Strategic Planning for Nonprofit Organisations


A strategic plan functions as a roadmap for an organisation to chart its organisational priorities, define operational goals and align resources to support the strategic planning framework. The board’s responsibility is to set the direction, steer the organisation through the strategic planning process, analyse operating costs, set budget targets and develop performance indicators to track progress and achievements. Ultimately, the strategic framework reflects the shared vision of both the organisation and the board and documents the commitment of the board members and staff to the priorities outlined in the plan.

This guide provides recommended resources on the topic of strategic planning for nonprofit organisations that are available from NLB as well as on the Internet. As the guide is not intended to be comprehensive, interested readers should search the NLB catalogue or the Internet for more resources.


Search Terms Call Number
Strategic planning 658.4012
Nonprofit organizations — Management 361.763; 658.048; 658.4092



(listed in alphabetical order)


  • Allison, M. & Kaye, J. (2015). Strategic planning for nonprofit organisations: A practical guide for dynamic times (3rd ed). Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons. Available from eBrary books.
    The third edition of this book offers invaluable advice for nonprofit organisations on the setting of goals, acquiring, allocating and maximising limited resources. It includes real-life case studies featuring various scenarios of strategic planning and worksheets with step-by-step instructions for creating a strategic plan.


  • Auster, E. R. & Hillenbrand, L. (2016). Stragility: Excelling at strategic changes. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Available from eBooks on Ebscohost.
    The key to thriving in an unpredictable and turbulent environment is to be agile, innovative and proactive in strategic planning. This can rally the organisation together and empower people to make bold changes in work plans, to set goals and track performances.


  • Johnston, R. E. & Bate, J. D. (2013). The power of strategy innovation: A new way of linking creativity and strategic planning to discover great business opportunities. New York: AMACOM Books. Available from NLB Overdrive.
    The authors provide a five-phase methodology for strategic innovation that marries creativity and out-of-the-box techniques with organisational goal setting and advancement. The pragmatic framework is customisable to organisations of varying sizes and operations.


  • McLaughlin, T. A. (2006). Nonprofit strategic positioning: Decide where to be, plan what to do. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons. Available from NLB Overdrive.
    Targeted at nonprofit executives, board members, directors, trustees and fundraising professionals, this book provides a structured actionable plan for strategic positioning which can be tailored for nonprofits of all sizes and from different sectors.


  • O’Dea, P. (2013). The business battlecard: Winning moves for growing companies. California: Oak Tree Press. Available from NLB Overdrive.
    Using a five question approach, O’Dea presents insights to creating a practical roadmap that will capture customer mindshare, beat the competition and enlarge the company’s presence and value in the community.


  • Sampler, J. L. (2014). Bringing strategy back: How to make planning relevant in the new normal of constant change. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Available from eBrary books.
    With a rapidly changing and chaotic global business climate, this book eschews the traditional strategic planning formula and advocates incorporating four strategic shock absorbers in the planning process that will enable leaders to ride out unpredictable economic turmoil and triumph over adversity.


  • Wittmann, R. & Reuter, M. (2013). Strategic planning: How to deliver maximum value through effective business strategy. London: Kogan Page. Available from NLB Overdrive.
    This book is a useful guide on crafting and implementing successful strategies to boost company revenues and staff performance. It also covers risk management, values based management, value chain and competitive advantage and leadership skills.



(listed in alphabetical order)




  • Jäger, U. (2010). Managing social businesses: Mission, governance, strategy, and accountability. Houndsmill, Basingstoke, Hampshire; New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
    Call no.: RBUS 658 JAG
    Jäger presents a strategic decision-making framework aimed at helping nonprofits and social businesses to rationalise their social purposes with the need to optimise economic viability. Four key areas in organisational management are addressed in this book: resources, impact, leadership and motivation.


  • Light, M. (2010). Results now for nonprofits: Purpose, strategy, operations, and governance. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.
    Call no.: RBUS 658.4012 LIG
    Light proposes a practical and comprehensive high performance strategy plan integrating the principles of management, governance and cohesion that can help nonprofits realise their mission while staying true to their organisational values. The book also focuses on accountability for measuring progress and monitoring performance to ensure that milestone successes are achievable.



  • Sheehan, R. M. (2010). Mission impact: Breakthrough strategies for nonprofits. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.
    Call no.: RBUS 658.048 SHE
    Mission Impact provides step-by-step instructions on crafting a strategy development process that will help nonprofit organisations to deliver breakthrough performances. Sheehan calls for the nonprofit boards, staff and other stakeholders to work together in identifying mission gaps, to draw up long-range organisational goals and initiate action plans to move the organisation forward.



(listed in alphabetical order)


  • Fram, E. (2015, May 3). Strategic planning: Nonprofit board orphan. Retrieved May 3, 2017, from Huffington Post website:
    According to a 2015 survey, 35 percent of over 800 nonprofit boards scored poorly in the area of strategic development, as indicated by the absence of long-range policy plans. This article discusses the challenges faced by nonprofit boards, suggests various ways to tackle them and places the onus on the organisation’s chief executive and chairperson to make strategic planning a priority item on the board’s agendas.


  • National Council of Nonprofits. (2017). Strategic planning for nonprofits. Retrieved May 3, 2017, from National Council of Nonprofits website:
    This website provides a quick overview on strategic planning for nonprofits with links to useful resources on the basics of strategic planning, including an example of a strategic plan from the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits.


  • NYC Service. (2016, April). NYC Good governance blueprint: Best practices, resources, and tools for nonprofit executive directors and board members. Retrieved May 3, 2017, from NYC Nonprofits website:
    Section II of the report focuses on “Strategic planning and management” (pp. 11-25) and details the board’s role in strategic planning as well as the core elements of the planning process and covers performance management, results tracking and management of the organisation life cycle. Also included is a strategic plan jumpstart checklist and an internal assessment guide.


  • Stern, G. J. (2013). Shaping the future: The board member’s role in nonprofit strategic planning. Retrieved May 3, 2017, from First Nonprofit Foundation website:
    This booklet highlights 10 key areas pertaining to the role of the board in nonprofit strategic planning, such as the need to clarify the specific roles and expectations of board members, being flexible to expect the unexpected and stepping up to accept the challenge of making difficult decisions.


  • The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO). Strategy case studies. (2017, April 7). Retrieved May 4, 2017, from NCVO Knowhow Nonprofit website:
    This website provides links to case studies of strategic planning by four nonprofit organisations in the UK — The National Council for Voluntary Organisations, King’s College London Students’ Union, Leeds University Union and Macmillan Cancer Support. The case studies highlight the process and challenges faced in creating and implementing the strategic planning framework.



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Sharon Teng


The information in this resource guide is valid as at May 2017 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history on the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

All Rights Reserved. National Library Board Singapore 2017.

Written by Sharon Teng