How to undertake strategic planning for your NGO

Dr Saumya Arora About Dr Saumya Arora

Dr. Saumya Arora is a development professional with cross-disciplinary experience in project management, resource mobilization, donor relationship management, community mobilization and project execution at the field level. She is currently working towards building fundraising and resource mobilization capacity of community-based organizations, apart from developing functional linkages with donors across the world.

Someone has rightly said that without a plan, a goal is only a wish. In the context of your NGO also, it holds true. Despite having a mission and a vision, an organization might be going on a path to nowhere, as these are very broad statements, and do not provide a clear direction, or do not ‘steer’ the organization. To have a clear and actionable plan, it takes a lot of churning of ideas and experiences sharing among all the key stakeholders, which will direct the board to have a strategic plan for the organization.

It can be said that there cannot be good governance without a strategic plan. A good balance is required in the mission and vision with which the organization was formed and current challenges and the complex milieu where the organization is placed.

         Here is how to form a strategic plan for your NGO:

  1. Decide who will facilitate the discussions and who will participate. Ensure all key stakeholders participate in the process, as that is the best way possible to devise a strategic plan.
  2. The analysis must begin with an attempt towards understanding the internal environment, which means identifying strengths and weaknesses of the organization. What are the core strengths, core competencies of your NGO? Why are donors giving to your NGO? What makes your organization thrive in a competitive and complex environment? These are some of the questions to answer to better understand the internal strengths.
  3. Next comes the analysis of the external environment. This involves studying what are the opportunities and threats that the external environment holds. What are the pain points and critical issues in front of the NGO?
  4. Prioritise: After listing these, there is a need to prioritize the things to be done. Now, as per priorities, you will need to write short term plans in sync with the larger goals of the organization.
  5. The next step is to plan for any additional resources requirement, including financial resources; and then to allocate these resources.
  6. Now after reaching the planning phase, financial planning is the most important and crucial step. Involve your finance team also for a sound financial planning.
  7. For strategic planning and organization-wide implementation, the systems and processes for monitoring and evaluation must be put in place. Without knowing the progress or failures, one cannot learn, and hence monitoring and evaluation is very important.
  8. Now you can proceed and start implementation of your strategic plan.

Some important things to keep in mind:

  • The key to a successful strategic planning is to involve everyone! Everyone means the board, the management, and all the key stakeholders. Remember that when everyone owns the process, the chances of success increase manifold.
  • Reinforce the message: You will need to hold regular meetings and keep reinforcing the messages to implement the plan organization-wide successfully.
  • Remember, this is certainly not an overnight process, and will take a long time to succeed the way you have planned it to. But even small steps count in a long journey. Take a small step, and the giant leap will follow!

Latest Funds for NGOs

Malawi Innovation Challenge Fund: Inviting Applicants for Irrigation Window Program

PEI Call for Applications: Regulatory Capacity Strengthening in Africa Program

USAID: Innovations in Feed the Future Monitoring and Evaluation Program

ACTAE /CANSEA Call for Proposals: Competitive Grant Scheme to Strengthen the Conservation Agriculture Network

The Arca Foundation: Supporting Educational and Charitable Activities in United States

International Press Institute: Seeking Applications for Journalism Micro-grants in Turkey

DHHS/NIH: Seeking Applications for Feasibility and Planning SPOREs to Investigate Cancer Health Disparities

Natural Resources Conservation Service: Texas NRCS Urban Conservation Project

Embassy of France in Wellington, New Zealand: Call for Applications for 2018 Pacific Fund

Applications Open for Norwegian Cooperation Programme in Higher Education with Russia!

Applications Open for Aziz Foundation’s Grant Program!

EREF: Seeking Applications for Sustainable Solid Waste Management Research Programme

BMBF Call for Proposals: International Disaster and Risk Management (IKARIM) Grant Program

U.S. Embassy in Austria: Seeking Proposals for Austrian-American Partnership Fund

2017 RSSAF Grant Program: Supporting Economic, Political and Social Development in Sub-Saharan Africa

U.S. Embassy in The Hague, Netherlands: Special Grant Competition in honor of CyberSecurity Awareness Month

International AIDS Society: Seeking Applications for CIPHER Grant Programme – 2017/2018

Australian Government: Agricultural Trade and Market Access Cooperation Program

Call for Applications: BRICS Multilateral Joint Science and Technology Research Collaboration

Applications Open for SIU’s Three -Year Project Funding Programme!

SIU’s Eurasia Programme 2017! Apply for Project Development Funding

The Sumitomo Foundation: Grant for Projects for the Protection, Preservation & Restoration of Cultural Properties outside Japan

DHHS/NIH: Seeking Applications for Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPOREs) in Human Cancers

WHSmith Trust: Seeking Applications for Community Grants Program

Comments

  1. Rodrice Durocher says:

    Hello,

    It’s my first visit to this wonderful and exiting page. Happy to stop by ! Hope we can take the opportunity of that great community to achieve important projects in the world. even though my favorite working field is Haiti, but I have no objection to move anywhere on earth as long as it’s for a positive mission, it will always be a pleasure. I can not wait to see what we can do together. I look forward to having a productive experience around here. Rodrice