It’s time to get started! Use the energy and attention created by the launch party to gather the Steering Committee and additional community perspectives to craft the Strategic Action Plan and carrying it out. This process may take a couple of strategic planning sessions (See Value Louisiana Case Study) and is greatly benefit by a professional facilitator, but you should now have a diverse array of community perspectives with a basic knowledge of the local impact economy and a vested interest in improving that for-benefit ecosystem. This plan will help maintain cohesion and give direction to the group. It’s charted actions, committed drivers and realistic deadlines are an important reference tool to keep everyone on track. It also provides a motivating vision of success with milestones everyone can (and should!) celebrate along the way.
How to Create an Effective Strategic Action Plan ∇
- SOLIDIFY A VISION STATEMENT by having the backbone organization propose a draft for the Strategic Action Planning Committee to give feedback on. This keeps everyone on the same page about the purpose of this group.
- REVIEW EXAMPLES of other community’s sustainability or resilience plans, as well as examples of for-benefit organizations currently within the community and the organizations that are working with them. This gives everyone a base knowledge, additionally a handout mapping out some of these details can help people feel more at ease about understanding the current landscape.
- REVIEW LOCAL IMPACT ECONOMY CHALLENGES uncovered in your State of the Impact Economy Report. Maybe reflect on these by reframing them into a SWOT chart: Strength Weaknesses Opportunities and Threats.
- BRAINSTORM GOALSdescribing a handful of ways your initiative wants to grow the fourth sector and impact economy in your community by addressing the roadblocks or weaknesses in your local impact economy reflected on during the process above. Start with a broad list of goals and then narrow them down into SMART goals: specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time-bound.
- CIRCULATE GOALS FOR FEEDBACK from additional community leaders not on the Strategic Action Planning Committee. Look at the committee’s strengths and weaknesses and recruit additional partners to the Strategic Action Planning Process to fill gaps. Along with these goals have concrete metrics to measure how close you’re getting to achieving your goals and keep track of them quarterly.
- CREATE ACTION ITEMSfor a realistic portion of the goals based on priority. The action items describe the specific physical steps needed to achieve each goal. Focus on doable actions! Don’t set out to bite off more than you (and your partners) can chew – people are motivated by accomplishments not defeat.
- POST ACTION ITEMS TO TIMELINE in chronological order. Consider only mapping out 1-3 years of action items, as goals may shift with changing times.
- DIVIDE INTO SUBCOMMITTEES to address each goal. While committee members can be contacted by other subcommittees as needed, the subcommittee they join will be their area to focus on. The subcommittee members will sign up as ACTION DRIVERS who will take responsibility for accomplishing specific activities in year 1 and report on their progress in regular subcommittee meetings.
- RECAP & … READY, SET, GO implement! Send out a one page visual that can help committee members stay on track as well as communicate to others in the community what is going to be accomplished in year 1.