Strategic Planning in Non- and For-profit Organizations


First of all, it is necessary to mention that the issues of strategic planning are often regarded among the most critical issues for non- and for-profit organizations as they aim at directing and functioning their orderly adjustment in the changing environment. Originally, it was stated that the issues of Strategic Planning for any Organization might also be regarded as simply achievable; however, it is closely related to the issues of leadership.

This is generally explained by the fact that the strategic planning process and the results of the planning itself reveal all the troubles and gaps in the management process. Consequently, the planning itself may be regarded as the process of collective study. Taking into account that the team is not a crowd of professionals, strategic planning not-for-profits helps the team to become the professional decision-making tool of the company. (Crittenden, 2007)

Strategic Planning in Non- and For-profit Organizations

Originally, the strategic planning of non- and for-profit organizations differs not only by the character of the planning itself but also by the issues of leadership. In a for-profit organization, leadership is more important than in a non-profit company. It is generally stipulated by the fact that non-profit organization does not require constant development and increase of the competitive capacity.

It is necessary to mention that goal-based strategic planning is regarded to be the most common and is aimed at focusing on the missions of any organization: for-profit and non-profit. The goals, which the strategic planning is based on, are the following: working towards the adjusted mission, strategies for the main mission achievement, and the most crucial are the action planning (assignment of the mission tasks and the terms of the accomplishment).

The fact is that the strategic planning of the organization is grounded on the issues and examines the issues which the organizational challenges. Gibbons (2005), in his turn, emphasizes the following: “Organic strategic planning is generally started by a clear statement of the organization’s vision and values. Then, the action is planned to achieve the vision while achieving those values. Some plans entail only top-level data and no action plans.”

The strategic planning team of the analyzed organization often knows in advance what will be entailed in the strategic plan. It characterizes them as experienced strategic planners; moreover, this entails the processes of business planning either. Nevertheless, the process of strategic plan development is also aimed to simplify and structure the company’s plans and ensure that the leaders of the organization aim to chase the same goal and use the same tools for achieving it. (Matthews, 2005)

It is necessary to mention that the strategic planning process, independently, on the final aim, requires three basic factors to be properly adjusted: these are leadership, mission, and vision. These factors are regarded to be the most essential in the link of the strategic planning process.

The Strategic planning process of the organization is universal and does not entail some specific points; however, the manner of the plan implementation and creation is crucial. Thus, the primary step of the planning is the creation of the mission statement. Smith (2005) emphasizes the following: “mission statement justifies an organization’s existence and specifies what needs in society it meets. This statement is not a place for empty platitudes or glittering generalizations. Unlike a for-profit company’s mission statement, it should not be focused on a purely business objective.” Taking this into account, it should be stated that the mission statement of our organization meets the following requirements:

  • It defines the higher purpose of motivating all the employees.
  • Describes what the company should achieve, for the progress could be measured.
  • Distinguishes our organization from all the other organizations acting in the same sphere.
  • Defines the image of the organization’s future.

Thus, following all the required statements, the analyzed organization prevents fundraising for the “wrong” organizations. Originally, our organization has used the experience of the other non-profit organizations for creating the mission statements and for the strategic planning process in general. Thus, as Mercer (2003) states, “Technological, social, economic, legal and cultural modifications render the old mission obsolete.

The Boy Scouts used to have a very homogeneous membership. The Easter Seal Society, which used to fight different dangerous diseases, had to shift gears when cures for their diseases were found. American environmental groups, which once focused solely on this country’s polluters, had to broaden their scope when it became clear that pollution in foreign countries had a profound effect on everyone.” It should be stated that the clear mission statement and the unity of the goal, as well as unity in the achievement of the set goals and missions, helped these organizations to succeed (Kissler and Jacobson 2001).

The fact is that the properly created and stated mission statement originates the process, which is often called by professionals a unique selling proposition (USP). As for the issues of competition, it does not differ from one in the profit activity sphere, as non-profit organizations are also aiming to sell themselves for the funds. A mission statement, as it has been already stated, helps to distinguish the profile of an organization. Thus, it improves the competitive capacity of any organization.

As for the leadership, it should be stated that this factor depends on the management team, which is responsible for the strategic planning. The leader of this team defines the sequence of the planning process, basing on the vision of the aims of the organization. Thus, the allover process in general is the following: Aim – Mission – Strategy. All the components should be properly imagined, planned, and fit into the profile of the organization. Consequently, planning is the basis of successful planning. This paradoxical conclusion is stated by Daake and Dawley (2004)

On the other hand, taking into account these trends, and stating the central mission of the organization towards them, helps the central decision-making board to strike a positive chord with donors (those who offer the funds). Moreover, the staff of the organization gets an increased level of encouragement and enthusiasm for the more devoted work for the main aim of fundraising and the achievement of the organizational goals. (Delener, 1999)


Finally, it should be stated that the differences in strategic planning in non- and for-profit organizations are closely related to the issues of leadership. The fact is that it is one of the essential factors for the success of any company, as every organization requires a powerful driving force.

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