How To Build An Actionable Nonprofit Strategic Plan Template

Having a strategic plan for your nonprofit organization is the first step—but it needs to be actionable to be effective. Find out how to build yours today.

Does your nonprofit organization need to narrow down its mission? Having extraordinary goals and wanting to reach them is wonderful—but having too broad of a focus can cause strategic issues. This is why you need a strategic plan.

One of the best solutions for this is using a nonprofit strategic plan template, which can act as a roadmap for how to achieve your specific overall mission. It details the actionable steps you need to take by breaking your mission down into objectives, which you can then break down further into measures and projects.

Check out these sample non-profit strategy maps to use as a template for building your own strategic plan.

How To Build An Actionable Nonprofit Strategic Plan Template

How To Build An Actionable Nonprofit Strategic Plan Template

1. Look at your mission and make sure part of it is an achievable stretch goal.

If your value proposition isn’t clearly defined, it will be much harder for you to build out objectives. We recommend assessing your value by examining your “OAS”:

  • Objective: This is also called your vision or mission—it details why your organization exists.
  • Advantage: What do you do better, differently, or more efficiently than anyone else?
  • Scope: What are you doing (or not doing) to achieve your objective?

If your mission spans a time longer than 10 years (i.e. “cure cancer”), you’ll want to break it down into achievable stretch goals in shorter intervals. (Remember, your mission is the most critical part of your nonprofit, so it should be placed at the top of your strategic plan outline.)

2. Set your objectives.

The white bubbles in the example above are the objectives that go along with each perspective:

  • Customer: “What are we going to do to serve the people that are part of our scope and mission?” Note that your customers are not your stakeholders—it’s the constituents you serve.
  • Financial: “How are we going to get that money and spend it wisely?”
  • Internal: “What can we do to meet our financial goals, which in turn allows us to serve our constituents?”
  • Learning and growth: “What should our team be doing internally to make sure we’re able to meet our internal goals, and in turn meet our financial goals and serve our constituents?”

3. Create your measures.

Your measures—also called metrics or key performance indicators (KPIs)—will help you decide if you’re on track to meet your objectives. You’ll need to be able to demonstrate to your stakeholders that you are making progress toward your goals, and measures are the best way to do this.

For example, a stakeholder likely wants to know that his or her donation is being spent appropriately—so it’s critical to be transparent and have a way to demonstrate that you are spending the money to better serve your constituents.

4. Select initiatives.

Initiatives (which are also called projects) help you improve the status of your measures and reach your objectives. You’ll want to be certain that these initiatives are really contributing to the cause of the organization and are directly tied to your objectives.

see all initiatives in ClearPoint gantt chart

5. Report on your strategy as a whole.

Tracking your nonprofit strategic plan template is the first step—but you also need to be able to report on your progress regularly. Reporting should happen both internally and to stakeholders so everyone involved can review your progress. You’ll want to:

  • Discuss whether or not you’re on track with your measures. If they are amber or red, you should be able to dive deeper into the reasons why.  See your status indicators as a flashlight (to discover why you are having problems) and not a stick (to blame people for the problems your organization is having).
  • Discuss the reasoning behind your budget allocation. Many stakeholders want to know that their donations are going straight to the cause. This makes it all the more critical to discuss why you have allocated a portion of your budget to operations and provide context behind that decision.

Download Now: Balanced Scorecard Strategy Maps For Nonprofits & Charities

Using a strategic plan outline for your nonprofit organization is one of the best ways to communicate your goals and achieve your objectives. But if you need more examples—or simply aren’t sure where to start—download this free set of five strategy maps. They’ll help you understand how other nonprofits and charities have experienced success from their strategy maps and why you should think about creating one yourself.

How To Build An Actionable Nonprofit Strategic Plan Template