Fiscal Year Planning: The Who, What, Why, Where and How
Many nonprofits are starting to think about the next year already since their fiscal years begin July 1st. I know this is a ton of work between updating budgets, board retreats and meetings, strategic plan updates, and a host of other activities. However, this is a necessary evil and I’ll try to provide a roadmap for the process.
- Who? You should include key stakeholders – organizational leadership, board members, selected front line staff (programmatic, financial, administrative), external partners, selected funders, volunteers. Think about a focus group or meeting to tweak your messaging, program design, and/or strategic plan. These individuals can help you with your messaging and provide the input to develop your plan.
- What? When you think about moving forward in the coming year, what would you like to accomplish and how does the current year data help set the course? Consider the following:
- Do you need to make any updates to any programs, operations and/or processes?
- Do you have any lessons learned (both good and bad) that can help support your FY17 goals?
- Does your logic model need to be modified?
- What does the data tell you about the services that you provided?
- Why? These updates are integral in order to show funders that you are thinking about continuous quality improvement, and you are engaging stakeholders across the organization (and beyond). An annual assessment and plan update can help ensure your organization is on mission and moving forward in the right direction. Taking that step back can provide some clarity from the (often hectic) day to day work that you do.
- Where? An on-location meeting, call or focus group is sufficient. However, sometimes it is best to be off-site and use a separate space in order to speak freely and disengage from the day to day operations.
- How? Put something on the calendar and come up with an agenda. Determine the deliverable(s) you seek to accomplish and assign responsibilities. If this is important to leadership, this should be considered important to all. Make sure you have a white board, flip charts and someone assigned to take notes and capture action items (as needed).