Maximizing Your Impact Starts with Your Strategic Plan

For those of us who lived through the 1980s and even those who have just learned about them from famous cultural expositions like ABC’s “The Goldbergs,” greed and materialistic capitalism became hallmarks of that era. In fact, corporate icons like Peters and Waterman coined the term “Management by Walking Around (MBWA)” and Peter Drucker, the father of the modern management concept “Management by Objectives (MBO)” left indelible marks impacting us today. 

Drucker’s book espousing management theory centered around key goals dates to 1954 and has been increasingly applied in successive decades along with Hewlett-Packard’s success from 1973 onward in use of MBWA strategies have enshrined both into the lexicon of Fortune 500 and small business organizations.  Mainstream in the 1980s and beyond, they have inspired productivity and efficiencies as well as employee satisfaction, growth, and retention.

Actually, it should be no surprise that employees in organizations would be inspired and satisfied helping to achieve organizational objectives that advance common purposes. As stakeholders see a connection between personal ownership of goals and results combine with rewards for achieving personal and departmental goals that further the broader mission of the organization, natural enthusiasm and satisfaction are byproducts. More than 50 years later, these two prevailing theories for stakeholder satisfaction and effectiveness have impact on non-profit ministries.

·         Most who advocate for, serve, or support you want to be a part of effectively helping the hurting and lost.
·         They long to shape the future through education and life improvement.
·         Each one rightly desires to honor God as a steward meeting the most basic needs of the head, body, heart, and soul.

God has called your employees to work alongside you to pursue a mission for change that lasts! Your donors want to fund success for people now, in future generations, and for eternity. Community leaders and Christian men and women want to see real material, educational, and mental health needs met for this generation and the ones that follow. Your most committed Christian supporters and volunteers desire God’s best for those you serve here on earth but also His best for them into eternity.

How you plan for next week, next month, and next year determines how you execute a plan impacting those benchmarks in time. See a problem? Absent a plan with clearly defined objectives, you won’t know whether you met your goals. Your employees, volunteers, donors, and foundation or corporate partners won’t be able to latch onto a big vision or celebrate success of benchmarks met if you don’t have a plan with measurable objectives.

Planning is hard work, but worth the outcomes it can provide. Consider the following key elements:

·         Focus – What comprises your mission, vision, core values, and unique identity as a ministry?
·         Strategy – Do you have a strategic plan for advancing the whole organization, its operations, its growth, maintenance, and change? Does it contain no more than three or four organization-wide objectives for each plan year? Have you developed a program strategy for each of your ministry’s programs and services focused on delivery of your mission?  Have you incorporated solid plan objectives with essential fundraising and marketing strategies that strengthen current funding sources, develop new ones, and engage current and future stakeholders in securing success for your plan objectives and the larger organizational outcomes sought?
·         People – Do you have adequate support for plan objectives in the areas of leadership, program, operational, fundraising, and marketing/communications staff? Is your board invested in the plan? Have you recruited the right board members, trained them how to govern well and fundraise plus given them tools to meaningfully engage our stakeholders in achieving strategic planning goals?
·         Progress – Have you established a structure for quarterly goal and priority setting along with interactive engagement on goals progress with leaders, board, and staff which provides for ongoing measurement and adjustment? What annual objective and key results planning review points have you put on your calendar along with all-staff update meetings, methods, and deadlines to disseminate annual impact reporting to all stakeholders regarding objectives met and in progress?

Take a look at our Timothy Toons, Peter Drucker’s 5 Questions to learn what questions you should be asking. Give us a call if we can help you clarify your strategic plans.

About the Author:  Jody Fausnight, CFRE has worked in the fund development field for more than 25 years serving as a director of advancement, a community/public relations director with four non-profit organizations, and as a consultant. Jody has expertise in Christian school recruiting, public relations, fund development, and major gift cultivation strategies. He has successfully raised many millions on behalf of numerous organizations and has grown ministry development programs from the ground up on more than one occasion.

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