for Nonprofit Organizations
and Christian Schools
Strategic planning is one of those buzz terms that gets a lot of use, but people don’t always know what it entails. As one of our services, it’s our job to know know what strategic planning is and how it helps ensure success and create a sustainable future for your nonprofit or Christian school.
If you don’t tackle strategic planning at the conception of your school or nonprofit, there’s a high probability it will never get done. The strategic planning process is something that takes hundreds of hours to complete. Leadership usually doesn’t have that kind of time to devote to creating a strategic plan, even if they do know what needs to be done to develop one.
Strategic plans have a trickle-down effect. They define the trajectory of your entire organization. And they affect everything, including fundraising goals and strategy, selecting board members, how you accumulate and allocate resources, strategic objectives, and the overall plan for how you can achieve your short-term goals and future goals.
That’s where The Champion Group comes in. We’re here to help you build a strategic plan that puts Jesus at the center and works to achieve your God-given purpose.
What You Must Know Before Starting the Strategic Planning Process
Before you start building your school or nonprofit strategic plan, you have to know your “why.” Finding your “why” comes from the purpose and overall mission of your organization’s existence. Ultimately, this is not what your school or nonprofit organization does, but why it does it.
Ask yourself, “Does my organization’s ‘why’ have anything to do with our vision?”
Through strategic planning, you can more fully understand, appreciate, and emphasize the mission, purpose, and “why” of your organization—as well as how it relates to God’s divine direction.
Proper Planning Creates Unity and Gives Direction
Vision and purpose—without direction and alignment—can result in disconnection, division, or even conflict. Mark 3: 24-25 says, “If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”
The devil’s central scheme is to create human conflict to drive us away from the Lord and from one another. Disunity, failure, and chaos proceed as a result of an incoherent or ineffective vision; being Lord-led first and foremost is critical to success.
A good strategic plan helps sow the seeds of prosperity for your school or nonprofit organization. Oftentimes, Christian schools and nonprofits will implement purely tactical plans that follow what seems like good ideas at the time. However, being arbitrary with decision-making limits effectiveness to an extensive degree.
Are You Setting Strategic Priorities for Your Nonprofit?
It’s important to ask yourself, do these tactical plans advance the organization’s mission? In effect, you won’t know what to say “yes” or “no” to, and those ideas that are deemed good enough now may be defined as hindrances in the future.
With strategic planning, your vision statement and mission statement stand firm and steadfast—and are not platitudes plastered on a wall that barely offer any tangible benefit. At the end of the day, if your slogan isn’t at the core of your ministry, that’s all it is. When staff or circumstances change, it becomes whatever current employees or faculty want to make of it.
The thing that moves—that’s part of your living document—is your strategic objectives.
Expand Your Impact
A strategic plan gives your organization’s goals real, definitive meaning that goes beyond simple, mundane updates: They actively expand your organization’s impact for God’s glory. A new playground is no longer a new playground for its own sake. It’s a new playground that blesses students, teachers, and the broader community.
Having a tactical plan that works to accomplish your strategic objectives allows board members to think strategically and out of the weeds of the operation. As you achieve your strategic objectives, you can move other objectives to the top of the to-do list without the worry of burnout from employees and external stakeholders.
Christian schools often miss the mark when it comes to retaining or growing their student base: They focus on the wrong things. Schools have to be totally set on discipleship-infused education, otherwise, there’s really no reason to be called a Christian school. And the fruits will be readily seen.
When parents can actively witness your impact, they are much more likely to have their child stay in your student body or look to enroll. People want to connect with an organization that they trust, that is known to them, and identifies with what they’re about.
A Holistic Approach to Strategic Planning for Nonprofits and Chrisitan Schools
For many nonprofits and other organizations, like schools, there is a gap between the people who know ministry and have a desire to operate God’s way and the actual current operations. When The Champion Group comes in to create a strategic plan, we take a holistic approach and follow our own proven Christian school and nonprofit strategic plan template.
First, our strategic planning team takes a look at the organization and conducts a full assessment. If it’s a nonprofit, we talk to all employees and management. If it’s a school, sit down and talk with faculty, students, and parents. We also talk with pastors in the community to see what they think of the organization in relation to the community—how does the organization utilize its resources to help the community and accomplish its goals?
Essentially the assessment planning process gives nonprofits a health check, similar to a swot analysis.
A Customized, Development Plan
As part of your strategic plan, we deliver a 3-5 year development plan based on what we discover during your nonprofit health check. Most of the time, having a strategic plan is a defined weakness for the nonprofits we work with. If they’re in a really dire situation, we may start with a fundraiser to give them a lifeline, then move into the strategic plan.
Now, the important thing to remember in all this is that strategic planning takes time. It won’t be an overnight venture.
But it definitely pays off and works in tandem with the other core components that help ensure a successful organization. In fact, you’ll likely notice stability in enrollment, more teacher satisfaction, increased parental contentment, and improved fundraising for your school.
For a nonprofit, this hard work pays off in tangible ways such as accomplishing your nonprofit’s goals more quickly because everyone is working together and on the same page, more volunteers to share the workload of your hardworking staff, and, again, better outcomes for your fundraisers.
If you have three good options in front of you,
which one do you choose?
“Good ideas” can cripple Christian schools and ministries. Which ideas are “good,” which are the best, and how do you decide? The Champion Group’s Strategic and Operational Planning Process will allow you to know what to say yes to, and more importantly, the confidence to say no.
Components Strengthened by Strategic & Operational Planning