Look in

Considering your organisation’s strengths, weaknesses and capacity is an essential part of the strategic planning process. In order to decide a future direction for your organisation, it’s important to understand how your organisation is currently doing. The information you gather will help to open up choices for meeting your mission in the coming years.

Your strengths and weaknesses

Voluntary and community organisations are often very good at spotting their weaknesses, but it can be just as valuable to identify what you excel at too.

Focusing on the positive, also described as appreciative inquiry, can be a very motivating and creative starting point for strategy development. It’s an opportunity to build on your successes.

You can also use the strategic planning process to identify and address areas that need improvement. To get a clear sense of how well you are doing, it’s important to monitor and evaluate your work regularly. An organisational health check (PDF 250KB) could be useful for giving you a quick snapshot of your current situation.

Your capacity

As well as weighing up your past performance, think about all the assets and resources you have at your disposal. Consider the projects you run, your staff and volunteers, the funding and premises you have and the knowledge, skills, experience and trust that you have built up. 

Tools

There are a range of tools and techniques that you might find useful:

What next?

You can use the insights you have gathered to open up choices for the future. You also need to look outside your organisation to identify trends and forces that are currently affecting you or those that might have an impact on your work in the coming years.

What are your experiences of strategic planning? Share your triumphs and tribulations with our network members or write your own tips by commenting on this page.

Last updated at 17:54 Mon 12/Apr/10.

Discuss

How will this affect your organisation? Have you considered it during your strategic planning? Can you share any interesting relevant links?

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