A written plan is a valuable support to organizations. To prepare for a planning exercise, research what requirements might be made of you by funders, members and other stakeholders. For example, specific aspects of organizational capacity may be required of arts organizations applying for operating funds.
There are different methodologies and templates for strategic plans. I use this template:
I support the group to define or re-visit its mission, define its goals, which then lead to the strategies needed to meet those goals, and the actions that are the “nuts and bolts” of the strategies. The thinking process in clarifying the difference amongst goals, strategies and actions can be very useful and change-making in itself.
The length of time it will take to complete a Strategic Plan is contingent on many factors. A single 6 hour day retreat can be expected to lay a good foundation in cases when the Mission requires only re-visiting. I am happy to work with a group for only one day, multiple days, or to be consulted further on a scheduled or as needed basis.
Planning the follow-up to the retreat is essential. The group must refine its Strategic Plan after a dedicated planning session; for example, the persons or committees responsible for carrying out Actions need to be identified. The Board and Staff must monitor and evaluate implementation.
I bring a combination of facilitation skills (content neutral) and an understanding of strategic planning norms (substantive knowledge) to my process. Most important to the success of your plan is that it needs to belong to you and this only happens with participation and involvement.