How to Maximize Your Nonprofit’s Strategic Plan: A Guide for Broader Impact

By: Jessica Rodriguez and Jessica Munday

Often, nonprofits exist without a strategic plan, going against guiding principles and best practices. If you don’t have a strategic plan, we highly recommend you start there. However, a number of nonprofits have invested the necessary time to create a valuable roadmap for their organization, creating a guide for employees and board members on internal goals and actions. If you have a strategic plan, congratulations on the first step toward success.

Now imagine if your plan could do more—much more. A strategic plan’s potential extends far beyond the confines of a report that stays within an organization’s walls. When leveraged effectively, it can become a powerful tool for engaging supporters, fostering partnerships, and influencing public policy. 

We are excited to share insights on how to maximize your nonprofit’s strategic plan for a broader impact.

Create a Version for External Stakeholders

Consider crafting a version of your strategic plan that’s specifically designed for external stakeholders. This shouldn’t be a simple copy-paste of your internal document. Instead, it should be a compelling marketing piece highlighting your nonprofit’s mission, vision, and, most importantly, the compelling goals you aim to achieve. This tailored version will serve as a bridge, connecting your organization’s aspirations with the interests and values of potential supporters and partners. This piece, which can be digital, printed, or both, is an excellent way to get your stakeholders involved in the work you are doing.

Announce It Loud and Proud

Don’t keep your strategic plan a secret. Announce its existence and its essence through your website and all your communication channels. This could take the form of a dedicated section on your website, a series of blog posts unpacking various aspects of the plan, social media posts, or even a multimedia campaign showcasing the impact of your work and how the strategic plan drives it. The goal is to make your strategic plan accessible and engaging to a wide audience. In other words, talk about what you are doing! Bring your followers in for the journey.

Integrate It Into Your Elevator Pitch

Your elevator pitch is a golden opportunity to convey the essence of your strategic plan. It’s not just about what your organization does; it’s about where it’s going and how your plan guides your efforts, ensuring you stay focused on your path to greater impact for the communities you serve. By weaving your strategic plan’s key objectives and goals into your elevator pitch, you make a compelling case for support, partnership and advocacy. This approach ensures that every conversation about your nonprofit is grounded in a forward-looking perspective that inspires action.

Use It as a Tool for Advocacy and Public Policy

A strategic plan can also be a powerful instrument for advocacy. By aligning your strategic goals with public policy objectives, you can leverage your plan to advocate for changes that will benefit your organization and the broader community you serve. This requires identifying intersections between your strategic objectives and public policy agendas and then crafting advocacy strategies that leverage these alignments to influence policy and decision-making. Elected officials appreciate facts. Use your strategic plan as a vehicle to demonstrate what you are doing and pair it with your annual report to show the impact you are having as you live out your mission.

Foster Opportunities for Partnerships

Your strategic plan can serve as a foundation for building partnerships. Clearly articulating your goals makes it easier for potential partners to see how their objectives align with yours. Whether you collaborate with other nonprofits, form alliances with businesses, or engage with government agencies, a well-defined strategic plan opens doors to partnerships that can amplify your impact.

We hope that after reading this blog, you will be inspired to create a strategic plan if you don’t already have one or are ready to make the most of the one you have. Cloud 9 partners with our clients to create plans, share plans, and help hold our clients accountable as we cheer them on to accomplish their goals. Why? Because we know that when nonprofits thrive, communities rise.

If you need help with your strategic planning process, reach out to our team today.