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Strategic Planning

How many organizations and communities have created strategic plans that require time, effort and money but are never implemented? The Heartland Center can help. Citizen involvement and ownership are key ingredients to a successful process. What separates Heartland from most planning consultants is that we teach our clients how to conduct the planning process so that the strategic plan can be revisited and modified at future intervals without the services of an outside consultant.

Because of the staff experience and skills available, the Heartland Center has developed effective citizen participation efforts such as visioning, consensus building, public meetings, and other awareness and education events. In addition to traditional methods such as SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats), needs assessment and asset mapping, the Center often employs Appreciative Inquiry techniques, which stress a holistic approach, building on existing and historic community resources and circumstances.

Some training topics include:

Vision into Action Teaches a unique, six-step approach that will guide a community or organization’s future development. Begins with an overview of the strategic planning process that includes developing a vision statement, establishing priorities, setting goals and moving toward action. Also introduces the four building blocks of community development that can be used to streamline the strategic planning process.

Techniques for Community Assessment/Assessing Community Preparedness Profiles tools and techniques for identifying a community’s assets and problem areas, developed from Heartland Center field research. Also illustrates how the results of the assessment can be used to develop a strategic plan to guide the community’s development.

Goal-Setting in a Community Context Demonstrates the process of issue identification, prioritization and consensus building. Participants actively participate in setting community or organizational goals within the context of strategic planning for sustainable development.

Appreciative Inquiry Learn a new approach to success-based community planning. This powerful tool moves communities forward by examining past success. Investigate a new way of thinking about organizations and communities. Learn how to apply AI to planning and evaluation. Practice the steps: Define, Discover, Design and Deliver. Develop a plan for using AI in your community or organizational planning process.

Measuring for Success Need ideas for evaluating what works in your community? Measuring the success of your program is essential in today’s competitive environment. Learn how to make the monitoring and evaluation process easier and more valuable. Develop creative thinking about outcomes, indicators and measurement. Discover ways to identify hard, quantitative data within “soft” programs. Explore how to use measurements for grant writing and marketing success, and learn to adapt successful models for your own project.

To learn more about assistance with planning, see facilitation and our sample projects.