Tips for a successful not-for-profit strategic plan

Tips for a successful not-for-profit strategic plan

Strategic planning can be difficult at a not-for-profit.

There’s often a concerted effort among not-for-profit donors, employees, and even executives to devote every possible resource and every ounce of energy to the beneficent goal of the organization.

Yet, without a well-constructed strategic plan, resources can be wasted, and the organization may never develop the focus and mechanisms needed to accomplish its goals. Worse, an organization without a strategic plan might never even figure out exactly what its goals are.

As an organization develops a strategic plan to guide its direction, it’s important for the CFO or someone from finance to be involved, said Bob Mims, CPA, CGMA, controller and director of investments at Ducks Unlimited, a membership organization with more than 450 employees devoted to wetlands preservation.

Mims participated in a strategic-planning process with Ducks Unlimited in 2011. During a session at the AICPA National Not-for-Profit Industry Conference in June, he shared the process that was successful during approximately four months of planning.

If you ask 10 people for a definition of a strategic plan, Mims said, you are likely to get 15 answers. He likes to think of a strategic plan as a successfully implemented marriage of desired program achievement and long-term financial or budgeting goals. Read more on the Journal of Accountancy.