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A key responsibility of your board is to make sure that your charity makes a difference, while working within its objectives, as laid out in the governing document.

Strategic planning may not always seem relevant to a small association or grant-giving trust. However, even the trustees of the smallest groups will benefit from standing back and questioning whether their charity should carry on doing what it has always done or make changes.

In fact, the smallest charities may have the most to gain: strategic planning can help them to keep nimble and make the most of new opportunities.

This means agreeing (usually every three to five years):

  • the ideal state your charity wants to see (the vision)
  • the role it will play to work towards the vision (the mission)
  • the changes it hopes to bring about (the outcomes)
  • how it will act (the values)
  • what it actually plans to do (the activities and outputs).

A strategic plan sets out how your charity will move from the present position to the one it aspires to reach by the end of the identified period. The format of your plan will depend on your charity’s needs and who you’re communicating the plan to. There are no rules about what a strategic plan should look like or what it should contain. It should be as long or as short, as detailed or as basic, as it needs to be.

This page was last reviewed for accuracy on 26 July 2022

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