The strategic planning resource manual is designed to support groups that have identified strategic planning as a priority. It provides a step-by-step process as well as the resources and tools necessary for groups and facilitators responsible for leading a group through strategic planning. Strategic planning is a process that helps groups work towards a desired future by focusing energy and resources on shared goals. It helps groups to assess and adjust strategic direction in response to changing environments.

A strategic plan is a formally written document that guides a group's decision-making process toward achieving desired goals that align with their mission and vision statements. It also helps in allocating resources (volunteer, staff, monetary, infrastructure) and prioritizing actions.

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Determine if strategic planning suits your goals

The strategic planning resource manual may be for you if your group:

  • is operating smoothly but wonders if it will continue to do so in five years
  • lacks community appeal or is struggling to maintain viability
  • has an opportunity that it is considering
  • lacks a clear purpose
  • wants direction from the community
  • was originally formed to respond to a major issue that has now been addressed

Strategic planning may not be appropriate for you if there is:

  • a lack of leadership, training or skills
  • a lack of commitment to the process
  • the "old guard belief" that nothing can help and nothing ever changes
  • little likelihood of the strategic plan being used


Strategic planning and plan implementation will allow a group to:

  • establish a shared vision, mission and goals
  • establish clear, realistic objectives that are consistent with the vision and mission of the group
  • clarify or redefine your group's role and your target group(s)
  • provide new staff and volunteers with a shared understanding and common language
  • gain commitment to work on common goals
  • effectively communicate your focus and needs with various stakeholders
  • reduce the need to make repetitive decisions
  • deal positively with the change
  • address critical issues
  • find innovative ways to achieve goals
  • measure success and progress by creating clear outcomes for measurement
  • focus on goals to use resources effectively

Stages of the strategic planning process

The manual can also assist your group with breaking down the planning process into the following stages:


  • identify the need
  • understand the roles
  • stakeholder engagement
  • budget
  • information
  • timing

Developing a vision and a mission

  • develop vision statement
  • develop mission statement

Collecting and analyze information

  • gather information
  • conduct environmental scan
  • identify critical issues

Developing goals and action plans

  • prioritize and select goals
  • set objectives
  • identify performance measures
  • create action plans

Implementing and monitoring

  • write and communicate strategic plan
  • monitor and track process