When organizations are walking through a multi-month strategic planning process with a nonprofit consultant, there tend to be a variety of tools that get pulled out of the facilitation tool belt.

In our work with 1300+ nonprofit organizations, we have found that leaders will often re-use these tools to keep their team thinking critically.

The following are 8 common strategic planning tools for your reference.

1. McKinsey 7S Framework: 

This model assesses an organization’s internal alignment by examining seven key elements: Strategy, Structure, Systems, Skills, Staff, Style, and Shared Values.

2. Balanced Scorecard: 

The Balanced Scorecard framework measures performance using a balanced set of financial and non-financial metrics, ensuring a comprehensive view of an organization’s progress.

3. PESTEL Analysis: 

PESTEL (Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental, and Legal) analysis helps organizations analyze the external macro-environmental factors that can impact their strategy.

4. Scenario Planning: 

Scenario planning involves creating multiple, plausible, future scenarios to help organizations prepare for various potential outcomes and develop strategies to adapt.

5. SWOT Matrix: 

This tool takes the results of a SWOT analysis and places them in a matrix format to prioritize strategic actions based on the combination of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

6. BCG Growth-Share Matrix: 

This matrix categorizes an organization’s products or services into four quadrants based on market share and growth rate. This helps prioritize resource allocation.

7. Ansoff Matrix: 

The Ansoff Matrix explores marketing growth strategies by considering whether organizations should focus on existing or new products/services in existing or new markets.

8. Force Field Analysis: 

This tool evaluates the driving and restraining forces that impact the success of a proposed change or strategic initiative, helping identify areas to focus on for effective change management.

Final Thoughts

These strategic planning tools offer a variety of approaches to analyze internal and external factors, prioritize actions, and develop effective strategies that align with an organization’s mission and goals. The choice of tool(s) often depends on the specific needs and complexity of the organization’s strategic planning process.

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