Strategic Planning Sessions
Pilot Cohort 2013-2014
1. Forming a Strategic Planning Committee
This session will address the recruitment of a steering committee (SC), including the skills and characteristics necessary for success. It describes the composition of the team between experienced current leaders and new and emerging leaders. It defines the scope of planning and establishes a time line of planning and the time commitment that will be asked of each SC team member.
2. Needs Assessment, Situation Analysis, Environmental Scan and SWOT
This session focuses on preparing leaders to identify their community’s critical issues and needs. Leaders will be guided to create a planning SSP “FACT Book” that holds important data about membership, demographics, dues levels, school enrollment, etc. Leaders will learn how to use the SSP Leadership Questionnaire to gather data from the board and staff. With these two sets of data, leaders will be taught how to create a SWOT1.0 analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Challenges) of their current situation and a scan of their synagogue environment. We call this first effort SWOT 1.0 because this document will evolve as planners learn more.
3. Mission and Vision Statements
This session will explore how a mission and vision statement can become a sacred text that calls for continual commentary and engagement. The focus of SSP is on the vision statement because it provides a picture of the community we seek to create. Planners will learn how a vision statement can be a source of inspiration and provide strategic direction to the SC and the task forces. We will provide a guide for the Vision Writing Team made up of the rabbi, staff and lay leaders to create “vision 1.0” in “bullet draft” form.
4. Congregational Data Gathering – Surveys & Focus Groups
This session provides an overview of survey strategies. Participants will be introduced to the SSP survey template that includes information on members’ demographics as well as their attitudes and beliefs about the synagogue. We will discuss how surveys can involve the whole kehilla (congregation), signaling that the congregation is going through a period of deep reflection. With this in mind, this session will explore the potential of conducting focus groups to go deeper. We will learn how task forces can invite the congregation to probe into critical issues that have been identified such as services, the religious school, financial giving, etc.
5. Exploring Emerging Themes – Developing Strategies
This session discusses how to organize the data from the SSP Fact Book, the Leadership Questionnaire, the congregational surveys and focus groups. Leaders will take the critical issues, define the problem, provide background to the issue and begin to form strategies moving forward.
6. Task Force Management
This session explores the vital work of task forces. We will discuss how to honor both the work of volunteers and staff on ongoing committees and task forces and coordinate their efforts. In addition, task force recruitment, the role of volunteers and staff and the scope and complexity of different task force assignments will be addressed. We will look at task force data gathering (focus groups, etc.). We will review the task force job description and their report template.
7. Priority Setting
This session covers the criteria for reviewing task force recommendations and prioritizing them. Planners learn how to understand the relative impact of recommendations to increase revenue (fees, members, donors) or reduce costs (cutting costs, finding partners, being more efficient). Planners will also learn how to conduct the priority setting workshop which places all recommendations on a central document and reviews the time frame of recommendations, their cost, potential impact and complexity. With this information in hand, leaders will be ready to write their “Kehilla Strategic Action Plan” (KSAP)
8. Adopting the Kehilla Strategic Action Plan (KSAP)
This session prepares planners to give a final report and board presentation. It discusses the responsibility of the board to make assignments and provide a charge to committees and staff for implementation. Planners will be prepared to share findings and to inspire support and ongoing engagement in initiatives throughout the community.