Outline of a Strategic Plan

Are you writing a Strategic Plan for a non-profit organization or government agency?  These are the relevant sections to include:

Why We Exist:  Use facts and statistics about client needs to remind stakeholders why the organization must be funded and supported.

Our Purpose:  The ongoing mission of the organization is stated, to set the scope and provide motivation for its activities.

What We Do:  Text and images to describe the organization’s programs, products, services or activities. Helps the reader understand how the mission is executed.

Who We Serve:  A clear statement of scope, i.e. who is eligible to be a client.  A client’s story may be a compelling element of the strategy.

Why We’re Exceptional:  Distinguishes the organization from others that offer similar services, operate within the same geographic area, or are part of the same network / structure of organizations.  Justifies why this organization should not be merged with others.

What We Believe:  The vision, values or principles that underlie the organization’s decisions.

Our Bottom Lines:  The organization’s priorities for balancing public service, client service, financial imperatives, and environmental sustainability.

Our Goals:  States the outcomes that will achieve the Purpose.  These are continuing goals for ongoing activities, needing only minor adjustment in each strategic planning cycle.  Include balancing revenue & expenses.

How We Make A Difference:  A “theory of change” or “logic model” diagram to show how the organization’s services and goals cause a series of effects leading to public benefits (systemic improvements).

What We Need to Change:  These objectives focus the organization’s efforts on making specific changes during the plan period.  Describes issues that need to be addressed.

Our Targets:  To measure and monitor the achievement of this strategy, it should include target dates for accomplishing change objectives, and target levels of performance metrics for ongoing goals.  The strategy will be backed up by more detailed plans and schedules.

How We Will Succeed:  Ensure the plan can be accomplished by identifying the necessary resources and other critical success factors, based on a risk analysis.

Who Gave Us Input:  Thanking contributors will also inform the reader about who was consulted.

How to Reach Us:  The reader may want to visit the website or contact the organization with questions.

This outline is based on my recent analysis of five strategic plans for non-profits (a hospital, a university, a government agency, and two charities) in the Strategy course of my Master’s degree.

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