental health on workers—and the workplace—is staggering. Just consider the statistics: 1 in 5 US adults experience mental illness each year (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Up to 80% will manage a diagnosable mental health condition during their lifetime (National Institutes of Health) In fact, 60% of American workers experienced at least one symptom of a mental health condition in the past year (Mind Share Partners) However, only 43.3% of US adults with mental illness actually receive treatment (National Alliance on Mental Illness) The results are stark: 200 million work days are lost per year (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), while the World Health Organization estimate the cost to the global economy at...

Banker

CFOs’ Biggest Challenges in 2020

CFOs’ Biggest Challenges in 2020

It’s never a bad time to look forward to changes that might have an impact on the business… especially financially. Many CFOs find that they’re faced with four primary areas of focus in 2020: People, money, data and technology, with some overlap among the four. Here we’ll briefly cover our predictions for the challenges heads of finance will likely face in the coming year. Challenge 1: Attracting and Retaining Talent Finding new ways to thrive despite a very tight labor market continues to plague businesses overall in 2020. But the finance department is discovering that it’s increasingly challenging to find people to build out their teams. Ten years ago, the three areas finance hires were judged on were accounting, auditing, and...

Case Study: Detroit Zoological Society

Case Study: Detroit Zoological Society

Finding a partner with the same set of values led the Detroit Zoological Society to Paycor. “When we evaluate partners, it’s important to find someone with the same cultural fit as our organization. Paycor treats us as a partner, not a client". - Robert Schumaker, Director of Finance Why the Detroit Zoological Society Left Their HR and Payroll Provider The Detroit Zoological Society (DZS) is a renowned leader in humane education, wildlife conservation, animal welfare and environmental sustainability. A staple in the Detroit community for 91 years, the DZS employs up to 500 workers during peak season to serve thousands of visitors each year. But when their previous provider failed to deliver responsive and accurate customer service, they...