The inescapable nature of constant change among human service organizations:
Effectively managing and leading a non-profit organization often involves embracing change to try to serve the fluctuating needs and demands of the community regarding public needs, funding, services, social issues/trends, social political environment, and goals. However, how the agency chooses to embark and navigate the constant journey of change can impact the agency’s readiness and survivorship ability. Although change can be both an opportunity and or a threat, agencies have recognized that the influx of change can pose an impact on their organization’s overall survivorship; therefore, many have begun to invest in embracing and addressing change through a process known as strategic planning.This involves exploring 'organizational strategy, structure, and process in an “adaptive cycle” or strategic management cycle, in which service and opportunities, delivery systems and capabilities, and performance and control all consider the nature of the external environment but are internally driven by the mission and values of the agency. '
Case: 2V/ACT: Planning for Change and Determining Relevance:
Seattle Youth Involvement Network (SYIN)’s plan for change is a great example of when strategic planning can be a vital part of embarking an ‘ambitious plan to become a statewide organization dedicated to promoting youth involvement in democracy while developing their new identity as as 2V/ACT.' The organization began to plan for change after a decade, by reevaluating the purpose of their organization.
Benefits of Strategic Planning: Establishments like SYIN benefit from strategic planning as it provides the agency a process to reorganize, reevaluate their purpose, learn about the challenges, plan for the change, and focus on goals and objectives to establish and change decision criteria.
Process and steps: In this case, 2V/ACT sought to pursue strategic planning by investing on a 6-step process:
1. Getting organized
In 2003 SYIN decided to establish a strategic planning committee for a ten-month period to reevaluate their goals set with the purpose to create a new mission, streamline programming, and improve fund raising and public relations with a focus on including a situational.
2. Conducting a situational analysis
SYIN’s board and staff came together together to assess their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
3. Re-Developing a mission statement
SYIN redeveloped their mission statement to reflect their role in the community “we educate,empower and engage Washington youth in the democratic process to encourage youth voice and promote lifetime of participation in their communities”
4. Asking fundamental questions
The committee evaluated current and future challenges in areas of funding and capacity challenges along with vital considerations regarding the level of work of 2V/ACT.
5. Examining critical issues
The committee examined many of the critical issues such as funding and capacity.
6. Drafting Strategic Plan
The committee started drafting the plan by discussing:
- Mission statement
- Vision of the organization in 4 years
- Goals to be accomplished in 4 years
- Critical issues
- Key realities
- Internal /external assessment
- Actions for each critical issue
- Accountability and time table for each critical issue
- This 6-step process allowed for developing a plan that would reflect the community’s needs.
The crucial elements of strategic planning
Organizing, assessing, and implementing are crucial elements of strategic planning, these allow an agency to develop a plan that would enable their ability to survive through change.Strategic planning is a way of ‘developing a competitor focus at every level through use of intelligence to improve existing skills and learn new ones.’
Brody, Ralph, and Murali, Nair (2005) Effectively Managing Human Service Organizations, Third Edition, Sage Publications
Bryson, John & Renz, David. The Jossey-Bass handbook of nonprofit leadership and management, Chapter 8.
Hamel and Prahalad (1989) Strategic Intent