Why Every Nonprofit Needs a Strategic Plan NOW

by | Apr 21, 2021 | Strategic Planning

Is your nonprofit’s leadership struggling to commit to a strategic plan or strategic planning process?

Do you have a plan that is uninspiring, outdated, or collecting dust on a shelf?

If so, today’s topic is designed to spotlight the most common excuses and most compelling reasons why every leader should want to complete a strategic plan immediately.

First, let’s address some of the most common excuses leaders use to avoid strategic planning:

  • COVID-19 (or any other life-altering event) has changed EVERYTHING! We need to get back to normal before we can even begin to plan long-term.
  • We are a new organization and need more time to confirm our identity before committing to long-term plans.
  • Our team creates an annual plan, and that has worked for us.
  • Board members cannot (or will not) commit to full-day planning retreats.
  • Staff can draft a plan for the board to review, provide input on, and approve.
  • We cannot afford (or want) to hire a professional facilitator.
  • Every plan we have created has failed.

Sound familiar? If so, you are not alone.

“Nearly 51% of nonprofits in the U.S admit that they do not have a written strategic plan.

At least 77% of nonprofits reported not having a leadership transition plan or a leadership-training program, and 65% are not intentionally using multi-generational teams to ensure leadership continuity on their staff or their boards.” (Concord Leadership Group).

No wonder nonprofits get messy!

Amid saving the world (or at least the community), leaders must engage in a constant battle of tug-of-war and reactive decision-making.

Board and staff waste valuable time with brainstorming processes that lead nowhere or navigating a culture of miscommunication and power plays.

You get the picture.

Getting your team to buy into a shared vision, work collaboratively, and achieve goals is no easy task. Still, a well-crafted strategic plan is vital to fostering a proactive and success-driven work culture.

For those leaders still convinced that a current and relevant strategic plan is not the top priority, consider the following:


5 Reasons Your Nonprofit Should WANT a Current and Relevant Strategic Plan

  • Increase your organization’s likelihood of success!

Studies reveal that organizations with a written plan more than DOUBLE their likelihood for success and that businesses with a plan grow on overage 30% faster!

  • Serves as a Travel Guide for Growth

A strategic plan defines a tangible destination and offers a roadmap to get there. Much like a travel guide, a strategic plan tells your team where you are going, what vehicles/tools you will use to get there, what speed you will be traveling, and how you  will know when you have arrived!

  • Acts as a Mediator

A well-crafted plan is detailed enough to keep team members from rushing down rabbit trails or idling in the same place for too long. An intentional planning process engages your team and community, so everyone is more likely to  assume ownership and “stick to the plan.”

All too often, the board and ED engage in non-focused conversations beginning with “I have a great idea” or “the ED /board should be doing this.” Rather than offend an individual who is getting off track, leaders can respond, “That is an interesting idea. Could you explain how this will get us closer to achieving one approved strategic plan goals?”

  • Its the Greatest Tool in Your Fundraising Kit

Donors want to invest in your impact, not your existence. A strategic plan captures your team’s vision for  growth and a future beyond “business as normal.”  Clearly defined goals, success indicators, strategies, and timelines help streamline fundraising efforts, share impact, and assure donors that you are a worthy  steward of their dollars.


Keep growing for good!

Why Fundraising Is Easier With a Strategic Plan In-Hand

Facilitating CONSENSUS BUILDING Conversations

Strategic Planning Process and the Product

Get Your Free Strategic Planning QuickStart Kit


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