Strategic Planning for NGOs: A guide to understand the basics of strategic planning

1. Introduction 

A goal without a plan is just a wish- Antoine de Saint-Exupery (French writer, 1900 – 1944).

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What better way to describe the importance of planning in our day to day lives. Successful people plan their actions and work endlessly to stick to their plan; while the not so successful people, plan a lot but hardly ever implement the plan. The key to success is therefore not just having a plan but also executing it to achieve your goals and objectives.

Most organizations agree that planning is an essential process for good governance and management. Be it a NGO or a Government Organization or a Private corporate house, strategic planning is required by all entities towards achieving success.  Most organizations devise their own strategic plan, a document that articulates with an organization about its goals and objectives, the essential steps and actions need to be taken to accomplish those goals and other important elements that are developed amidst planning.

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Strategic planning is important, but at the same time can be a complex issue especially for new and small organizations. Looking at the NGO sector, one may find that many NGOs do not have well drafted strategic plan and the few NGOs that have the plans are written in a very complex way. These are either too lengthy or too complicated to implement and are therefore not put into use.

Strategic plan in reality is a living document which directs the overall functioning of any organization.   With this guide we provide all the details pertaining to strategic planning, so that you can develop a strategic plan for your organization.  This guide would help you in understanding the following topics:

  • What is Strategic planning?
  • Importance of Strategic planning
  • Tools for Strategic planning
  • Steps of Strategic planning
  • Who can do strategic planning?


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