By Tim Kubatzky, CFRE
Non-profits are faced with the task of measuring success, a concept that has grown in response to competition in the independent sector and a generational shift in funders’ sense of, and desire for, greater accountability.
Consequently, strategic planning and measurable goals and objectives derived from it are important tools for nonprofits to report progress and justify funders’ investments.
The model of strategic planning an organization chooses needs to align with its reason for planning so that any tasks and objectives from the work plan ultimately feed into progress toward goals that can be reported to funders and other stakeholders.
Creating and following a plan makes reporting progress easier. An organization can choose monthly or quarterly check-ins, for example, and avoid the stressful search for data to validate their grant funding when annual reports to funders are due.
Regular check-ins to measure progress have the added benefit of informing decisions on resource allocation and program direction. Mid-stream adjustments take less effort than full-course corrections made in annual planning sessions.
Letting everyone in the organization know that the goals set during the strategic planning session will define the measure of success for the coming year(s) creates buy-in and authentic interest in the process. It also ensures the work plan will not be shelved until the next long-range planning effort.