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How to write a Strategic Plan

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Writing a Strategic Plan requires:

  1. Essential information that is gathered from planning meetings conducted
  2. Knowledge of important components that the Strategic Plan document should contain
  3. An understanding of how to set out the information for the reader

Essential Information

The essential information you need to begin writing the Strategic Plan is the GOALS, OBJECTIVES and STRATEGIES that have been identified in planning meetings and agreed to by the management committee. This information is gathered via the Strategic Planning Process.

Important Components of the Strategic Plan

In addition to the Goals, Objectives and Strategies that form the basis of the plan, the Strategic Plan Document will likely also include:

Section 1Statement about the Planning Process

A short statement about the planning process itself i.e. what activities and meetings were carried out to consult stakeholders and to identify the goals, objectives and strategies contained within the plan. (Length approx 100 words)

Sample wording is as follows:

"The Association's current Strategic Plan (insert start year and end year e.g. 2008 - 2012) was first reviewed at a special planning meeting convened (insert date and location). Subsequent to this meeting, the management committee of (insert the name of the organisation or abbreviation) invited stakeholders to comment and give recommendations on the Association's present programs, progress and overall direction. Especially where key stakeholders or sections of the club were not represented at the planning meeting, the planning team conducted interviews by telephone or in person to obtain their views. The final draft Strategic Plan was presented to the (insert the name of the organisation or abbreviation) insert)."

"The (insert the name of the organisation or abbreviation) acknowledges and thanks the following persons for their input into the development of this Strategic Plan :
(insert list of people to be acknowledged)"

Section 2Statement About the organisation

A short statement about the organisation for the benefit of readers who may include sponsors, government, parent or associated organisations, staff, members and other stakeholders.

Items worthy of a mention include:

One page may be sufficient to cover this section.

Section 3Review of the previous Strategic Plan

In this section, the previous year is reviewed in terms of the success (or lack of success) achieved in pursuing the goals, objectives and strategies of the last year's Strategic Plan.

There is not a need for anything more than one page containing:

This section can be quite useful as it helps the reader understand why the new Strategic Plan may be different to the old one.

Section 4Executive Summary of the new plan

This section gives the reader an overview of the new Strategic Plan. This is extremely important as it may be the part of the document read the most.

One way of providing a summary is to extract from the Strategic Plan what you think are the most important strategies.

Section 5Goals, Objectives and Strategies

This is the central component of the Strategic Plan Document that provides detail about what (and how) is to be achieved in the next planning cycle.

It is normal to group goals, and their related objectives, strategies and performance measures by Key Result Area.

The actual method of setting out this information in the document often follows a Table format (see example). Creating Indented Paragraphs is an alternative format

See also: Help with writing goals, objectives and strategies

Section 6Glossary

This is not an essential component. However, the document is likely to be read by many people who are unfamiliar with the terminology of Strategic Planning.

Therefore the glossary should contain definitions of Strategic Planning terms such as mission, vision, key result, goals, objectives and performance measures. It may also be useful to provide definitions of other terms such as member, management committee, major event, sponsorship, self-funding, etc.

Setting out the information for the reader

There is no perfect way to write a Strategic Plan but the following guidelines may assist:

  1. The Strategic Plan should only be as complex as it needs to be. Consider the reader and consider whether you actually want people to read the document. A long/complex document will ensure that few people will read it. Furthermore a long document will require more photocopying expense.
  2. The Strategic Plan needs to have a professional appearance
  3. The Strategic Plan serves the needs of stakeholders outside the organisation e.g. sponsors and government funding agencies.
  4. The Strategic Plan needs to be approved by the management committee/board before publishing. However, drafts may be sent to stakeholders for comment prior to finalisation of the document.
  5. The Strategic Plan needs to be as clear as possible and easy to read. Include a Glossary to explain terms that may be specific to planning or the club/organisation.

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