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About the Strategic Plan
A strategic plan is a document that defines the direction that an organization wants to go, or its strategy. It also makes decisions about how to allocate resources in order to achieve this strategy.
You could think of the strategic plan as a guide or a roadmap of what the organization wants to accomplish. Often a plan starts out by describing the environment in which an organization operates and assessing strengths and weaknesses of the organization within that environment. The organization wants to establish for itself a particular place in that environment. It aims to do this by creating a set of action items or initiatives and allocating resources to accomplish those items.
Every organization should have a clear idea of where it stands and what it hopes to accomplish. This can be an issue in an organization like the Native Plant Society of Texas which is very decentralized. We have lots of individual chapters and they have very indistinct lines of accountability to the central organization. Our governing body – the state board – is overly large and not used to working with one another. Members of the board come and go from one year to the next often with little awareness of what their predecessors have been doing.
There are many ways in which an organization can create a strategic plan for itself. In recent history our society has created two strategic plans. The first was in 1996 when leaders held a weekend retreat at Bamberger Ranch and crafted a document under the guidance of a professional facilitator. Results were published in a special edition of the membership newsletter. Then in 2008, a new plan was created through a series of in-person and online sessions conducted by an outside facilitator.
Last year the state board concluded that the goals of the 2008 plan were mostly either already accomplished or that they were out of date. The environment in which we operate has shifted and we now have new programs which were not taken into account in that plan.
In January, 2018, Cecil Carter, the state board president, asked Dell Hood to draft a new strategic plan. Dell is a long-time member of our society who lives in Wimberley. He previously served on our state board and has led a number of special projects. Dell presented his draft to the state board in April, 2018, and it was subsequently circulated among chapter leaders and others. A nine-member committee reviewed their comments and made changes to the document. The resulting new draft was posted on our website where all members could make comments and suggestions. Then the committee reviewed the comments and made additional changes to the document. More comments and discussion were solicited at a live workshop conducted at the fall symposium. The planning committee then created a final document which was approved at the state board meeting on January 19, 2019.
This glossary of definitions is provided to help explain some terms as used in the proposed plan.
An Executive Director could be thought of as the chief operating officer or chief executive officer of the organization. Many people believe that our organization would be better served by a full-time paid executive director in place of (or in addition to) a part-time volunteer President. Most likely an Executive Director would report directly to the state board. The exact duties would depend on the contract drawn up when a candidate accepts the job and might depend on the particular skills a candidate brings. The state board approved a general description of the responsibilities of an executive director in 2016.
Advocacy is public support for, or recommendation of, a particular cause or policy. Advocacy can include many activities that a person or organization undertakes, including media campaigns, public speaking, or commissioning and publishing research. Non-profit organizations are not prohibited from engaging in advocacy.
Lobbying is a type of advocacy where a direct approach is made to legislators on an issue.
Goal, Objective, Strategy
Labels applied to various dimensions of Dell Hood’s plan in order to provide structure. As used there, a Strategy is an action intended to achieve a desired Objective. Objectives are grouped together with related Objectives under the heading of a Goal. These labels may be considered arbitrary.