Effective Stewardship Starts with Your Strategic Plan Part 3
If you’re new to strategic planning or know you need to refresh your church’s existing plan, you’ve come to the right blog series. We’re providing simple, easy-to-follow steps to a tangible strategic plan that can be a living document to guide your stewardship and ministry work.
In the prior blogs, we’ve shared how to craft your three key components as well as how to best conduct an analysis of your strengths, weaknesses, threats, and opportunities. Now that you’ve involved many people and gathered all that feedback, it’s time to cull it down into a set of priorities for your plan.
Once you have gathered all the information in whatever survey form you have chosen, you begin the fun part! Begin sorting the feedback into similar clumps of comments. If five people said, “music is the best part of our church,” put those comments together in a working document. You’ll want to start identifying themes in the SWOT feedback that will eventually lead to 3-5 priorities for the strategic plan.
In my experience, the best way to accomplish this step is to go off-site for uninterrupted time with the key strategy team, which should include the main leaders, and work through the feedback together. This dedicated, cloistered time is important both to get the work done in a collaborative way but it also strengthens the team and its commitment to the plan.
Once you have grouped together similar comments, some themes should appear naturally. Then the group needs to do some critical thinking, identifying and arguing for the main needs moving forward. What areas should you improve? Should you quit doing something? What opportunities should you engage? Everyone should have a voice in this process, so avoid allowing just one leader to dominate the discussion.
Examples of categories that may emerge might be: revenue production, building technology systems, starting a new part of the ministry to address an external need, or taking care of our current staff. The goal is to arrive at 3-5 main areas of focus for your strategic plan. These are the key areas of focus for the length of the plan (usually 3-4 years). In today’s world, it’s tough to build a 10-year strategic plan.
Work together until you have that set of priorities identified. They will be the basis for the last step, which is setting goals under each priority of the plan. We’ll unpack that in the next blog.
Building (or Refreshing) Your Strategic Plan Now!
Less is more when it comes to strategic plans. This easy-to-use guide leads you to a concrete strategic plan in three pages or fewer.
The quality of time you spend. Not the length of the final document will shape your church’s mission, membership, and development work going forward.
We give you the tools to produce a simple, straightforward strategic plan.
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A Nonprofit DNA partner, Mike Meyers has over 20 years of nonprofit experience in fundraising and leadership within organizations and as a consultant. He has served as Chief Development Officer for three large nonprofits. And as CEO of Food for the Hungry, he led global strategic planning. Mike has been involved in nonprofit work in more than 60 countries and led fundraising efforts on six continents.