Nonprofit Strategic Planning: Guided Roadmap Example

Written by

Chuen Seet

For leaders in the nonprofit sector, scarce resources and high demand mean you need a tight strategic planning process and a focused strategic roadmap.

The simple method developed by the Jibility team for building a strategic roadmap has resonated with nonprofits since we first began. Based on our team’s own consulting experience within the nonprofit sector, we’ve compiled this walkthrough and example strategic roadmap specifically to support nonprofits aiming to improve their strategic planning process.

So, without further ado, meet our example nonprofit organization: Workout4Good.

Who is Workout4Good?

Workout4Good (W4G) is a nonprofit connecting people who are looking for a way to help others while getting in a workout. W4G combines physical exercise with opportunities to volunteer and do good work in the community. Members can volunteer across a range of activities like garden makeovers, moving house, taking the kids on a trail bike ride, or just walking the family dog.

W4G’s co-founders, Matt and Tom, had a longstanding ritual of meeting at the gym with their friends at least twice a week. The workout and bonding were great, but Matt often thought about the energy he and his mates expended at each gym session and whether that energy could be applied in another way – for some greater purpose.

Four years ago, Tom’s life turned for the worse after a severe car accident. He suffered a head injury and broke several bones. After a month in hospital, he continued his recovery at home but was bound to his bed or chair. His wife carried on as best as possible with their two young children, but the usual chores, such as gardening, fell behind. After about eight months, the yard looked like a jungle.

Matt wanted to help. So, he rounded up their crew to skip the gym and instead do a day’s work cleaning up Tom’s yard. Everyone involved not only got a workout, but also felt a sense of personal satisfaction they never felt at the gym.

A year later, Tom recovered from his injuries and he and Matt launched Workout4Good.

Workout4Good’s vision and goals

When Matt and Tom started W4G, they were fortunate to receive some early advice on formulating their vision and goals. From this, they were able to produce a clear model for communicating their vision, drivers, goals, and problems.

Nonprofit Strategic Vision Model

The starting point of this model is to consider the motivation for starting the organization and translate this into the key strategic drivers. For W4G, these drivers were Community Good, Purpose, Personal Fitness and Sustainability. The drivers can be combined to give a succinct description of W4G: an organization sustainably focused on a cause (purpose) of helping the community while keeping fit.

This can be distilled further into the vision statement that sits at the top of the model. For W4G, this is simply 'Workouts for Community & Personal Good'.

To complete the model, Matt and Tom brainstormed their top strategic goals and the problems facing them. With this understanding, they were left with the big question: how could they overcome their challenges in order to achieve their objectives?

Nonprofit strategic planning: 4 steps to translate vision and goals into a strategic roadmap

W4G needed to establish a series of initiatives that would enable them to meet their objectives and overcome their challenges. They needed these initiatives to be actionable within the next two years, and they needed a roadmap to help them plan and visualize the way forward.

This is where they began following Jibility’s 4-step approach for building a strategic roadmap, outlined below. The simple and fast nature of this method makes it ideal for nonprofits.

4 Step Nonprofit Strategic Planning Process

Nonprofit challenges and objectives: Understanding 'why?'

W4G needed to establish a series of initiatives that would enable them to meet their objectives and overcome their challenges. They needed these initiatives to be actionable within the next two years, and they needed a roadmap to help them plan and visualize the way forward.

Matt and Tom kicked off the process by gathering the leadership team for a workshop, in which they elaborated on their challenges and objectives, and then prioritized.

Discover our top tips for running strategic planning workshops here.

Firstly, they analyzed their goals and business problems from their strategy model to clearly articulate their challenges. This initially resulted in over 20 challenges – far too many to realistically solve. So, they grouped and prioritized the challenges until they agreed upon the top 6 challenges to address in the next two years, shown in the screenshot below.

Nonprofit Challenges Examples
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The second step was to define what objectives they would need to achieve over the next two years in order to successfully address each challenge. This resulted in a total of 12 objectives.

A crucial part of establishing the objectives was ensuring that no challenge or objective was orphaned; every challenge needed to be addressed by at least one objective, and every objective needed to address at least one challenge. Jibility helps ensure this by enabling users to visually link challenges and objectives by simply dragging and dropping, demonstrated in the screenshot from W4G below:

Nonprofit Goals Examples
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Nonprofit initiatives and roadmap: Visualizing 'how?'

After confirming the objectives, Matt and Tom started to define the packages of work (initiatives) required to meet each objective. For the sake of a strategic roadmap, initiatives are high-level but can be broken down into broad tasks and projects.

For example, their 'Client Referral Scheme Design' initiative was decomposed into actions like 'Appoint a client referral owner' and 'Define client referral model'. A snapshot of some of the W4G initiatives is below.

Nonprofit Strategic Initiative Examples
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In this image, you can see that each initiative has at least one blue number attached to it. These numbers correspond with the 12 objectives. Linking initiatives to objectives is critical to this method (and is conveniently another drag-and-drop feature in Jibility).

Emphasizing these linkages helped Matt and Tom substantiate why each initiative was required, and well as creating an easy way to check that the initiatives addressed all 12 objectives.

Once armed with a complete list of initiatives, Matt and Tom laid out their roadmap by sequencing each initiative by the delivery stage (columns) and grouping related initiatives into themes (rows). The result was the below roadmap.

Nonprofit Strategic Roadmap Example
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You may notice that they have split the first year into quarters and the second year only in half. This is simply because they don’t know what may lay ahead after the first 12 months; they may need to pivot.

As time progresses, Matt and Tom will refine their roadmap with further detail. Strategic roadmaps are living documents that should be frequently checked and adapted – not put on a shelf until the next scheduled planning session. This is something that a dedicated lightweight tool like Jibility makes easier and faster.

The above version of W4G’s roadmap is featured as one of the sample roadmaps in the Jibility tool, meaning that you can review all the detail within the context of the tool and its guided 4 steps by signing up for free.

Jibility for efficient nonprofit strategic planning

Jibility is a cloud-based tool that guides users through the 4-step process followed by Workout4Good. Not only do we have a forever-free version of the tool, but we also offer discounted rates on our paid plans for nonprofits, to open up even more functionality.

Our tool and the Jibility Steps® method help nonprofits focus on what is most important for achieving their strategic vision in a logical and pragmatic way.