An organization's strategic plan serves as a roadmap for the next three to five years to show where an organization is headed, how it will get there, and how it will monitor progress in implementation.
Who should be involved in the process of creating a strategic plan? The board, organization, leadership, and staff, as well as external stakeholders.
A good strategic plan provides clarity internally (to the board, leadership, and staff) and externally (to funders, community partners, and the low-income population) about the organization's mission and its vision and/or values. The plan also identifies the goals to work toward the mission, strategies to achieve the goals, and action steps to implement who will do what and when.
Strategic planning starts with assessment of the most pressing legal needs and covers internal management, organization mission and growth, and relations with the external community. With critical legal needs in mind, the strategic plan:
- Informs the service delivery model
- Guides the organization's priorities and advocacy strategies
- Helps to identify and address gaps in services
The strategic plan should also include evaluation, not only of how effective the program is but also how effective management is. This can establish the baselines for the process and what progress looks like going forward.
In order to maintain momentum toward fully implementing a strategic plan, key individuals should be identified at the beginning. These key people would be responsible for accomplishing action steps. Regular check-ins should also be scheduled to guide any adjustments that may need to be made to the action steps or the schedule.
So where do you start?
- Step 1: A comprehensive needs assessment and priority setting
- Step 2: The strategic plan
- Step 3: Evaluations and adjustments