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Responsibility #6: Ensuring Effective Organizational Planning

July 04, 2013

How measuring and managing are essential to an effective plan.

A failure to plan is planning to fail. We have all heard that a million times, but what is the concept of planning? Some call it forethought – the process of thinking about and organizing the activities to achieve a desired goal.

Planning involves the creation and maintenance of a plan. Planning is a fundamental property of intelligent behavior.

A very important aspect of planning is forecasting. Forecasting is predicting what the future will look like including the development of scenarios and how to react to the forecasted developments. If you have planned for everything, nothing will surprise you.

It is the responsibility of the board to make sure that the organization operates according to a plan. In organizations, planning is a management process, concerned with defining goals for the organization’s future direction and determining the programs and resources to achieve the mission. To meet the goals, managers may develop plans such as an operational plan or a marketing plan. Planning always has a purpose. The purpose may be achievement of certain goals or targets and include both long-range and short-range items.

The main characteristics of planning in organizations are:

  • Planning increases the efficiency of an organization
  • It reduces the risks involved in modern business activities
  • It facilitates proper coordination within an organization
  • It aids in organizing all available resources
  • It assures that the organization is moving in the right direction
  • It is important to maintain a good control
  • It helps to achieve objectives of the organization
  • It motivates the personnel of an organization
  • It encourages managers’ creativity and innovation
  • It also helps in decision making

The concept of planning is to identify what the organization wants to do by using the four questions which are “where are we today in terms of our business or strategy; where are we heading; where do we want to go; and how are we going to get there?”

The Board should actively participate in the overall planning process and assist in implementing and monitoring the plan’s progress and goals. Planning is the process of translating the organization’s mission into objectives and goals that can be measured and eventually accomplished. Measurement is key. You cannot manage what you do not measure. For example; if you are trying to reduce your heating bills, in order to manage this goal you must continually be measuring the temperature in the house and maintaining a lower temperature.

Although I said that the Board should actively participate in the planning process, what I mean by that is that the Board should ask good questions during the planning process and expect good answers. The Board should avoid the details of planning. They should be a resource of personal and professional expertise to the members of management engaged in the detailed planning process. Requiring that planning be done and asking good questions and expecting good answers is extremely important and only the Board can do it.

Read more on not-for-profit boards:
Board Development Series

As one of the largest CPA firms in Boston, KLR is unique because they service over 220 not-for-profit organizations with compliance and consulting services. We have extensive experience helping Nonprofit organizations regarding boards, and board responsibilities, charitable contributions, taxes and 990 filing requirements. The KLR Nonprofit team is active in our local community and not-for-profit organizations, visit our Facebook page to see photos from our latest volunteer event.

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