Tap into Your Greater Potential through Your Strategic Plan

“Visioneering Your Organization” AFPSEWI Webinar Watch Recap

Woman standing looking at snow covered mountain in the distanceIf your strategic plan is collecting dust, then your potential is as well. During the AFP SEWI “Visioneering Your Organization” webinar watch, area AFPSEWI professionals discussed the importance of strategic planning to lead to the success of both their department and their organization. 

So what can go wrong with strategic planning? If you are completing it to check a box or using it to set annual work plan goals, then you are making a common mistake which is holding you back.

A strategic plan provides greater direction to push both your development work and your organization’s work forward. Barbara O’Reilly, CFRE and Principal of Windmill Hill Consulting, shared some resources and guiding questions to lead to strategic planning success. When starting the planning process, it is important to understand the landscape of the internal and external factors surrounding your organization. To assess your internal status, try the SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) assessment. To better understand your external status, try the PESTLE assessment which examines political, economic, sociological, technological, legal and environmental influences. 

If you are doing your strategic plan by yourself, or only with senior leadership, then you’re doing it wrong. Stakeholder feedback is crucial to have a well-informed plan with buy-in. Consult past, current and potential board members and donors, as well as staff members to ensure that your organization’s direction is well-rounded and well known. 

Unlike an annual work plan, your strategic plan should stretch your department and organization to the next level. With the ultimate goal of “100% mission accomplishment,” it is crucial to focus on high-impact areas that are doable. Goals should be attainable yet slightly out of reach, needing 2-3 years to achieve. Plan objectives, phased over multiple years, to ramp up to goal achievement.

So you’ve assessed your internal and external factors, gotten stakeholder feedback and planned phased goals that stretch you to the next level. Now what? If you put the strategic plan on the shelf or lose it in your computer folders, then you are limiting your potential. Consult your strategic plan often to provide alignment for your department and organization’s annual and daily work flow, as well as use it to course correct and pivot when the unexpected occurs, ensuring that your end goal is top of mind. 

Thank you to AFPSEWI for coordinating this webinar watch and for bringing together area fundraising professionals to discuss the impact of strategic planning!

Article submitted by Emily Schober, Director of Advancement, Nativity Jesuit Academy