Posted:30 January 2018
Author: Val Rathjen, Community Learning Network
Found in: Board Governance
I’m guessing that we all have things on our “to do” list that keep getting pushed to the ‘When I have time’ pile, or the ‘In a perfect world’ folder. We all know what it feels like to have more to do than time to do it. Realizing that this is a challenge we all face, I want to make an argument for something that may get put off til tomorrow – your organization’s strategic plan.
I’m shining a light on strategic planning because I truly believe there is value to stepping back and reflecting on your organization’s past, present and future. How are things going? Are we still in tune with our community and meeting their needs? Are we fulfilling our vision? Do we even remember what our vision is? What pressures are we facing and how will we address them? Where do we want to be as an organization in 1-3-5 years?
So let’s talk about Strategic Planning. A broad definition would be:
A systematic process of envisioning a desired future, and translating this vision into broadly defined goals or objectives and a sequence of steps to achieve them.(http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/strategic-planning.html)
Key components of a strategic plan include:
I know this list can look daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Many CALPs set aside one board meeting a year, usually before the grant application has to be written, to spend a few hours working through this process. Others may want to expand the plan to reach 3 or 5 or even 10 years. The point is to make it fit your needs.
If I still haven’t convinced you, let’s look at some of the outcomes you could see:
When we know where we want to go, it makes it so much easier to identify and take advantage of opportunities that come along that feed into that vision. When I was a Coordinator our board had identified that there were community needs beyond what our CALP Grant could support. With this in mind we kept our eyes open for opportunities, and in the end we approached our county for funding. This never would have happened if we didn’t have a dream.
There are many resources and tools that you can refer to. Here are a couple I would recommend:
Literacy Basics.ca - An Ontario Literacy organization that has a module on Strategic Planning.
I would also suggest looking at the FAQ section on the Portal, specifically questions #20: What does it mean to “align” with the CALP mandate for Literacy and Foundational Learning? This has some great questions to consider as you think about making plans for the future.
Whether you take things a year at a time, or pursue a more long range perspective, investing in a strategic plan will help guide your steps and strengthen your organization as a whole.
CLN Regional Support Staff