Having a strategic plan is essential to ensure a nonprofit’s vision and mission are fulfilled. Not every plan is a strategic plan though, and too often strategic plans collect dust on a shelf, rather than being a living and breathing document.

TCC Group’s "Ten Keys to Successful Strategic Planning for Nonprofit and Foundation Leaders" is a great resource for Board’s and management embarking on or refreshing their strategic plan - http://www.tccgrp.com/pdfs/index.php?pub=per_brief_tenkeys.pdf

And as a reminder:

A strategic plan is a tool that provides guidance in fulfilling a mission with maximum efficiency and impact. If it is to be effective and useful, it should articulate specific goals and describe the action steps and resources needed to accomplish them. As a rule, most strategic plans should be reviewed and revamped every three to five years.

An operating plan is a coordinated set of tasks for carrying out the goals delineated in a strategic plan. It thus goes into greater detail than the strategic plan from which it is derived, spelling out time frames and the roles of individual staff and board members, for example. It also has a shorter horizon than a strategic plan — usually one fiscal year.

A business plan is typically focused on the actions and investment necessary to generate income from a specific program or service. A business plan includes information about an organization’s products, competitive environment and revenue assumptions.

A case statement is geared toward marketing and fundraising rather than planning. It describes the organization’s goals, capabilities and strengths and the benefits it provides. Its purpose is to secure contributions and grants from individuals, foundations, corporate giving programs and other philanthropic entities.

Wilson Donella halfbody

Donella Wilson

Donella Wilson, CPA, leads GHJ’s Nonprofit Practice and is also President and Chief Philanthropy Officer of GHJ Foundation, GHJ’s vehicle for purposeful and proactive giving to the community. A leader in both the nonprofit and accounting communities, Donella was named a finalist in the 2021 Los…Learn More