Keep your strategy clear

Where is your nonprofit headed and how do you plan to get there?

The strategic plan you create to tell that story should be short, to the point, and easy to understand.

Your plan should spell out the need you address, and the people and places you serve.

It should describe — simply — what you do, how you do it, the challenges you face as an organization, what you propose to do, and the difference you will make.

It should give the reasons, supported by research, facts and clear logic, that lead you to believe you will show success.

And it should identify the indicators you will use to measure your success, and should quantify the success you expect to show.

If you have partners, say who they are, how you work together, and why working together will help you better deliver programs and services.

Provide a budget summary that shows your projected costs and revenue, and makes it easy for anyone to see at a glance where you will be getting and spending your money.

And describe how you will raise money and secure other resources, how much revenue you will generate, who you expect to support you, and why you will be able to raise money and generate revenue.

Your plan also should include a short history of your organization, and clear, brief, jargon-free statements of your vision, or your dream for the community you serve, and your mission, or your role in making that dream come true.

Keep your use of data or graphics, if any, to a minimum, and use them only to make or illustrate a point.

And take the time needed to make sure your staff and board understand your plan, can explain it clearly and simply, and will use it to inform their daily work.

Your strategic plan, like a user-friendly map, should make it easy for your board, staff, donors and other partners to see where you are going and how you will get there.

Want help?

Philanthropy North Carolina is a consulting practice that provides writing and strategic communications support for nonprofits, foundations, colleges and universities, and others working for social good.

To find out more about hiring Philanthropy North Carolina to work with your organization to improve your communications, contact Todd Cohen at 919.272.2051 or

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