strategic planning


Strategy is about defining the direction your organisation wants to take and then allocating the resources and managing the risks to get the organisation to where it wants to be.  Organisations need to analyse their external environment and look at their existing strengths and weaknesses as part of this process.  

Business planning

A business plan is a detailed plan showing how resources will be managed to achieve the strategic plan. It includes detailed operational and financial information such as budget projections, which indicate how the organisation will resource its activities and be able to meet is objectives in the future. Business plans often cover a 3 year period. A business plan is also used to present its feasability of a particular new initiative.

Analyse the External Environment

Organisations need to have information about the challenges, opportunities and future trends, inside and outside. So whether your organisation is just starting up or is already established, the first step in the planning process is to assess the external and internal position of an organisation. A SWOT analysis is one method commonly used to identify.

S - Strengths 

W - Weaknesses

O - Opportunities

T - Threats 

Managing change

They may be as a result of internal developments (e.g. loss of key staff or Management Committee expertise) or external developments (e.g. a reduction in funding sources).  The leadership role of the Management Committee in ensuring that the organisation is able to move smoothly through a period of change is crucial

Managing change effectively

Voluntary organisations encounter many milestones including:

Strategic Options in Managing Change

Thinking strategically as a management committee involves analysing the organisation's internal and external environment and being responsive to change.  Sometimes the challenges which these present will require making some difficult decisions regarding activities, services or the overall role or function of the organisation.

In these circumstances, the committee must be able to stand back and take a strategic view of the options open to them.

Strategic Plan Step 2: Where Are We Now?

Those involved in the strategic planning process must start with reviewing the present circumstances and characteristics of the organisation.

In order to plan for the future, you first need to reach a common understanding of the present circumstances.  To answer this question you will need to focus discussions on two key areas:

  1. Analysing the external and internal environment; and
  2. Reviewing (or developing) the vision, mission and values of the organisation.

1. Analysing the External and Internal Environment

Example Strategic Plans

Every organisation develops its own way of documenting their strategic plan.  However, it is often useful to have a look at the approach taken by other similar organisations for useful ideas on presentation and structure.

Many organisations include their strategic plans on their websites.  You may find it useful to look at the following examples from: