Nonprofit Strategic Planning for the Great Unknown

By Dr. Alicia Schatteman

Every nonprofit strategic plan that was to cover the year 2020 is obsolete, or is it?  Strategic planning is a process of figuring out a vision for the future and how to get there.  It is a process by which an organization takes a long hard look at what they’re doing and how well they are doing it.  Typically a strategic planning process involves lots of people so you can hear from multiple perspectives such as staff, board, volunteers, donors, etc.

If your nonprofit is one of about 20% of all nonprofits with a current strategic plan, now is a good time to get it out and see if the plan needs to be adjusted given the current COVID19 situation.  It is likely this situation will last for several more months likely into the fall of 2021.  So at the same as your organization has had to make some very quick decisions during this evolving pandemic, you likely also have seen increased demand for your services and possibly declining revenue.  Your strategic plan is more relevant now than ever before.

Early 2020 seems like a lifetime ago but go back to your plans. What did you want to accomplish this year?  Have those goals changed and in what ways?  Likely your vision has not changed, but the timeline has certainly been affected. What can you salvage and what do you have to let go for now?

Strategic planning has no beginning and certainly no end.  It is a cycle of continual planning, revaluation, adjustment, and momentum to move forward, to realize your vision. 

Although the next 6-18 months are truly unknown in many ways, strategic planning should indeed continue and is likely more important to do now than ever before.


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