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The objectives of the planning phase are to:

  • Understand a strategic plan and its process;
  • Link strategic plan to budgeting; and
  • Be ready to prepare a plan.

Strategic Plan 
Strategic planning is a disciplined process for making key decisions and agreeing on actions.
Why is it Done?
A strategic plan is an important tool to guide the work of any organization. It will help maintain a focused, long term vision of the organization's mission and purpose, and aid decisions about the allocation of human and financial resources.  


  • VISION is a big picture of what you want to achieve.
  • MISSION is a general statement of how you will achieve the vision.
  • STRATEGY/IES is/are one or more ways to use the mission statement in order to achieve the vision statement.
  • GOAL is a general statement of what needs to be accomplished to implement a strategy.
  • OBJECTIVE is a specific milestone with a specific timeline for achieving a goal.

Overview of WAGGGS Strategic Plan
The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) is the largest voluntary Movement dedicated to girls and young women in the world.

Refer to the Original Resource for Table
(Found in the PDF Document Available in each of the WAGGGS Official Languages at https://campfire.wagggs.org/PlanningBudgeting)

The WAGGGS strategic plan is developed through broad consultation across WAGGGS, with specific, measurable objectives being developed at Regional and World levels. The Strategic Plan is about how WAGGGS will manage to achieve the Mission through the work of its Member Organizations (MOs) as well as at Regional and World levels.   

The current WAGGGS strategic plan identifies three strategic themes:  more opportunities for girls, greater global influence, and a strong and vibrant movement.  Each of the themes is fleshed out through two strategies, which in turn lead to projects under each strategy.  The plan includes key performance indicators of support to MOs.


Planning Linked to Finance – Budgeting
Finance is an important organizational element. An organization or association should have a fit for purpose financial reporting, systems and processes in place that are implemented consistently and reviewed on a regular basis.  Part of finance is budgeting. Budgeting, which should be consistent with the strategic plan of the organization, is significant. 

Refer to the Original Resource for Graphic
(Found in the PDF Document Available in each of the WAGGGS Official Languages at https://campfire.wagggs.org/PlanningBudgeting)


More on Financial Planning

  • A budget is used to support the strategic plan of an organization. It is created with the intention of ensuring that the strategic plan is achieved by allocating it enough monetary resources to ensure its accomplishment. 
  • A budget can also be used in a reverse way to influence the strategic plan, based on the amount anticipated to be acquired and the main strategic goals that must be accomplished.
  • Strategic planning is done to identify processes needed to ensure organization growth, and stability. Budgeting is done to identify the resources available for funding those processes.
  • In most cases, strategic planning and budgeting focus on identifying opportunities that can fit the organization budget to bring change to an organization.  


People Involved
Strategic Planning may usually involve:

  • Executive Committee / Central Board Members;
  • Planning Team, Senior Staff; 
  • Senior Volunteers and Key Personnel knowledgeable in specific areas
  • In terms of budgeting, a budget specialist is involved.


When is Planning Done?
The scheduling for the strategic planning process depends on the nature and needs of the organization and the environment in which it revolves.

The financial management of an organization is usually based on a year-to-year, or fiscal year, basis. In this case, strategic planning should be conducted in time to identify the organizational goals to be achieved at least over the coming calendar or fiscal year, resources needed to achieve those goals, and funding needed to obtain the resources. These funds are included in budget planning for the coming calendar or fiscal year.
Consider the following guidelines:

  • Strategic planning should be conducted at least once a year in order to be ready for the coming calendar or fiscal year. 
  • Not all phases of strategic planning need be fully completed each year. The full strategic planning process should be conducted at least once every three years (e.g. medium term plan / triennium). 
  • Each year, action plans should be updated.
  • During implementation of the plan, the progress of the implementation should be reviewed at least on a quarterly basis. The frequency of review depends on the need of the organization. 


Steps to Strategic Planning

1. Prepare to plan.

Consider the following:
Involvement and Participation

  • Who will be involved in the process (e.g. governing body, staff)? What will their precise roles be? 
  • Who will be involved from outside the organization (e.g. counterparts, partner organizations, beneficiaries, external expert, over-all or part-time facilitator)? What kind of external perspectives and experiences will help in planning?


  • How much time will be set aside for strategic planning? And over what period of time?
  • What is the timetable?


  • Planning will be quicker and easier if relevant documents are collected in advance. Who will be responsible for collecting the relevant documents?

Administrative Arrangements

  • Who will be responsible for ensuring that written notes of the discussions are kept? 
  • Who will be responsible for providing administrative support for the planning process?


2. Clarify mandate and scope of work.
This step builds consensus to some questions:

  • For what purpose was the organization established and what policies and principles influence the way it operates?
  • What internal rules and regulations influence the organization’s work?
  • What external legislation and agreements (e.g. with funding agencies, the government) affect its operations and how?
  • What influence do stakeholders have on the service or program? 
  • Given all this, what is it possible and not possible for the organization to do (e.g. laws or other restrictions)?


3. Analyze the internal and external environment.


  • What human and financial resources and capacity are available to the organization?
  • What are the organization’s weaknesses and strengths?
  • What makes the organization different or distinctive?
  • What are the main lessons to be drawn from an analysis of the effectiveness of the organization’s current and past programs?


  • Who are the target or which groups of people are most affected by issues / trends?
  • What are the social, economic, political, technological and environmental issues / trends that make these people vulnerable?
  • What are the causes of these issues / trends?
  • What are the organization itself, other agencies and local communities doing to address these burning issues?

One useful tool that assists this process is a SWOT analysis.

Refer to the Original Resource for Graphic
(Found in the PDF Document Available in each of the WAGGGS Official Languages at https://campfire.wagggs.org/PlanningBudgeting)


4. Identify the strategic issues.

This step draws together and builds on the work completed in the previous steps. 

Strategic issues may relate either to the aims of the organization, or to its mandate, or to the analysis of the external and internal environment.

Is the issue strategic?

  • Is it possible to explain why it is a burning issue?
  • Can the organization do anything about the issue?
  • Will the impact of addressing the issue be significant?
  • Does the issue have significant implications for financial or human resources?
  • Will there be important consequences if this issue is NOT addressed?

It is important to identify the strategic issues because this helps to:

  • Focus attention on really important issues
  • Identify the major choices facing the organization
  • Highlight areas needing change
  • Provide insights about how to resolve the issues


5. Define the strategic aims.

A strategic aim:

  • Usually relates to the period ahead (e.g. three-year)
  • States clearly and precisely what the organization wants to achieve during this time and how it intends to achieve it

The key questions to ask are:

  • How can the strategic issues identified be synthesized or merged?
  • Which issues should be prioritized?


6. Define strategies to address each strategic aim.

Strategies are the paths that the organization will follow as it works towards achieving the identified strategic aims.

  • What are the most appropriate strategies to pursue in working towards the identified strategic aim?
  • What are the relative advantages and disadvantages of method such as research, project funding, networking, advocacy and capacity building for realizing the strategic aim?
  • What approaches or combination of approaches will be used (e.g., capacity building, institutional strengthening, research, advocacy, networking, conflict resolution)?
  • Who will the partner organizations or counterparts be (e.g., local or network or other organizations)?


7. Identify the resources required to achieve the strategic aims.

Financial Resources

  • What financial resources are currently available, for which aspects of the work planned, and where do these come from (e.g., international donors, government, corporate fund)?
  • How much and how much more is needed to fund the programs and operations of the organization or association? How will these be funded?
  • Are there new sources of funding that could be explored?

Human Resources

  • What human resources are currently available (e.g., staff skills and experiences, contributions from partners and other agencies)?
  • What are the gaps between what is available and what is needed?
  • How might these gaps best be filled? (e.g., consider the merits of staff development and training, developing new partnerships, employment of new staff).
  • Is the balance between different categories of staff (e.g., management, finance, administration and program) optimal? If not, how might this be changed?
  • Within the program staff team, is there a balance (e.g., between project, communications, advocacy, capacity building and networking skills)? If not, how will the imbalances be addressed?


8. Budget the plan.
This step concerns the resources that will be needed to implement the strategic plan. They will need to cover the strategies identified for each strategic aim.

Factors to consider are:

  • Identify the inputs required to implement each strategy in terms of people, services, materials or equipment. 
  • Assess and categorize the costs of inputs. One way of doing this is to distinguish between recurring or one-time cost or expenses.
  • Assess and categorize the organization’s income. Identify funds whether internally generated or donation or grant and whether is it restricted (e.g., for specific purpose) or unrestricted (e.g., free or readily available for any use). 
  • Identify and translate the gaps. Consider areas (e.g., programs, projects) that are not funded and explore fundraising strategy.

Head on to the next page for a sample of a strategic plan.

Refer to the Original Resource for Sample
(Found in the PDF Document Available in each of the WAGGGS Official Languages at https://campfire.wagggs.org/PlanningBudgeting)

The next chapter will detail the discussion on Budgeting.