Most nonprofits and businesses running on social impact struggle in growing and implementing strategies. This is why having a strategic plan is optimal if an organization desires to have continuous and healthy operations.
A strategic plan is a process of documenting and establishing a direction by assessing both where you are and where you’re going. Consider it to be a road map in reaching your mission. The strategic plan gives you a place to record your mission, vision, and values, as well as your long-term goals and the action plan you’ll use to reach them. A well-written strategic plan can play a pivotal role in your growth and success because it tells you and your employees how best to respond to opportunities and challenges. A simple framework for social impact strategic planning is:
1) Identify the critical social need
Before crafting a strategy you must first identify, define, and understand the problem. When an organization’s leadership knows about the people you serve and other relevant data about your program and organization, your strategy improves, and you gain respect among your key audiences. You will be able to tell your story better, and your relationships and community impact will grow
a. Assessment of the community’s needs and interests, their perceptions of your effectiveness and reputation
b. An investigation into the impact of your current strategy.
C. Examination of your operational capacity
2) Creating a vision of how your organization can create a social impact
Developing a mission and vision that will answer the questions “Who we are?” and “Why do we exist?” sets the stage for a strong strategy.
3) Developing system-focused program strategies
Planning helps to turn your vision into reality, it determines what actions best support your Mission and Vision. Ensure that your plan is achievable from the examination of your operational capacity. Use tools such as logic models and scenarios to facilitate the development of desired outcomes and program strategies that build on findings.
4) Create an actionable strategy- Tactical Planning
Through measures and outcomes to guide the implementation of your plan.
Determine priorities, goals, and objectives
Draft the plan with clear benchmarks of success
Do not let your plan just be a plan. Be sure to utilize the planning framework and hold yourselves accountable to reach your goals.
5. Implement, Assess, and Refine
Coach leaders on implementation
Evaluate the success of the plan
The evaluation will help you learn whether you are producing results or social impact, it will help you gain insights into improving your programs and increase your social impact, show to funders and donors that your work is making an impact, and give you data for your next strategic plan.