The importance of strategic planning

At the beginning of each year a committee or board should hold a strategic planning session to identify tasks and activities for the upcoming year, with the aim of developing an action plan for the next twelve months.

While unplanned events do occur, it is important for an organisation to envisage the activities it plans to undertake throughout the year. This will ensure that the organisation knows what resources it requires to implement this plan.

Depending on the size of an organisation, it may be dependent on volunteers to implement specified activities or may have paid staff available to help coordinate these plans.

In either case, the necessary skills that are required need to be identified and ideally people should be designated against these tasks. In addition this will allow for a timeline to be established to ensure that resources are not being spread too thinly.

A framework will ensure that necessary activities are able to be delivered and identify any gaps in implementation or expertise. Where gaps have been identified it is worth considering how these can be resolved to ensure that the plan can be delivered as required.

It is often worthwhile ensuring that someone is appointed as a coordinator to oversee the implementation of the plan and report regularly to the committee or board on its progress. This way any potential modifications or issues can be dealt with effectively and efficiently.

While an organisation’s Executive Officer or relevant staff member would often fulfil this coordination role, in smaller organisations it may be a specific volunteer or committee member who would be delegated with these responsibilities.

The coordinator should have the authority to implement the plan according to the resources and budget that has been approved by the committee or board. If modifications are required, these may require committee or board approval, depending on the significance of these changes.

Many activities require similar steps and an organisation should encourage the sharing of knowledge and expertise to assist in strengthening the skills and capabilities of staff and volunteers.

A significant number of volunteers do so to improve and utilise their skills and the effective sharing of knowledge will help achieve these results.

At the end of the twelve months the implementation of the plan should be evaluated so that an organisation is able to benchmark its success and identify what went well, as well as any areas that require improvement.

In subsequent years an organisation will be able to use this framework as a basis for future planning when determining the activities it wishes to organise.

Alex Makin

Author Alex Makin

In a career spanning over fifteen years, Alex has been instrumental in transforming, reinvigorating and growing the capacity of businesses and not-for-profit organisations. He is a visionary who understands the big picture. Alex's expertise is a Certified Practising Marketer and as Chair of the Victorian State Council of the Australian Marketing Institute. Alex is also an accomplished speaker, author and mentor and former Mayor and Councillor for the City of Maroondah.

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