Before establishing your association, you need to step back and think about what you wish to accomplish and how you will reach your goal. The first step is to develop a strategic plan that defines the vision, mission, values and objectives of your organisation. A strategic plan will outline the purpose for the association. The strategic plan will be implemented, monitored and evaluated over a specific period of time — generally about three years. However, most associations do their first strategic plan on a shorter term basis, such as one year. When that plan has been worked through, they can extend it. If it has faults, then those can be corrected for the following year.
The first steps to creating and defining a strategic plan are to establish vision and mission statements, values, goals, and objectives. One way to do this is to bring together a group of people with common goals and interests to talk about what they can accomplish as an association and how they think they should go about it. The following are key terms representing the building blocks of planning for the organisation.
An organisation’s vision is a brief, broad, forward-thinking statement that describes what the organisation hopes to achieve ultimately.
A mission statement describes what the organisation does currently.
Values define how you want people to behave in the organisation.
Goals are large statements of what your organisation hopes to accomplish. Goals are not normally measurable, but they serve as the ‘why’ behind your objectives.
Objectives are specific, operational and measurable actions that your organisation will accomplish.
Work plan is a plan you can put together before you have formed an association and committed to a strategic plan. It will allow you and the members of your group to start organising your efforts.
Needs assessment is an analytical look at your region's need for hospice and palliative care, and the needs of providers and patients. This assessment should look at what is already in place, what is needed, and whether your organisation could get the support required to address these needs.
Terms of reference is another term for creating a roadmap for what you are trying to accomplish. In this process, you will need to answer the following questions:
Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) assessment is a process to identify internal strengths and weaknesses as well as external opportunities and threats.
About.com: Build a Strategic Framework: Mission Statement, Vision, Values...
This website is a good place to get started when defining the vision, mission, values, strategies, goals and action plans for your association. The information is presented in easy to follow steps with links for further resources on each topic.
This link above will direct you to a site that offers much more than advice on strategic planning. The site includes software, freeware, templates, samples, online tools, advice and guides on business plans, financial projections, cash flow forecast, strategic planning and market planning, designed for any kind of business, not just NGOs.
This site offers a wealth of resources that will help you develop your organisation's vision, as well as a discussion of why it is important to create a corporate identity to which people will want to subscribe. The site includes different tools and resources from various sources that will help you define the things you hope to accomplish.
How to Write a Mission Statement
By Janel Radtke
This document outlines steps that will help you clarify your thoughts when writing your association's mission statement, including the key questions that any organisation’s mission statement should answer.
By the American Library Association
This website contains information and exercised adapted from the American Library Association's Annual Conference’s training session, that was designed to teach all incoming committee chairs how to write measurable objectives. The lessons learned are valuable to all those who want to define their objectives.
Below you will find actual mission statements and strategic plans, in both English and Spanish, from existing hospice and palliative care associations around the world. Seeing these real-life examples will allow you to develop one that suits your needs: