Chora’s Strategic Plans are “living”, forward-looking documents to be fine-tuned as implementation advances. With a clear operational emphasis, they help guide staff on what to do next. Chora’s Strategic Plans are underpinned by rigorous assessments of the strategic situation, capability and capacity, as well as a benchmarking analysis.
Three key functions for managing any successful organization are setting expectations, assessing capability and capacity, and measuring performance. Many non-profit organizations set unrealistic expectations, do little or nothing about assessing capability and capacity, and measure performance loosely, if at all. With these shortcomings, even well-conceived plans are doomed to fail. Strategic planning delivers the first of these managerial functions by setting expectations and charting the path to achieving your vision. Strategic planning identifies how your organization can best transition from what it is to what it aspires to be. It requires determining ambitious but realistic goals, measurable intermediate results, and appropriate benchmarks to gauge progress along the way.
In broad outline, strategic planning is an integrated process comprising six steps:
- Assessing the current (internal and external) situation and preparing staff and Board for change;
- Laying out an achievable and inspiring vision as well as drafting statements that define where you wish to be at the end of the planning period and demonstrate the value of outcomes to your target audiences;
- Setting measurable objectives that will propel you from where you are to where you want to be;
- Building consensus among staff, chain of command, and Board to support the plan;
- Drafting annual operating and fiscal action plans to achieve the objectives of the strategic plan;
- Designing instruments to evaluate and communicate progress, and develop the flexibility to adapt the plan to evolving circumstances.
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