As cause marketers, our clients’ strategic plans define the audiences, tactics and ultimate success of our work. Whether our client is a global university, consumer brand or leading non-profit, strategic plans are where we go first to understand the identity and direction of an organization.
Handled well, strategic planning can clarify objectives and help marketing, development and all departments work better together. Here are some tips we think could help non-profits big and small:
- Connect the dots between big-picture goals & tactical metrics
Real metrics should be part of any strategic conversation. Clarify what success looks like. From the Board to the Development team to external consultants, everyone should be moving together toward clearly defined quantifiable success.
- Make sure you’re marketing your strategic plan
As much as they define budgets and operations, strategic plans are a tremendous internal marketing opportunity—to refresh your brand, tell a new story, energize the team and mobilize your most passionate ambassadors. Any document that’s defining organization-wide strategy should get real creative attention. Make your plan an internal communications tool and revisit at least semi-annually to reinforce your goals, celebrate progress and motivate the team.
- No more one-offs
Strategic plans and year-end reviews ultimately answer to budget, and we work in a space that is especially constrained. Focus your marketing on building resources and developing replicable models, and you’ll see your communications get more consistent and easier to execute. We’re huge fans of tool kits and standardized plans as a way to make our work more efficient and easier to measure year over year.
- Give your agency a seat at the table
Too often, multi-year plans are created by a committee at a retreat far removed from the day-to-day operations of an organization—and quickly put aside until it’s time to revisit the process. Making marketing and branding a part of the conversation upfront can help define objectives, make better ambassadors of your Board members and turn your plan itself into a branding tool.