Friday, March 13, 2015

3 Reasons Why You Need A Strategic Plan

"If you don't know where you are going, you'll end up someplace else." - Yogi Berra

When you're at work, can you see how your daily tasks fit into the "big picture"? Are the different departments in your organization working together toward the same common goal? Is it challenging to get things done on time?

Earlier this year we wrote about one of the keys to achieving fundraising success.

Here's another key to achieving fundraising success: a strategic plan.

Strategic planning expert John M. Bryson defines a strategic plan as "a deliberate, disciplined effort to produce fundamental decisions and actions that shape and guide what an organization (or other entity) is, what it does, and why it does it.1"

Why is having a strategic plan important for achieving fundraising success? Here are 3 reasons.

1. A strategic plan gives a sense of orientation and direction.

The clearly outlined objectives in a strategic plan act as the roadmap that orients an organization so that everyone knows where they are, where they need to go, and how and when they are going to get there. Fundraising is hard work, and it's only made harder when you don't have a clear understanding of what is expected of you or if what's expected of you keeps changing.

2. A strategic plan creates an environment of efficient, focused teamwork.

It's hard to do your job as a fundraiser if you're going in one direction, your CEO's going in another direction, and your board is going in a third, completely different direction. With a strategic plan, everyone uses the same roadmap. This means that everyone - and every individual department - is on the same page and working toward the same goals. Instead of conflict and chaos, you've got a team effort. When everyone is using the same roadmap, your organization becomes an efficient machine - and fundraising becomes a lot easier.

A roadmap also helps you to avoid making wrong turns or being blown off course. If, for example, one of your superiors suggests something that doesn't forward your fundraising goals, you can politely say, "That's a great idea and it's something we should talk about in the future. But right now, it's not something I can address because it's not part of our strategic plan."

3. A strategic plan supports your organization's integrity (and that's really important to donors).

A main part of a strategic plan is a schedule or calendar with all deadlines mapped out. Having this type of timeline - and sticking to it - helps to ensure that promises are kept and outcomes are delivered in a timely manner. This builds your organization's integrity, which in turn builds trust between your organization and the public - and research shows that people give to organizations that they trust2.

Interested in learning more about strategic plans or how Giving Focus can help you with yours? Contact Andrea today.

1Bryson, J. M. (2004). Strategic planning for public and nonprofit organizations. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

2Sargeant, A. (2001, November). Public trust and confidence. Charities Aid Foundation Annual Conference, London.

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