Strategic planning is setting goals and objectives given the SWOT analysis, determining actions to achieve goals, and mobilizing resources to execute those actions as a part of an implementation plan. In the context of formal program planning and grant writing, goals differ from objectives in that goals are about long-term, “big picture” outcomes while objectives are shorter-term outcomes that are clearly measurable.
Outcome vs. Process Objectives
Objectives can be further broken down into outcome and process objectives.
Process objectives are those that describe the activities/services/strategies that will be undertaken as part of implementing the program.
Outcome objectives are those that specify the intended effect of the program.
One of the most common frames for making goals and objectives actionable are SMART(IE) goals – that is setting goals that are:
The (IE) stands for issues that are frequently, but not always, a part of strategic planning goals:
As with all things harm reduction, these goals are further broken down into more incremental mini-goals along the way. Framing goals in this way can help you make not just a strategic plan but also an implementation plan – the plan for actually achieving goals.
Here are some examples goals and objectives for a harm reduction organization broken down as SMART(IE) goals:
Goal: Lower OD rates in Springfield, Example State (ES)
Process Objective 1: Create OD prevention and response training tailored to the needs of people who use drugs in Springfield, ES by September 30, 2022.
Process Objective 2: Train 300 people in Springfield, ES who use drugs and other proximate community members on OD prevention and response by June 30, 2023.
Outcome Objective 1: Lower incidence of OD in Springfield, ES by 25% by June 30, 2023.
These goals and objectives follow the SMART(IE) model – each is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, has an objective time frame and one goal, process objective 2, includes equity and inclusion by ensuring services are primarily aimed at people who use drugs.