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Why the world should know about your strategic plan

Best practices for sharing your strategic plan with internal and external stakeholders

You’ve spent months working on an ambitious strategic plan. You set your sights high. You surveyed staff. You engaged board members. You spent countless hours making difficult decisions—weighing how different goals and activities would impact your mission. And today, you have a beautiful written plan in hand: one that outlines your goals and tasks for the next three to five years.

Now what?

As you begin the important work of implementing your plan, communication is critical to success. It’s likely that a small group of staff and board members led the development of your strategy. But you’ll need the work of everyone on your team—staff and volunteers alike—to bring that strategy to life.

Why should we share our strategic plan broadly?

Sharing your strategic plan builds trust with internal and external stakeholders by demonstrating transparency and promoting accountability.


Putting your plan out into the world makes it clear to everyone where you are going. For internal audiences, this helps create buy-in and builds a feeling that everyone is moving in the same direction. For external audiences, it shows that you are doing good things with the resources you receive.


Once you share your plan and the metrics you’ll use to track success, you’ve also started to build a structure for accountability. People will expect to see the work described in the plan—which can be a powerful motivator.

What messages should we share about our strategic plan?

As you share your strategy, focus on communicating four key elements: the vision, the process, the strategies for measuring and ensuring accountability, and (for internal audiences) how the plan connects to their everyday work.

Our vision for the future.

Strategic plans aren’t always a compelling read, and that’s okay. We would rather you have a clear plan to guide your actions and help you make decisions than a glossy marketing piece without substance. What is compelling is your vision for the future—or how you imagine your community and your organization will have transformed by the end of the plan.

How we got here.

For those involved in the planning process, it’s easy to remember the journey you took to develop your plan. You (hopefully) spent days listening to and analyzing stakeholder feedback, considering the challenges and opportunities for the future, and looking at the landscape you operate in. Informed by this data, you developed your vision for the future and outlined how you will get there through countless conversations and iterations of your plan. But not everyone saw that process unfold and the lack of awareness can lead people to wonder if the plan was put together thoughtfully.

So, share your hard work—provide a brief overview of your method, the diverse voices that played a role in the plan’s creation, and what factors influenced the plan’s direction.

How we measure success.

Every strategic plan should have measures of success. These are the metrics you pay attention to while implementing your plan to gauge whether you are moving towards your goals. They also provide an objective picture of what success looks like in each area.

Create a dashboard where staff can see how the organization is performing against its goals. If you don’t want to share all of your measures publicly, identify a small number of key indicators to include on the strategic plan page of your website.

A call to action—what does this mean for staff?

For internal audiences (including board members and other volunteers), the most difficult part of a strategic plan is seeing where they fit. How will this change my day-to-day work?

Consider gathering your team for a kickoff to debut your vision for the future and the plan elements. Before the meeting, ask a few staff members at various levels of the organization to come prepared to share how their work connects to the plan. These examples set the stage for others to think about their impact—which can be documented formally as part of your performance review process.

A recent client, YMCA of Central Ohio, had tremendous success sharing their plan with internal stakeholders. Learn more about how YCO rolled out their strategic plan here.

How often should we communicate about our strategic plan?

Sharing your plan isn’t a one and done activity. Just like your leadership team meets regularly to monitor progress towards your goals and review metrics, you should regularly provide updates to internal and external audiences. For your general staff, consider quarterly or monthly updates. For external stakeholders, think about updating your strategic planning website once or twice per year. Regardless of audience, your updates demonstrate that you are taking your plan (and its implementation) seriously.

has a background in grant writing, grant and program management, and nonprofit administration.

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