Scenario: A group of adventurers gathers to identify the best place to set up camp on an island. They divide into teams and report back on what they have decided.

  • Team A decides that it would be best to follow the river through the center of the island and pick a spot along the way.
  • Team B decides that each group should go out in different directions and set up separate camps wherever they choose.
  • Team C decides they need to gather more information about the island and more information about the members of the group. They will then use this information to describe the characteristics of the ideal location. Finally, the group will determine how to move the group from its present location to the ideal camping location.

In case it is not clear, Team C is engaging their team members in a Strategic Plan process.

In Community Action, a successful strategic planning process will examine the current realities in the community, at the agency, and among the customers served by the agency. That information will then be used to make realistic projections about the environments over a three to five year period. The goal is to anticipate and respond to potential changes by clarifying the mission, targeting spending, and reconsidering existing or new programs, fundraising, and other aspects of operations.

Strategic Planning may seem like an overwhelming task—it can take between three and nine months to complete an entire strategic plan! Though you don’t have to go it alone—OCATO can facilitate this process to for member agencies. In the end, those who commit to the process will develop a useful tool that will provide guidance to their agency so they can better achieve its mission and impact their community.

Check out our list of trainings and services available to members to find out more.

Josh has over a decade of experience in organizational development and planning. He is a Certified ROMA trainer, Technology of Participation (ToP) certified strategic planner and facilitates board training and poverty simulations. Josh has presented organizational sustainability at local, regional, and national conferences. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin Madison’s School of Human Ecology where focused his studies on financial literacy and consumer education. As the Development Director, Josh is responsible for creating new partnerships with community organizations, other social services providers, government entities, corporation and potential funders. He is also responsible for funding research, grant writing, and program design and evaluation.

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