Written 6651



Strategic Thinking and Planning for Nonprofits

De’Vaka Newton

Walden University

HUMN 6651

Professor Kristin Daily

January 18, 2019

Strategic Thinking and Planning

Strategic thinking is basically a planning process that involves innovation, operational planning and strategic planning in an attempt to develop business strategies that have a greater chance for success. Strategic thinking is all about getting new ways and procedures of accomplishing the business goals and objectives (Chang et al., 2016). Strategic thinking and planning plays a critical role in carrying out the mission and the vision of a nonprofit organization. The process ensures that the business goals that are stipulated in the mission and the vision statements are achieved more rapidly (Gratton, 2018). Strategic thinking and planning mean that the board and the executive directors are actively involved in developing news of accomplishing the business goals. Such ensures that the organization is governed towards the achievement of the set business goals and objectives (Rhine, 2015). A strategic mindset also ensures that the resources needed to accomplish the business goals are determined and utilized appropriately. Having the required resources is one of the ways of ensuring that an organization accomplishes the set goals and objectives with ease. Strategic thinking and planning also ensures that the organization remains proactive and is determined to overcome even the toughest times. Business success and sustainability ate not compromised. The management of the organization is able to understand and see the big picture of the organization, where the organization ought to be and what is needed to get the business there.

Strategic thinking and planning has basically six elements that are crucial and must be addressed by the business management. The elements are tools for analysis, strategic purpose, values, vision, key goals and action planning. Tools for analysis are the different ways the management and the board use to know what is working and what essentially need to be worked on for the overall success of the business (Wolf & Floyd, 2017). One of the widely used tools for analysis is the SWOT analysis that help to address both the external and the internal environment of the organization for the development of competitive strategies for the organization. Strategic purpose or mission clearly states why the organization exists and helps the management get the bigger picture of the business goals and how to get them done (Chang et al., 2016). Nonprofit organizations are some of the businesses that survive through clear definition of their mission so that donors can know why the organization is in existence before they fund the operations of then firm. Values define the culture of an organization and the clarity of the values ensures that the culture that is upheld in the organization supports the vision and the purpose (Gratton, 2018). Key goals refer to the accomplishments that the business must make at the end of the day as indicators of successful mission and vision. Action planning identifies the different ways to get the goals accomplished. Action planning defines responsibilities; who should do what and when. Without an action plan the whole strategic thinking and planning process would be a mere talk and a waste of time.

The board of a nonprofit organization plays a key role in developing the strategic plan. The board sets the direction for the organization that acts as the pillar for the strategic plan. The business direction identifies the key values, the mission and the vision of the organization so that the strategic plans are aligned to the business goals (Mendel, 2017). The board also does an analysis of the dynamic business environment and communicates the key changes that may be required for the success of the strategic plans (Wolf & Floyd, 2017). The board also communicates the strategic plans and key responsibilities to ensure that the team move towards the same business direction and are bound together by the common business goals. For a nonprofit organization, for example, the board focuses on developing the organization, managing the donors and the staff, and also fundraising in support of the business mission and the vision statements. The board acts as the driver of the whole strategic thinking and planning process and ensures that the business remains proactive to grab opportunities as they present themselves.


The board of a nonprofit organization has a role to play in communicating the strategic plans, the business goals and objectives. The board ensures that the team members are educated and informed on the business key goals and action plans that will drive the organization towards success (Wolf & Floyd, 2017). Key responsibilities that each is meant to play are also stipulated to ensure that conflicts and misunderstandings are eliminated and the organization focuses on the core business of service delivery to the beneficiaries (Bryan, 2017). Key business milestones and notable success stories are also availed to all stakeholders to assure them that the organization is achieving and that the resources contributed are utilized appropriately. Business strategic plans are also communicated by the board to the team so that the future of the organization remains clear to the members and that everyone gets a sense of direction. When all the above are made clear through proper communication channels, business relationships are established among all the stakeholders.


The board of a nonprofit organization has a role to play in ensuring that the outreach efforts are a success. Nonprofit organizations are meant to work in close relations with the community served and if the outreach efforts are not effective then the organization faces a hard time trying to deliver the services to the beneficiaries (Brown, 2016). The board ensures that the needs of the community are clearly defined and researched on by carrying out surveys among the people (Gratton, 2018). The board also arranges for community events that bring the management of the organization and the people in the community together. They share information and the management can easily identify the most crucial areas to address and the needs of the people around them.


Brown, W. (2016). Teaching strategic management to nonprofit students. The journal of nonprofit education and leadership6(3).

Bryan, T. K. (2017). Multilevel learning in nonprofit organizations: Exploring the individual, group, and organizational effects of a capacity building program. The journal of nonprofit education and leadership7(2).

Chang, J. N., Seetoo, D. H., Yu, C. M., & Cheng, C. Y. (2016). Relational management mechanisms for strategic alliances among nonprofit organizations. VOLUNTAS: International journal of voluntary and nonprofit organizations27(5), 2458-2489.

Gratton, P. C. (2018). Organization development and strategic planning for non-profit organizations. Organization development journal36(2), 27.

Mendel, S. C. (2017). Workarounds in nonprofit management: Counter theory for best practices innovation. Journal of ideology38(1), 2.

Rhine, A. S. (2015). An examination of the perceptions of stakeholders on authentic leadership in strategic planning in nonprofit arts organizations. The journal of arts management, law, and society45(1), 3-21.

Wolf, C., & Floyd, S. W. (2017). Strategic planning research: Toward a theory-driven agenda. Journal of management43(6), 1754-1788.