What’s a strategic plan and why is it so important?

If you are leading a small charity it can be hard to find the time and space for strategic planning against the competing priorities of back to back meetings and managing the needs of your staff, trustees and other stakeholders.  

Yet, without a strategic plan you lose your North star; decision making becomes more challenging because you’re not sure of the long term plan and the team around you can start to wander in different directions, seeking different outcomes or prioritising different tasks, which makes your job even more challenging.

If you’re wondering what’s the point of having a plan in the first place, here are 5 reminders:

Clear Direction – It gives you and your team a clearer direction of what you’re trying to achieve and how you are going to approach your goals.  It provides a framework for staff, trustees or stakeholders to make informed decisions that fit with the aims of the organisation.

New Business – It helps you to attract new partners, funders, staff members and gives them a sense of your organisations’ ambitions and priorities which they can assess against their own values and priorities.

Improved decision-making – Strategic plans help you to avoid going round in circles over your organisation’s priorities, which in turn will make your board and team meetings more productive

Impact measurement – Provides a structured way to gather feedback on organisation’s learning journey and measure impact which builds your credibility your organisational reputation

Effective communication – It provides clarity and consistency on how you and your stakeholders articulate your vision, mission and values which strengthens your organisational brand

So if you were procrastinating over the merits of creating a strategic plan I hope you have been reassured.

One non-negotiable for creating a successful strategic plan is you need to involve your staff team, trustees and stakeholders.  Co-creating your strategic plan with your staff team will ensure everyone’s ideas are shared and considered and builds a strong sense of value and teamwork.  If your staff team isn’t on board with your strategic plan you run the risk of creating a document that looks good but doesn’t really get used.   After all, without your staff team there would be no organisation.

Look out for my next article when I will share the process we use at Animo to engage staff every step of the way.  Sign up here to receive these articles straight to your inbox.

Kate Chester is Co-Founder of Animo Leadership and leads our strategic consultancy work with clients in the charity and public sectors. You can book a discovery call with Kate using this link: https://calendly.com/coaching-with-kate/discovery-call

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