Strategy n . Generalship, the art of war,(lit. or fig.); management
of an army or armies in a campaign ,art of so moving or disposing
troops or ships or aircraft as to impose upon the enemy the place
time and conditions for fighting preferred by oneself, (cf. tactics);
instance of or plan formed according to.
Strategic Planning is concerned with setting the organisation’s long term
plans and priorities. It is the responsibility of the Management Committee to
ensure that strategic planning is carried out within the organisation.
Business Planning / Strategic Planning
Strategic Planning provides the organisation with a vital tool to set its
direction. The document will become a multi beneficial tool, in that it:
• Provides overall strategic direction
• Ensures that the organisation is looking at current external factors
• Sets out resource allocation against agreed priorities
• Enables overall performance management
• Informs ongoing operational work
• Sets future developments
• Provides an essential and valuable marketing resource, to be used in a
similar manner to an annual report.
• Ensures that external funders are aware that the organisation has an
efficient and proactive approach to planning and management.
Strategic planning needs to allow for realistic flexibility to take account of
change and new opportunities, and provides a boundary within which ongoing
Any organisation needs a focus and direction for its immediate, medium and
long term plans. Through bringing teams together to work within the plan the
management ensures an efficient and effective approach.
The vision is the organisation’s view of its future. The vision guides the
strategic plan and sums up the shared values and purpose of the
The mission is the fundamental purpose of the organisation.
The purpose of the plan
The strategic plan is a framework for current and ongoing development. It
brings together key plans within one document, with each section of the
strategy separated out as key strategic objectives.
When putting together a strategic plan, boards need to think about:
• How to give the process credibility
• How to make sure the staff and board feel like they have contributed to
and ‘own’ the plan
• What is the role of service users?
• How to integrate the plan with other management / operational procedures
• How to scope the external environment and make know what’s relevant to
• How to achieve new direction /development
• How to assess any risks
• What is the best forum for communicating the strategy?
• What is realistic overall aim?
• What are the most efficient systems to use for performance management?
You will also need to think about how the process will work:
• Who will be in charge of coordinating the plan?
• What will the finished document look like? A suggested list of contents
Background / introduction
A brief description of the external environment, national agenda(s) or
Description of your services
Summary of existing and potential service users (including some
comments about needs assessment and/or unique consideration
when delivering a service to meet these needs)
Aims for the one to three years
Specific targets, strategic objectives
Human resource requirement
Financial resource requirements /costs
Sources of funding
The organisation might usefully be divided up for the purpose of planning into
• Finance and other practical resources
• Human resources
• Public Relations / Marketing
A SWOT analysis of each of these four areas is useful. This looks at:
• Strengths • Opportunities and drivers for
• Threats and blocks • Weaknesses and challenges
A thorough SWOT will look at both the internal and external environments
and provide all the information to build up a strategic picture of an
An operational plan translates the strategic plan into a work programme for
the organisation for a set amount of time.
Each organisation will approach operational planning differently. This may
include policy and procedures for service delivery, timetables or milestones.
This is more of a working tool to be used by the organisation to translate
broad strategic objectives into tasks and service delivery objectives.
The operational plan is then translated into individual Work Plans. Each staff/
volunteer work plan should demonstrate how their work will achieve the
A strategic plan becomes meaningful when given a timescale and key
milestones within the process.
These milestones should be realistic, transparent and communicate the
commitment of the organisation to the strategic plan.