Your Strategic Planning Checklist for April


For organizations with a July to June fiscal year, April is the time in your 12-month strategic planning cycle to fine tune details for your new fiscal year and start work on your summer-into-fall campaigns. Fortunately if you’ve stayed on top of your monthly tasks (sorry for posting this one late!), April should be a breeze:

1. Hold your Q3/Q4 interdepartmental strategy session. With the second quarter well underway, it’s time to start planning for Q3 and Q4 membership and advocacy campaigns. Assemble all the key program, marketing, communications and development people in your organization and hold a “blue sky” session on upcoming issues and how to talk about them with your members and prospects. Don’t worry about logistics and implementation (that’s next month). Just focus on ideas and “what ifs” for now.

2. Fine tune your FY11 membership plan. By now you have a solid draft of your campaign plan and budget for the new fiscal year. Continue collecting data, pricing and information to fine tune your FY11 performance goals and budgets.

3. Schedule interviews with prospective new vendors. By now you’ve also received proposals in response to any new vendor RFPs that you circulated last month. Review the proposals and schedule presentations with your top candidates for next month, with an eye toward selecting new vendors (or deciding to stay with existing ones) by the end of May.

4. Continue to monitor progress toward fiscal year end goals and adjust strategies if needed. If it looks like you’re not going to meet your fiscal year end goals, it’s not too late to do something about it. But the key is spotting problems now. If, by the end of April, you’re not on track to meet your fiscal year end goals, it’s time to rally a corrective campaign.

Stay tuned for your May strategic planning tasks from us next week.

And if you haven’t signed up already, be sure to register for the AFP’s Fundraising Day in New York on June 11 and the AFP/DMAW  Bridge Conference in DC July 26-28 – and stop by my sessions on membership development and donor-centric communications. Hope to see you there!


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