As you launch your partnership, you may be tempted to plow ahead with a range of wonderful activities. We encourage you, however, to first develop a thoughtful strategic plan in collaboration with your international partner. A strategic plan is a valuable tool for developing and sustaining your partnership; it specifically details how the steering committee and your organization will work to reach your goals. (Download a Strategic Plan Template.)
Creating a sound strategic plan at the beginning of the effort will also ensure that you apply your time and energy on activities that will best serve your partner’s needs.
Here are some steps for creating a strategic plan:
Assess your partner’s needs. Conduct a needs assessment with your international partner to help determine their specific needs and capacities. The needs assessment will also help create the most effective strategic plan and determine your fund raising activities.
Questions you may want to include in the needs assessment are:
- How many patients do they serve? (average daily census, annually)
- How large is their service area? (kilometers)
- What is their staffing? And staffing ratio?
- What transportation do they use to access their patients?
- What are the major diagnoses of their patients?
- What services do they provide? (adult, children, disease specific, day care)
- Where do they provide care and services? (home, inpatient, community center)
- What are their patients’ greatest needs?
- What are the patients families’ greatest needs?
- What are the staffs’ greatest needs?
- What technology is available? How do they use technology?
- What community organizations support your program? (religious, civic, government)
What is their biggest need for funding?
Determine specific goals. Based on the needs assessment, determine specific partnership goals that align with both your partners’ needs and with the resources available from your organization and community. Include specific goals for partnership development, communication, and fundraising. These initial goals can be also be used to identify additional organizations and/or stakeholders to invite to the steering committee and engage in your on-going efforts.
Create a strategic plan. For each goal, the strategic plan specifically describes:
- Objectives: specific and measurable activities that, when completed, will result in achieving the goal;
- Action Steps: detailed steps to be taken to accomplish each objective;
- Person(s) Responsible: the person and organization in charge of completing each action step;
- Existing and Needed Resources: what resources (i.e., personnel, materials, funds, etc.) that will be devoted to completing each objective;
- Collaborators: what other organizations and individuals can and should be engaged in accomplishing the goal;
- Outcome Measures: how success in accomplishing the objective and meeting the goal will be measured; and
Completion Date: a timeline and end date for each action step and objective.
Include your international partner in the strategic planning efforts. Creating the strategic plan must include the input of both partners. As noted, it is important to make sure the international partner has the necessary technology and capacity to help accomplish the strategic plan and help meet your goals.
Build consensus. Make sure you have consensus among steering committee members, your organization’s leadership and staff as well as your international partner on the goals and outcomes from the beginning of the effort.
Delegate responsibility. Ensure that each action step has an identified person who is designated to be in charge of accomplishing those specific activities. Assign one or two individuals to be responsible for ensuring specific tasks are completed and managing the process. This will help keep your partnership activities on schedule and improve the chance of success.
Evaluate and re-evaluate. Regularly assess the successes and challenges of the partnership, including the goals and objectives of your strategic plan. Be sure to include your international partner in this process as well. Continue to ask: Are we addressing and meeting our partner’s needs? Taking time for periodic evaluation provides a good opportunity to redefine the needs and capacity of the partnership.
Also evaluate your community events and fundraising activities which will give you insights on how to improve your efforts. See Step 9: Track and Share Your Success for more information.
Please note that Global Partners in Care requires both U.S. and international partners to complete an annual survey. (Download the U.S. Partner Annual Survey and International Partner Annual Survey.) In addition to the survey, it may be helpful to have your steering committee members, staff, volunteers, and other stakeholders complete a feedback / evaluation form annually, or at some other regular intervals.
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