Chapter 8. Developing a Strategic Plan | Section 1. An Overview of Strategic Planning or "VMOSA" (Vision, Mission, Objectives, Strategies, and Action Plans) | Main Section (2022)

Learn how to use VMOSA to take a dream and make it a reality by developing a vision, setting goals, defining them, and developing action plans.

Chapter 8. Developing a Strategic Plan | Section 1. An Overview of Strategic Planning or "VMOSA" (Vision, Mission, Objectives, Strategies, and Action Plans) | Main Section (1)

VMOSA (Vision, Mission, Objectives, Strategies, and Action Plans) is a practical planning process used to help community groups define a vision and develop practical ways to enact change. VMOSA helps your organization set and achieve short term goals while keeping sight of your long term vision. Implementing this planning process into your group's efforts supports developing a clear mission, building consensus, and grounding your group's dreams. This section explores how and when to implement VMOSA into your organization's planning process.

What is VMOSA?

One way to make that journey is through strategic planning, the process by which a group defines its own "VMOSA;" that is, its Vision, Mission, Objectives, Strategies, and Action Plans. VMOSA is a practical planning process that can be used by any community organization or initiative. This comprehensive planning tool can help your organization by providing a blueprint for moving from dreams to actions to positive outcomes for your community.

In this section, we will give a general overview of the process, and touch briefly on each of the individual parts. In Examples, we'll show you how an initiative to prevent adolescent pregnancy used the VMOSA process effectively. Then, in Tools, we offer you a possible agenda for a planning retreat, should your organization decide to use this process. Finally, the remaining sections in this chapter will walk you through the steps needed to fully develop each portion of the process.

Why should your organization use VMOSA?

Why should your organization use this planning process? There are many good reasons, including all of the following:

  • The VMOSA process grounds your dreams. It makes good ideas possible by laying out what needs to happen in order to achieve your vision.
  • By creating this process in a group effort (taking care to involve both people affected by the problem and those with the abilities to change it), it allows your organization to build consensus around your focus and the necessary steps your organization should take.
  • The process gives you an opportunity to develop your vision and mission together with those in the community who will be affected by what you do. That means that your work is much more likely to address the community’s real needs and desires, rather than what you think they might be. It also means community ownership of the vision and mission, putting everyone on the same page and greatly increasing the chances that any effort will be successful.
  • VMOSA allows your organization to focus on your short-term goals while keeping sight of your long-term vision and mission.

When should you use VMOSA?

So, when should you use this strategic planning process? Of course, it always makes sense for your organization to have the direction and order it gives you, but there are some times it makes particularly good sense to use this process. These times include:

  • When you are starting a new organization.
  • When your organization is starting a new initiative or large project, or is going to begin work in a new direction.
  • When your group is moving into a new phase of an ongoing effort.
  • When you are trying to invigorate an older initiative that has lost its focus or momentum.
  • When you’re applying for new funding or to a new funder. It’s important under these circumstances to clarify your vision and mission so that any funding you seek supports what your organization actually stands for. Otherwise, you can wind up with strings attached to the money that require you to take a direction not in keeping with your organization’s real purpose or philosophy.

Let's look briefly at each of the individual ingredients important in this process. Then, in the next few sections we'll look at each of these in a more in-depth manner, and explain how to go about developing each step of the planning process.

Vision (the dream)

Your vision communicates what your organization believes are the ideal conditions for your community – how things would look if the issue important to you were perfectly addressed. This utopian dream is generally described by one or more phrases or vision statements, which are brief proclamations that convey the community's dreams for the future. By developing a vision statement, your organization makes the beliefs and governing principles of your organization clear to the greater community (as well as to your own staff, participants, and volunteers).

There are certain characteristics that most vision statements have in common. In general, vision statements should be:

  • Understood and shared by members of the community
  • Broad enough to encompass a variety of local perspectives
  • Inspiring and uplifting to everyone involved in your effort
  • Easy to communicate - for example, they should be short enough to fit on a T-shirt

Here are a few vision statements which meet the above criteria:

  • Healthy children
  • Safe streets, safe neighborhoods
  • Every house a home
  • Education for all
  • Peace on earth

Mission (the what and why)

Developing mission statements are the next step in the action planning process. An organization's mission statement describes what the group is going to do, and why it's going to do that. Mission statements are similar to vision statements, but they're more concrete, and they are definitely more "action-oriented" than vision statements. The mission might refer to a problem, such as an inadequate housing, or a goal, such as providing access to health care for everyone. And, while they don't go into a lot of detail, they start to hint - very broadly - at how your organization might go about fixing the problems it has noted. Some general guiding principles about mission statements are that they are:

(Video) The steps of the strategic planning process in under 15 minutes

  • Concise. Although not as short a phrase as a vision statement, a mission statement should still get its point across in one sentence.
  • Outcome-oriented. Mission statements explain the overarching outcomes your organization is working to achieve.
  • Inclusive. While mission statements do make statements about your group's overarching goals, it's very important that they do so very broadly. Good mission statements are not limiting in the strategies or sectors of the community that may become involved in the project.

The following mission statements are examples that meet the above criteria.

  • "To promote child health and development through a comprehensive family and community initiative."
  • "To create a thriving African American community through development of jobs, education, housing, and cultural pride.
  • "To develop a safe and healthy neighborhood through collaborative planning, community action, and policy advocacy."

While vision and mission statements themselves should be short, it often makes sense for an organization to include its deeply held beliefs or philosophy, which may in fact define both its work and the organization itself. One way to do this without sacrificing the directness of the vision and mission statements is to include guiding principles as an addition to the statements. These can lay out the beliefs of the organization while keeping its vision and mission statements short and to the point.

Objectives (how much of what will be accomplished by when)

Once an organization has developed its mission statement, its next step is to develop the specific objectives that are focused on achieving that mission. Objectives refer to specific measurable results for the initiative's broad goals. An organization's objectives generally lay out how much of what will be accomplished by when. For example, one of several objectives for a community initiative to promote care and caring for older adults might be: "By 2025 (by when), to increase by 20% (how much) those elders reporting that they are in daily contact with someone who cares about them (of what)."

There are three basic types of objectives. They are:

  • Behavioral objectives. These objectives look at changing the behaviors of people (what they are doing and saying) and the products (or results) of their behaviors. For example, a neighborhood improvement group might develop an objective around having an increased amount of home repair taking place (the behavior) or of improved housing (the result).
  • Community-level outcome objectives. These are related to behavioral outcome objectives, but are more focused more on a community level instead of an individual level. For example, the same group might suggest increasing the percentage of decent affordable housing in the community as a community-level outcome objective.
  • Process objectives. These are the objectives that refer to the implementation of activities necessary to achieve other objectives. For example, the group might adopt a comprehensive plan for improving neighborhood housing.

It's important to understand that these different types of objectives aren't mutually exclusive. Most groups will develop objectives in all three categories. Examples of objectives include:

  • By December 2030, to increase by 30% parent engagement (i.e., talking, playing, reading) with children under 2 years of age. (Behavioral objective)
  • By 2025, to have made a 40% increase in youth graduating from high school. (Community -level outcome objective)
  • By the year 2026, increase by 30% the percentage of families that own their home. (Community-level outcome objective)
  • By December of this year, implement the volunteer training program for all volunteers. (Process objective)

Strategies (the how)

The next step in the process of VMOSA is developing your strategies. Strategies explain how the initiative will reach its objectives. Generally, organizations will have a wide variety of strategies that include people from all of the different parts, or sectors, of the community. These strategies range from the very broad, which encompass people and resources from many different parts of the community, to the very specific, which aim at carefully defined areas.

Examples of broad strategies include:

  • A child health program might use social marketing to promote adult involvement with children
  • An adolescent pregnancy initiative might decide to increase access to contraceptives in the community
  • An urban revitalization project might enhance the artistic life of the community by encouraging artists to perform in the area

Five types of specific strategies can help guide most interventions. They are:

  • Providing information and enhancing skills (e.g., offer skills training in conflict management)
  • Enhancing services and support (e.g., start a mentoring programs for high-risk youth)
  • Modify access, barriers, and opportunities (such as offering scholarships to students who would be otherwise unable to attend college)
  • Change the consequences of efforts (e.g., provide incentives for community members to volunteer)
  • Modify policies (e.g., change business policies to allow parents and guardians and volunteers to spend more time with young children)

Action plan (what change will happen; who will do what by when to make it happen)

Finally, an organization's action plan describes in great detail exactly how strategies will be implemented to accomplish the objectives developed earlier in this process. The plan refers to: a) specific (community and systems) changes to be sought, and b) the specific action steps necessary to bring about changes in all of the relevant sectors, or parts, of the community.

The key aspects of the intervention or (community and systems) changes to be sought are outlined in the action plan. For example, in a program whose mission is to increase youth interest in politics, one of the strategies might be to teach students about the electoral system. Some of the action steps, then, might be to develop age-appropriate materials for students, to hold mock elections for candidates in local schools, and to include some teaching time in the curriculum.

Action steps are developed for each component of the intervention or (community and systems) changes to be sought. These include:

  • Action step(s): What will happen
  • Person(s) responsible: Who will do what
  • Date to be completed: Timing of each action step
  • Resources required: Resources and support (both what is needed and what's available )
  • Barriers or resistance, and a plan to overcome them!
  • Collaborators: Who else should know about this action

Here are two examples of action steps, graphed out so you can easily follow the flow:

Action StepPerson(s) ResponsibleDate to be CompletedResources RequiredPotential Barriers or ResistanceCollaborators
  • Draft a social marketing plan
Terry McNeil (from marketing firm)April 2026$15,000 (remaining donated)None anticipatedMembers of the business action group
  • Ask local corporations to introduce flex-time for parents and mentors
Maria Suarez (from business action group)September 20285 hours; 2 hour proposal prep; 3 hours for meeting and transportationCorporation: may see this as expensive; must convince them of benefit of the plan for the corporationMembers of the business action group and the school action group

Of course, once you have finished designing the strategic plan or "VMOSA" for your organization, you are just beginning in this work. Your action plan will need to be tried and tested and revised, then tried and tested and revised again. You'll need to obtain feedback from community members, and add and subtract elements of your plan based on that feedback.

(Video) Strategic Doing

In Summary

Everyone has a dream. But the most successful individuals - and community organizations - take that dream and find a way to make it happen. VMOSA helps groups do just that. This strategic planning process helps community groups define their dream, set their goals, define ways to meet those goals, and finally, develop practical ways bring about needed changes.

In this section, you've gained a general understanding of the strategic planning process. If you believe your organization might benefit from using this process, we invite you to move on to the next sections of this chapter, which explain in some depth how to design and develop your own strategic plan.

Online Resources

Concerns Report Handbook: Planning for Community Health

The Free Management Librarypresents a thorough guide to strategic and action planning, plus links to online discussion groups.

Imagining Our Dream Community provides guidance for visualizing your organization's ideal community.

Preventing Adolescent Pregnancy: An Action Planning Guide for Community-Based Initiatives

Preventing Adolescent Substance Abuse: An Action Planning Guide for Community-Based Initiatives

Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect: An Action Planning Guide for Community-Based Initiatives

Preventing Youth Violence: An Action Planning Guide for Community-Based Initiatives

(Video) Strategic Vision and Mission

Promoting Child Well-Being: An Action Planning Guide for Community-Based Initiatives

Promoting Health for All: Improving Access and Eliminating Disparities in Community Health

Promoting Healthy Living and Preventing Chronic Disease: An Action Planning Guide for Communities

Promoting Urban Neighborhood Development: An Action Planning Guide for Improving Housing, Jobs, Education, Safety and Health

Reducing Risk for Chronic Disease: An Action Planning Guide for Community-Based Initiatives

The Ruckus Societyoffers an Action Planning Manual that discusses strategies for nonviolent direct action.

Strategice Plan information page from Implementation Matters.

The Strategic Planning Process outlines 8 steps to developing a customized strategic plan for a coalition.

Work Group Evaluation Handbook

Your Action Planning Guide for Promoting Full Community Participation Among People with Disabilities, a resource for independent living centers and other community-based initiatives, from the KU Research & Training Center on Independent Living and the KU Center for Community Health and Development.

Youth Development: An Action Planning Guide for Community-Based Initiatives

Print Resources

Barry, B.(1982).Strategic planning workbook for non-profit organizations. St. Paul, MN: Amherst H. Wilder Foundation.

(Video) Business Case Writing: Introduction and Module 1

Bryson, J.(1988).Strategic planning for public and nonprofit organizations: A guide to strengthening and sustaining organizational achievement. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

Coover, V., et al. (1985).Resource manual for a living revolution: a handbook of skills & tools for social change activists. Philadelphia: New Society Publisher.

Fawcett, S., Paine, A., Francisco, V., Richter, K.., Lewis, R., Williams, E., Harris, K., Winter-Green, K., in collaboration with Bradley, B. &Copple, J. (1992).Preventing adolescent substance abuse: an action planning guide for community -based initiatives. Lawrence, KS: Work Group on Health Promotion and Community Development, University of Kansas.

Fawcett, S., Schultz, J., Francisco, V., Cyprus, J., Collie, V., Carson, V., &Bremby, R. (2001).Promoting urban neighborhood development: An action planning guide for improving housing, jobs, education, safety and health, and human development. Lawrence, KS: Work Group on Health Promotion and Community Development.

Halfon, N., Inkelas, M., Rice, T., Sutherland, C., Tullis, E., & Uyeda, K. (2004).Building State Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems. Volume 6: A Strategic Planning Guide for State-Level Early Childhood Systems-Building Initiatives: From Resources to Results for Young Children and Their Families.Los Angeles: UCLA Center for Healthier Children, Families, and Communities.

Kansas Health Foundation.VMOSA: An approach to strategic planning. Wichita, KS: Kansas Health Foundation.

Lord, R. (1989). The non-profit problem solver: a management guide. New York, NY: Praeger Publishers.

Murray, E., & Richardson, P. (2002).Fast Forward: Organizational Changes in 100 Days. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Olenick, J.,& Olenick, R. (1991).A non-profit organization operating manual: planning for survival and growth. New York, NY: Foundation Center.

Stonich, P. J. (1982).Implementing strategy: making strategy happen. Cambridge: Ballinger Publishing Company.

Unterman, I., & Davis, R. (1984).Strategic management of not-for-profit organizations. New York, NY: CBS Educational and Professional Publishing.

Watson-Thompson, J., Fawcett, S.B., & Schultz, J. (2008).Differential effects of strategic planning on community change in two urban neighborhood coalitions. American Journal of Community Psychology, 42, 25-38.

Wolff, T. (1990).Managing a non-profit organization. New York, NY: Prentice Hall Press.

(Video) Foundations of a Successful Coalition (Session 4)

Wolff, T. (2010). The Power of Collaborative Solutions: Six Principles and Effective Tools for Building Healthy Communities. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

FAQs

What are the 7 stages of the strategic planning process? ›

How to Strategic Plan in 7 Steps
  • Step 1: Environmental Scan. ...
  • Step 2: Internal Analysis. ...
  • Step 3: Strategic Direction. ...
  • Step 4: Develop Goals and Objectives. ...
  • Step 5: Define Metrics, Set Timelines, and Track Progress. ...
  • Step 6: Write and Publish a Strategic Plan. ...
  • Step 7: Plan for Implementation and the Future.
26 Apr 2022

What is the purpose of Vmosa planning process? ›

VMOSA (Vision, Mission, Objectives, Strategies, and Action Plans) is a practical planning process used to help community groups define a vision and develop practical ways to enact change.

What are the 8 major areas for strategic goals? ›

The basic strategic variables for consideration as you make a plan for the future are products, services, customers, markets, finances, people, technology, and production capability.

What are the 5 main strategic processes in management? ›

The five stages of the process are goal-setting, analysis, strategy formation, strategy implementation and strategy monitoring.

How do you formulate vision mission goals and objectives? ›

Statements of vision and mission should be simple, concise and easy to remember. Use just enough words to capture the essence. The statements need to capture the very essence of what your organization or business will achieve and how it will be achieved.

How do you achieve vision and mission in school? ›

Vision and mission statements push growth and learning in an aspirational direction.
...
Questions to ask include:
  1. What's already in place to help us move forward?
  2. How do we envision our school growing?
  3. What needs to be changed?
  4. What characteristics should we emphasize?
  5. What changes do we see happening in the future?
27 May 2019

What are the 3 keys to effective strategic planning? ›

3 Keys to Strategic Planning Success
  • Get Everyone on the Same Page. Different understandings of what strategy involves can hinder even the best plans. ...
  • Be a Collaborative Leader. ...
  • Engage Your Community Early and Often.
10 Jun 2021

What is strategic planning process with example? ›

Strategic planning is the development of a specific, measurable goal or (more commonly) a set of goals that deliver the desired results for your organization. The strategic plan can be used by many different teams across the organization to address the varying cadence of achieving business goals.

What is an example of a strategy? ›

We use strategy and tactics in very simple ways every day without realizing it. For example, if you're planning a trip from Beirut, Lebanon to Tunis, Tunisia, you need a strategy to get there. Strategy involves answering many questions, such as: How do you plan to travel (airplane, boat, etc.)?

What is a good strategic plan? ›

Strategies should map long-term plans to objectives and actionable steps, foster innovative thinking, as well as anticipate and mitigate potential pitfalls. Strategic plans often look out 3-5 years, and there may be a separate plan for each individual objective within the organization.

What are the four main points of strategic planning? ›

The 4 Steps of Strategic Planning Process
  • Environmental Scanning. Environmental scanning is the process of gathering, organizing and analyzing information. ...
  • Strategy Formulation. ...
  • Strategy Implementation. ...
  • Strategy Evaluation.
4 Mar 2021

What are the 4 components of strategic planning? ›

The four most widely accepted key components of corporate strategy are visioning, objective setting, resource allocation, and prioritization.

How do you develop strategic vision and strategic objectives? ›

Crafting Your Strategic Vision: 5 Things To Consider
  1. Establish tangible goals. The goals you set should be clear enough to know exactly when you've accomplished them. ...
  2. Be realistic. ...
  3. Keep your mission in mind. ...
  4. Focus on guiding and inspiring your workforce. ...
  5. Adapt when necessary.

What is the most important factor in strategic planning? ›

The key to identifying the most important elements of a strategic plan is to choose goals and objectives that expand your potential without straining your resources or creating too much risk.

What is the most important part of strategic planning? ›

The Most Important Part of Strategic Planning: “Operationalizing” Strategy.

What are types of strategies? ›

What Are the Three Types of Strategy- And How You Can Apply Them!
  • Business strategy.
  • Operational strategy.
  • Transformational strategy.

What are the basic steps in strategic management process? ›

The five stages of the process are goal-setting, analysis, strategy formation, strategy implementation and strategy monitoring.
  • Clarify Your Vision. The purpose of goal-setting is to clarify the vision for your business. ...
  • Gather and Analyze Information. ...
  • Formulate a Strategy. ...
  • Implement Your Strategy. ...
  • Evaluate and Control.

What are the types of strategic management? ›

The five types of strategic management enumerated from most simplistic to most complex are linear, adaptive, interpretive, expressive, and transcendent. These five types of strategic management represent a continuum of organizational focus and action.

What is the first step in the strategic management process? ›

Answer and Explanation: The first step in management constitutes the formulation, execution, and review of a company's long-term strategic plans. The collection, analysis, and organization of knowledge is the first step in strategic management.

What makes a good strategic leader? ›

To recap, effective, good strategic leaders are strong communicators, active listeners, passionate, positive, innovative, collaborative, honest, diplomatic, empathetic, and humble. By taking the steps to embody these qualities, you're already becoming a better leader and can help move your team towards success!

What is the basic strategic management model? ›

A basic model of strategic management, SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. This technique is instrumental in determining growth strategies. By gauging available opportunities and addressing weaknesses, organizations can leverage strengths and circumvent threats.

What is the first step in the strategic planning process? ›

5 Step Process for Developing a Strategic Plan
  1. Step 1: Write a Vision Statement. ...
  2. Step 2: Write a Mission Statement. ...
  3. Step 3: Perform a Gap Analysis. ...
  4. Step 4: Write SMART Goals. ...
  5. Step 5: Monitor Progress.
15 May 2019

What is strategic planning process with example? ›

Strategic planning is the development of a specific, measurable goal or (more commonly) a set of goals that deliver the desired results for your organization. The strategic plan can be used by many different teams across the organization to address the varying cadence of achieving business goals.

What is strategy planning process? ›

Strategic planning is a process in which an organization's leaders define their vision for the future and identify their organization's goals and objectives. The process includes establishing the sequence in which those goals should be realized so that the organization can reach its stated vision.

What is strategic planning model? ›

A strategic planning model is how an organization takes its strategy and creates a plan to implement it to improve operations and better meet their goals.

What is the importance of strategic planning? ›

Having a strategic plan in place can enable you to track progress toward goals. When each department and team understands your company's larger strategy, their progress can directly impact its success, creating a top-down approach to tracking key performance indicators (KPIs).

What are the benefits of good strategic planning? ›

The benefits of strategic planning

Align everyone around a shared purpose. Proactively set objectives to help you get where you want to go. Define long-term goals, and then set shorter-term goals to support them. Assess your current situation and any opportunities—or threats.

How can you improve strategy? ›

Once you've accepted that it's part of your job, focus on developing four key abilities that demonstrate your strategic prowess.
  1. Know: Observe and Seek Trends.
  2. Think: Ask the Tough Questions.
  3. Speak: Sound Strategic.
  4. Act: Make Time for Thinking and Embrace Conflict.
27 Dec 2016

What are the four steps in strategic planning? ›

The 4 Steps of Strategic Planning Process
  1. Environmental Scanning. Environmental scanning is the process of gathering, organizing and analyzing information. ...
  2. Strategy Formulation. ...
  3. Strategy Implementation. ...
  4. Strategy Evaluation.
4 Mar 2021

What is an example of a strategy? ›

We use strategy and tactics in very simple ways every day without realizing it. For example, if you're planning a trip from Beirut, Lebanon to Tunis, Tunisia, you need a strategy to get there. Strategy involves answering many questions, such as: How do you plan to travel (airplane, boat, etc.)?

How many goals should a strategic plan have? ›

Between three and five. By focusing on between three and five, people don't feel overwhelmed with too much to do. It sends a clear and compelling message about what needs to be done most urgently.

What is a good strategic plan? ›

Strategies should map long-term plans to objectives and actionable steps, foster innovative thinking, as well as anticipate and mitigate potential pitfalls. Strategic plans often look out 3-5 years, and there may be a separate plan for each individual objective within the organization.

What are the 3 types of strategic planning? ›

What Are the Three Types of Strategy- And How You Can Apply Them!
  • Business strategy.
  • Operational strategy.
  • Transformational strategy.

What are the 5 models of strategic management? ›

They are all efficient, and you must select the one that fits better your organization.
  • 1 – Basic strategic planning process model. ...
  • 2 – Issue-based strategic planning model. ...
  • 3 – Alignment strategic model. ...
  • 4 – Scenario strategic planning. ...
  • 5 – Organic strategic planning model.
28 Oct 2015

Videos

1. Vmosa practical planning process | IPLEX 2018
(HYBIZTV HD)
2. Business Case Writing Course Virtual Training Complete Video April 2015 | Knowledgehut
(KnowledgeHut upGrad)

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