Voluntary Sector Strategic Planning – Why Bother?

Whether your organisation is a small organisation without a constitution, or you are embarking on setting up a new organisation or your organisation is a large charity with a long standing history strategic planning should lead and provide the direction for the organisation. Small organisations may feel a strategic plan is not for them.  This is not the case.  It should be clear to anyone working or volunteering for a voluntary sector club, company or charity what is the purpose and the priorities.

A strategic plan may take a number of guises such as Corporate Plan, Business Plan and not to be confused with an Annual Report, sometimes known as an Annual Review, which charts progress of an organisation during a financial year and often informs about the strategic vision.

For people who are setting out a new voluntary sector organisation the process of producing a Strategic Plan is tedious, pointless, too time consuming with the urge to get on with delivering that much needed service.  It is wise to hold back and think things through properly.  This need not be such an arduous task.  The steps are really simple and worth going through. 

The first stage is to define the mission and vision.  Often these are labelled as ‘Mission Statements’ and ‘Vision Statement’.   This might seem like stating the obvious but these are critical statements for ensuring that the right jobs and tasks get done.  New people may arrive to the organisation, time may pass by and people lose sight of what the purpose of an organisation is.  When that happens targets and goals do not get met, people become de-motivated and stressed, funders start to withdraw and most important of all, the people and the community that your organisation has set out to help and support are the ones that get forgotten about.

The Mission Statement is the overall purpose of the organisation and the Vision Statement sets out the objectives of the organisation.  A good Strategic Plan will include strategies for achieving the objectives, specific targets with timescales, assign responsibilities to individuals / departments / committee, a process for reviewing progress and modifying plans. 

The frequency of how often a Strategic Plan is produced is a matter for each individual organisation and whilst should be seen as the plan for all who work there it is ultimately the responsibility of the governing body to ensure that it is credible, realistic, achievable and that support and resources are available to meet the targets and objectives.

Picture: Pixabay