Findings Friday | Metro Atlanta Nonprofit Performance, Part 1: Strategic Planning

September 20, 2013
| by Editor |

Does your organization have a strategic plan? Probably. But is it up to date? Does it have all the right components? Is it evidence-based?

In a study of nonprofit performance by the Georgia Center for Nonprofits in partnership with The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, nearly 400 organizations described their strategic planning practices and provide perspectives on public policy. This post is the first of a two-part series and will cover the study’s strategic planning findings.

Whether or not an organization has a strategic plan and if that plan is current correlates to an organization’s budget size―likely linked to financial and human resource capacity. Organizations below a $500,000 budget are approximately 20% less likely to have a strategic plan than organizations overall.

Further, higher level components within these plans―mission and vision statements, goals, etc.―are present. But aspects of the plan that turn goals into operational reality―tactics, timelines, staffing plans, etc.―are less common, demonstrating a potential barrier to implementation.

In developing a strategic plan, goals and outcomes are primarily based on internal data as opposed to a balance of internal and external factors. An astounding 45% of nonprofits self-identify as having a low level of market-focused strategy rooted in community perspective and competitor analysis. This lack of contextual awareness can lead to service duplication and reduced impact in target communities. Thus, it's vital that organizations conduct an environmental scan as an aspect of their strategic planning process: assessing the business and socio-political trends in which your organization operates.

Learn more about Metro Atlanta nonprofits' public policy perspectives in part two of this two-part series. Read the full report for additional findings and data.

Tommy Pearce is Communications Coordinator at the Georgia Center for Nonprofits.

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