Create a Strategic Plan You Will Actually Use

There are a few basic components to creating a successful strategic plan:

Your strategic plan should reflect your organization’s mission and goals.

What does your organization’s mission statement say? How many goals do you have?  Goals for a school district should include academic achievement, safety, and relationships with your community, and you can add other long-term goals.

The goals in your plan should be measurable.

A great way to measure success is to write a SMART goal. Your goal should be Specific, Measurable, Aligned to your strategic plan, Results-driven, and Time framed. A SMART goal could be:

“Increase volunteers at my school (or in my district) by 10% by May 31, 2018.”

Once you have SMART goals, you design a plan to achieve them. That plan will include broad strategies (how do we increase by 10%?) and tactics (the action steps to get there).

A broad strategy might be to create a volunteer recruitment initiative. The specific tactics or action steps for this recruitment initiative might include a volunteer expo, parent information night, social media announcements, presentations to local civic groups about volunteer opportunities, and other specific actions.

Report your results periodically.

If you present data about how your plan is doing, you will check the plan frequently. This level of accountability helps your organization stay on track.

Monitor and adjust your plan during the year.

If your plan is a living document, make changes when you are not satisfied with the data. Change your strategy or your action steps if necessary. Do not wait until the end of  the plan year respond to data reports. If you have not increased the number of volunteers in your organization after two quarterly reports, you need to do something differently. Study your data to help make your decision. Did you have poor attendance at your parent information night?  Why? Do you need to schedule another one, or should you do something different to achieve better results?

A strategic plan that reflects your organization’s priorities, with measurable goals that are monitored and reported, ensures you have a plan you will actually use.

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