Strategic planning is essential for long-term growth and sustainable success. Read about strategic planning below and download our RFP template to get started.
Plan for success is what we’ve been told since grade school. Companies and nonprofits are no different.
Strategic planning is essential to the long-term growth and sustainable success of any organization, whether you work for a nonprofit, foundation, or private company.
What is Strategic Planning?
Strategic planning is when an organization's leaders define their vision for the future and identify the goals and objectives to achieve that vision. The process includes establishing the sequence in which leaders should realize those goals so the organization can reach its stated vision. Almost always, it is summarized in a written report that anyone can read, used to build short-term sprints and initiatives, and analyzed in the future to determine success or failure.
A third-party outsider is often needed to support your planning. Unfortunately, there isn’t a Home Depot where you can walk in and leave with the tools to get started on strategic planning. The good news is we've done the heavy lifting for you!
So if you’re doing this by yourself, start with this tested and researched strategic planning RFP template. Fill out the short form below to download the RFP template:
Writing a strategic planning RFP can be overwhelming, but this template saves you time with a guided process to get you started.
The first page is very similar to our other RFP templates, and for good reason! It summarizes all the information that someone finding out about your project for the first time needs, to decide if they want to learn more. Think of it like reading the back of a book before you dive in.
This information includes the issue and due date, an overview of the organization, why this strategic plan is happening, what is desired from the process, and how much someone can expect to earn if they get the job.
The second page and half of the third go into greater detail about the project itself and what you are looking to accomplish. It also sets those goals alongside any prior strategic planning process to see what level of continuity or separation there is for the person reading it and for you as well.
Most importantly, the project criteria detail the Scope of Work or key deliverables desired from this project in either a narrative or bulleted format. Personally, I recommend bulleted because this allows you to create and review this list in an easy-to-understand format that can be copied and built out in the SOW for a contract.
There are some optional fields you might find helpful in thinking about your strategic planning process. We’ve already detailed the Current Strategic Plan for those who have already done this once before. We strongly recommend including this if it applies to you.
The What We Like / What We Don’t Like is a versatile section to explain any context, quirks, or things you want to include or leave out during this process. We also note this is where you can detail submission requirements or your ideal candidate. This section is optional because we strive to encourage, not limit, creativity, and too strict requirements can lead to a less creative and helpful proposal. However, specific conditions, like In Person or Remote, which we also leave space for in Additional Information, are sometimes essential at the start to avoid confusion down the road.
While the administrative details can be tedious, they are nonetheless important. The template RFP offers clear deadlines and instructions for proposal submissions, making the submission process as easy as possible for potential respondents. Contact information is also provided should respondents have questions or concerns.
While the evaluation criteria can be specific, it provides a space for the organization to assess proposals. RFPs with evaluation criteria listed offer transparency for respondents. Details about each standard can help elaborate on how each criterion comes into play and what is expected from them.
We’ve written a few other tips on maximizing responses to any RFP, like allowing up to a month for proposals, and creating the space for 15-20 minute introductory calls. You can read more about that here.