5 Biggest Mistakes Made in Strategic Planning

We interviewed Carol Hamilton from Gracesocialsector.com about how nonprofit strategic planning could be improved. Not involving enough people. Often only senior leadership and the board do the planning, thinking they alone have the vision. But all levels of staff should participate to gain buy-in.

Surprisingly, there is often 80% agreement on goals across roles. Failing to operationalize the plan. A common mistake is creating an overly complex, long plan that gathers dust. The plan should be simple, focused, and integrated into existing processes. Define who will do what by when for the first year. Crafting an unrealistic plan.

While visionary, the plan must connect to current organizational capacity. If the goals are too aspirational without a path to achieve them, they won’t be implemented. Having too many goals. Limit the plan to 3-5 key goals maximum. No organization can successfully focus on more than that at once. Not designating responsibilities and timelines. For each goal, define concrete action steps and who will complete them by when. Don’t worry about years 2-5. Just focus on year one.