Step Five: Did You Forget About It?
It's been a year and a half since we talked about Step Four....does that sound crazy? This is about the time period where an organization that has implemented serious strategic plans needs to pull it back out, download ALLLLL the analytics, and do some serious data analysis. From Google Analytics on your website to reports from your Finance, Fundraising, and Program departments, this is the time to see if those careful plans paid off.
If they did....GREAT! Time to celebrate and set the course to repeat what you're doing right! If they didn't meet your expectations, now your job is to review the results and hone in where the results fell short. Change tactics. Adjust plans. This is tedious, time-consuming, and in most instances, frustrating, but it is not only necessary, it is THE most important part of a strategic plan. It doesn't matter how good your plan looks on paper, if it doesn't deliver results it's worthless.
This isn't a time to be modest or sensitive, either. If your plan worked, don't be humble....press for more budgeting, increase in programming, whatever you need because you have a demonstrated pattern of success. This time for growth! If it didn't work, don't be hurt- the factors that go into successful fundraising or program building are myriad and fickle. Utilize tools like surveys and polls to determine with your base what they don't like and commit to improving those things as quickly as possible.
And finally, this may be a point of honest truth, if you're not getting results and getting negative feedback, step way back...zoom out....and review your base objectives in vision and mission. Time for a gut check. Is your organization doing what you promise it to do in the best way possible?
Nothing about strategic planning is easy, but reviewing results honestly and objectively may be the most difficult step. Put aside ego and be pragmatic, then you can truly harness the power of the plan to propel your organization forward!