How To Audit Your Strategic Plan To Prepare For Annual Planning


For all the passionate nonprofit leaders out there, I cannot stress enough the importance of strategic clarity. In my experience, it’s not the lack of effort or passion that derails organizations but the lack of a clear vision and set priorities. As we move into planning for 2024, take the time to revisit, refine, and refocus. Your organization, your team, and the community you serve will all benefit from this clarity.

That’s why, in this episode, as we approach the end of the year, I do a deep dive into the heart of effective annual planning: Your long-term strategic plan. Whether you’re an organization with a 5-year plan or a 3-year plan, your long term plan is your compass for developing a powerful annual plan.

You’ll learn:

  1. How your strategic plan is not just a document; it’s your guiding star, helping you determine where to channel your energy, time, and resource.
  2. The key attributes of an effective strategic vision statement.
  3. Why focusing on 3-5 strategic areas can drive better results than spreading your efforts thin.
  4. How to make sure your goals can guide your planning, using three parts of the SMART framework.

Quotable Quotes:

Your long term plan is a guiding document – a roadmap to make sure that you stay on course as you move forward across years. It tells the story of your focus.

Your vision clarifies the direction in which your organization needs to move and keeps everyone pushing forward to reach it.

When you have a hard time engaging donors and funders, lack of clarity is very frequently the unspoken reason. They’re confused about your priorities.

Use this time of the year to do an audit of your long-term plan so that it can be a powerful tool in your annual planning.

Resources Mentioned:


  1. Why is the long-term plan so essential?
    • It acts as a roadmap, ensuring alignment of time, money, and energy.
  2. What’s the difference between organizational vision and strategic vision?
    • Organizational vision looks outward, focusing on the world’s change, while strategic vision is internal, describing the organization’s evolution.
  3. Why is it crucial to avoid jargon in vision statements?
    • Jargon can exclude people and often dilutes clear thinking. Plain language is more powerful and inclusive.
  4. How many strategic priorities should one focus on?
    • Ideally, 3-5 strategic areas to ensure depth of impact and clear alignment.
  5. What is the relevance of the SMART framework in long-term goals?
    • The SMART framework ensures clarity, measurability, and time-bound goals, keeping the organization on track.


Connect with Brooke Richie Babbage at

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Episode Hooks

  1. Strategic Clarity Matters: Dive deep into why a long-term strategic plan is your not-so-secret weapon for focused impact.
  2. Redefining Vision: Uncover the difference between organizational and strategic vision and why it’s a game-changer.
  3. Priority Magic: Why focusing on 3-5 key areas can elevate your organization’s impact and clarity.
  4. Your Vision Statement: Is it clear, jargon-free, and genuinely inspiring? Tune in for a comprehensive guide.
  5. Plan Like a Pro: Harness the power of the SMART framework for goals that lead to tangible results in 2024 and beyond.

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