Do you want your nonprofit organization to meet its objective?
Make a strategic plan. Don’t know the first thing about writing a strategic plan? Find someone who does.
Resources abound to teach you how to put together an outline that will focus your passion into a mission. It’s important to consult those who have gone before you in the nonprofit world, so assemble a team of trusted advisors. Who are your models? Follow those guides, and lean into the planning stage. The process is long and of critical importance. If you want to guarantee success in your endeavor, take the time to create a detailed document that thoroughly plots your ideas into an actionable strategy.
The Elevator Pitch
What are your goals, and how will you reach them? What resources can you access to make it happen? Have a big idea and be able to articulate it. It’s important to be able to distill your vision and create a mission statement that is simple and understandable. You will hopefully be talking about your organization to lots of different people in lots of settings. Look at the problem you want to solve from many different angles. What questions will you get asked? Have solutions and a simple, digestible pitch.
Remember the business acronym SWOT. It stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This is all about knowing who you are, and how you can make a preemptive strike against what will go wrong (because it will). Be totally honest with yourself, what you rock and what you could use help with, and surround yourself with individuals who complete you and complement the things that you do best. Assemble the team! Where can you win? What threat might sink you?
Goals and Objectives
If a strategic plan is a roadmap, setting your goals is knowing your destination. You won’t get anywhere without that. And while the path may not be linear, if you remember where you want to end up, you won’t get lost.
Mission, Vision, and Values
Who are you, and for whom are you doing this? What do you stand for? You need to lay it out, for yourself, for your stakeholders, and for the wider audience. You may not please every person. Accept that and move on. Know yourself, trust your vision, clearly state your mission – and stand by your values
Assess Resources and Environment
Take a sober look at your finances, lines of credit, what grant money is available. Very often, the resources are there. You just need to seek them out and make your case. Test the waters with some outreach. Is there interest there? Does your community have deep pockets or the time and propensity for volunteerism? Use what you have at hand, but don’t be unrealistic. That idealism won’t serve you in the end.
Final Details and Review
Write your plan with purpose, in a timely fashion, then give it space. Give yourself a few days to live with it, make sure another pair of eyes (or three) looks at it for editing and proofreading. Have you made your case in a way that it will be understood by anyone you are pitching? If this is an idea that has been kicking around in your head for a while, make sure it makes sense to someone else. When you are sure you have dotted all the i’s and crossed all the t’s, hit the proverbial publish and make it official.
Do you have an idea for a nonprofit that has come to fruition? Become a contestant on Greenlight Maine. We will align you with experts who have been where you are, to help you rise next.