Sunday, February 18, 2007

Strategic Planning Surveys

Increasingly, leaders who see the value of strategic planning are looking for ways to engage in the process without taking any more time than is necessary. The demands on people's time -- especially board leaders -- means that strategic planners must look for ways of accelerating the planning process.

In my experience, in order to do credible strategic planning and at the same time meet the demand for a less time consuming process, information gathering and analysis must be completed before leaders engage in formal strategic planning sessions. When this is done, the planning group can hit the ground running.

I want to offer a glimpse at a few information gathering surveys for strategic planning I’ve been using for the last several years. They’ve all undergone a number of revisions and work well with a broad range of nonprofits. There is a survey tool for board and staff of organizations and a second survey tool I use for gathering information and insights from “key informants”. Key informants are individuals presumed to have special expertise, knowledge and insights that could be helpful in the strategic planning process. Informants may have an understanding of the changes going on in the community, trends specific to the field of work in the nonprofit is engaged in, the economy, the political environment, the impact of new regulations/legislation, charitable giving, etc.

To view the board and staff survey sample, go to: To view the key informant survey sample, go to: