Planning strategically

A strategic plan is the foundation for clarifying your organization’s direction and building leadership and momentum among board members and team. Yet organizations and leaders often resist and put off planning. Planning gets put off for any number of reasons, but it shouldn’t.

Strategic planning at an organizational level allows your organization to identify priorities, focus efforts of staff and board to increase productivity, and strengthen collaborative relationships. The end result will help clarify your vision for prospective funders and investors, and re-energize your organization’s value proposition.

At the river or watershed conservation project level, strategic planning can help leaders and organizations understand and mitigate threats to healthy rivers. The biggest component here is that planning often uncovers the underlying source of problems so that they can be addressed more effectively. Planning allows groups to identify appropriate conservation and restoration goals, develop effective community engagement strategies, and prompt regulatory and political change.

Both processes are important for success and should be initiated with adequate project oversight, a well-defined timeline including benchmarks and opportunities for adjustment, and appropriate participants and advisors. Treat your strategic planning document as a “living” document and improve upon it with periodic updating based on new data and contextual changes.

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