Strategic Planning in Nonprofits (SPiN) covers six planning elements: preparing, listening, envisioning, planning, executing, and evaluating. SPiN anchors each unit in why it matters and provides tools to help learners act on what they learn to better achieve their nonprofit’s mission.

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Strategic Planning in Nonprofits Guide

Start by downloading the Strategic Planning in Nonprofits Guide. As you work through the guide, watch the video for each chapter. Find activities, templates, and other documents to help put what you learned into practice in the document vault. Keep on learning with other resources on nonprofit governance, finance, and more.

View the Guide

What We Cover in Strategic Planning in Nonprofits


Start by reviewing the stages of Strategic Planning. You will get an overview of the content covered in the subsequent chapters.


A key to successful Strategic Planning is “planning to plan”. To achieve a thoughtful plan that is truly strategic, you’ll need an effective process that is inclusive, transparent, and well-informed.


When an organization’s leadership knows about the people you serve and other relevant data about your program and organization, your strategy improves, and you gain respect among your key audiences. You will be able to tell your story better, and your relationships and community impact will grow.


When your organization invests time to develop or renew a powerful mission and vision, you will be able to answer the questions “Who are we?” and “Why do we exist?”, have a strong connection to your organization’s core purpose, and set the stage for a strong, well-grounded strategy.


It is important to clarify what specific areas of focus and strategies you will use to achieve your mission. Planning helps you to chart a course to turn your vision into reality; determine what actions best support your Mission and Vision; ensure that your plan is right-sized and achievable by analyzing resource and capacity issues; inspire others to take action to help your organization to succeed.


We have all heard stories about plans that sit on the shelf and are never referred to again. You have just done a lot of work to set the strategic direction of your organization and get everyone on the same page. Be sure to continue to utilize the plan framework and hold yourselves accountable to reach your goals.


Evaluation will help you learn whether your activities are producing the desired results or change you are seeking to accomplish, gain new insights into how you can improve your programs and increase your impact; demonstrate to funders and donors that your work is making a difference; and give you data that can serve as a foundation for your next strategic plan.

Document Vault

Check out these documents and templates to deepen your learning and help put what you learned into practice.

Agenda for Initial SP Meeting

Example agenda for an initial strategic planning meeting

Alignment and Accountability Handout

Alignment and Accountability Handout

Chapter: Envision – Guide

Download this chapter's guide before watching the video.

Chapter: Evaluate – Guide

Download this chapter's guide before watching the video.

Chapter: Execute – Guide

Download this chapter's guide before watching the video.

Chapter: Introduction (SPiN) – Guide

Download this chapter's guide before watching the video.

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Finance Unlocked for Nonprofits

Finance Unlocked For Nonprofits Logo. Balance Sheet. Income Statement. Nine-Ninety. Giving. Oversight.

Important Note: This information is provided for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal or technical advice. If you are unsure about anything covered in Strategic Planning in Nonprofits, we suggest that you contact the appropriate agency or seek professional advice.
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