The Strategic Objectives of Nonprofit Organizations

Strategic objectives are actionable statements that guide an organization's actions.
Strategic objectives are actionable statements that guide an organization's actions. (Image: Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

Strategic objectives, as a function of broader mission statements, help an organization work toward its goals and priorities. They provide specific guidance on how the organization can fulfill its goals, or move toward them, over a well-defined time frame, according to the University of Central Arkansas. For nonprofit organizations, strategic objectives are part of the overall strategic plan and should include specific goals and objectives, as well as some measurable or observable benchmarks to gauge progress.

Goals and Objectives

Goals are the overarching direction in which an organization focuses its activities; objectives are the benchmarks that indicate progress. Unlike goals, the success of a specific objective can be measured, according to Find Law. Such measurability directs action and creates accountability for progress. Keep in mind that the broad purpose or objective of a nonprofit organization can always be broken down into more specific goals. If the goal is to fight pollution, for example, more specific objectives could include how the organization will address water or air pollution.

Individual Responsibilities and Actions

Strategic objectives also help nonprofit organizations delegate tasks and responsibilities to individuals, thus ensuring someone is responsible for completing each task. A Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis is a good way to begin prioritizing and delegating tasks. When implementing a SWOT analysis, the goal is to identify how each SWOT variable applies to each colleague or employee in relation to the tasks at hand, according to Find Law. Strengths and weaknesses are internal factors that an organization can control; opportunities and threats are external factors to which the company will have to react. Using a SWOT analysis will ensure the best employee is chosen for each task.

Developing Strategic Objectives

Strategic objectives vary from company to company. Some objectives are common to most nonprofit, and for-profit, organizations, such as growth, management and resources. To be clear, phrase strategic objectives as imperative sentences that begin with a verb —“to grow”, for example — according to the website Global Future. Be as specific as possible when defining objectives; doing so will allow immediate, direct action. Include with objectives any relevant detail and directions to help complete the task at hand.

Performance Over Time

Measuring performance over a specific period of time is essential when developing strategic objectives. After all, strategic objectives exist to put an organization’s mission statement into action. Stating time constraints while establishing strategic objectives helps ensure each progress toward the organization’s overall mission because of the impending deadline. Time constraints also allow the organization to evaluate progress toward achieving each objective in regular intervals. When it’s time to evaluate progress, determine the validity of the mission statement and how well each objective works toward that mission, according to Score Knox. Consider evaluating strategic objectives every three months or annually.

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