Kedar P Badu

In Nepal, there are now more than 16,000 NGOs. In the current situation of conflict, it is important for NGOs to keep afloat and continue their services to achieve organisational goals. This calls for NGOs to become strategic players. The future role of NGOs to contribute to development will depend on how effectively they manage their organisations. The general trend in Nepali NGOs is to copy the corporate or governmental planning methods. But these are not suitable for NGOs because of resource shortages, uncertainties about future demand, conflict over organisational priorities and external factors that often combine to sabotage their efforts to develop systematic plans.

Most Nepali NGOs define themselves largely in relation to their primary client and donors’ “intermediary” role. However, there is a need to identify multiple stakeholders to whom NGOs have to relate and define a set of principles. Strategic planning has therefore acquired special significance for the NGOs. The issues generally taken by NGOs do not have immediate solution. This demands strategic thinking and action. They need to adopt a strategy that produces maximum output with minimum input. The regional disparities in resource allocation by government and donors in Nepal have serious implications for NGOs. Globalisation and decentralisation have also posed challenges to NGOs.

The balancing act of strategic planning — sufficient firmness to ensure organisational coherence and maximum impact, and match this with sufficient flexibility — needs to be given special consideration. This process makes ideas possible by laying out what needs to happen in order to succeed by giving both structure and direction to the initiative. By creating this process in a group effort, it allows organisations to build consensus around their focus. It should be used while starting a new organisation or starting a new initiative. One way to establish NGOs on an equal footing with donors and INGOs and increase NGO autonomy is to help them in the strategic planning process.

Division of organisational responsibilities should be given priority. Designing a “fit” between organisational strategy and programmes with goals and organisational capacity is the key to successful strategic planning. One of the major issues of strategic management is the analysis of organisational culture. Culture refers to an organisation’s values, beliefs, principles, and ways of operating. Culture change has to be initiated. Only the organisational leaders have the power and influence to bring about major change in an organisation’s culture. Strategic planning should also focus on the assessment of values and ethical standards.

Strategic planning is about building foundations for an organisation’s dreams. It is a disciplined effort to produce fundamental decisions and actions that shape and guide what an organisation is, what it does and why it does. It requires broad-based information gathering, exploration of alternatives, and an emphasis on the future implications of its present decisions. Strategic planning can facilitate communication and participation, accommodate divergent values and interests and foster orderly decision-making and successful implementation.