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What does grant writing have in common with your strategic plan? Everything.

Nonprofit Media Solutions has the good fortune of benefiting from programming from the Georgia Center for Nonprofits. Our membership there gives us access to great information that we are able to relay to our clients. This week we attended a program called “Sharpening Your Strategic Advantage,” and it was great stuff. Here are the five most important things we took away from the program:

5. Many funders now require the submission of a strategic plan with a grant proposal. Therefore, a comprehensive and up-to-date three- to five-year strategic plan is of great importance.

4. Include a background paragraph at the beginning of your strategic plan. In three or five years when your team looks back at this, they’ll know who was behind the document and its goals. Creating a history can be helpful for later remembering why your team decided what it did later on.

3. A big team of people should weigh in when it’s time to write or update a strategic plan: board members, staff members, key volunteers, advisory board members and funders.

2. Be sure each three- to five-year strategic plan includes a one-year action plan that’s updated each year. While the strategic plan gives you a road map for the long-term, an action plan tells your team what has to be done in this year to get your organization to meet those goals.

1. Don’t underestimate how long it will take you to draw up a new strategic plan or update your current one. Have a group in place to begin work on it about five months before the document needs to be finished, and perhaps longer is research is needed to round out the strategic plan.

Planning to create new programming in the next three to five years? Have specific, strategic goals to meet? Let your plan guide you. When applying for grants, it’s this road map that will help you gauge where your organization is and where it’s headed, and in turn, your funders. And good luck!

Does your organization have promising practices for creating a strategic plan? Let us know what worked for you.

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