The first post in this series discusses setting the foundation of the strategic plan with the right people at the table and the elements that describe who you are as an organization. Read Strategic Plans Section 1: Who We Are first, and come back here for part two.
With vision, mission, values and SWOT determined, it is time for your committee to put all of that information to good use setting goals to achieve by the timeline you set.
What does your organization want to accomplish in the next three to five years? You have already set a vision statement, thought about what you are good at, and brainstormed opportunities to capitalize on. What are the gaps between that vision and reality? What programs, buildings, and relationships need to exist to bring that vision to life? Use all of this information to set around five goals using the SMART goal framework. SMART goals are:
Instead of goals like “increase summer campers or create an adult retreat program,” a SMART goal would be “increase summer camp registrations by 20% every year for the next 5 years” or “develop a biannual adult retreat program with at least 40 participants in the next five years.”
Just like you have set a vision that describes exactly what success looks like, your goals should also define success. At the end of your strategic planning timeline, it should be clear whether your goals were achieved or not. This is where people start to get nervous. Try not to dwell on fear of failure here! Work to set reasonable goals, but if some of your goals aren’t reached, allow it to provide some important reflection points for the next planning period.
When you have chosen your goals, rate the organization’s current level of success at each goal. Keep in mind that the things you want to focus on may be extensions of projects you are already doing; successful plans don’t necessarily have all goals that start from scratch. Looking at your ratings will be helpful in the next section of evaluating how your current activities align to your goals and which activities or programs may need to be added to achieve success.
Current and Future Strategic Programs
Look at all the current programs your camp does and evaluate those against your goals. Beside each program, mark down which goals that program aligns to. This way, you can easily see which goals you are working toward and which goals will require new programming to achieve. What programs do you need to add or tweak, so you are actively working on toward all your goals? Brainstorm a list of programs that would move the needle on the goals that most need to be worked on.
When you’ve done the brainstorming, it’s time to narrow down by selecting which goals each program aligns to AND adding a timeline to each activity.When do you intend to accomplish this? Which things can you feasibly add this year, next year and so on? Sometimes we get excited about the possibilities on the list and have a tendency to want to start on all of them immediately. Don’t do this. You will overwhelm yourself; spread things out. Mark which year you want to start on each goal, so you have accountability and something to review later.
With SMART goals set, programs evaluated for alignment and new opportunities on the schedule for the next few years, you know exactly who you want to become as an organization. Now that we have a plan, in the next section we will figure out how to accomplish all of these new things. What resources will we need, and how will we procure them? Stay tuned!
Bringing all parties together to go through the steps of a strategic plan is hard to do, especially if you are inside the organization. The best strategic plans allow the stakeholders to be stakeholders without also being facilitators. If your organization is ready to pursue a strategic plan, allow Cabin 9 Consulting to serve your organization by facilitating conversations, asking the right questions and putting together all your hopes for your vision into something we can accomplish together. Contact us! We would be honored to work with you.