Inspirational vs. Practical
All organizations need a balance between inspiration and practicality. We need a long-term goal to work towards with the immediate action steps laid out in a neat path for us to follow. In non-profits, the inspiration comes from a clear strategic plan where the practical is laid out in a tactical plan. Two pieces that allow an organization to fulfill its mission and program mandates.
Strategic plans look at where you want to be in the next three to five years. It is a statement of intention and hope. It sets a course of where your organization will travel and states where the destination will land. Strategic plans break down the strategy the organization needs to take, assuring arrival at the ideal destination. Most strategic plans have a vision statement of where the organization will be at the end of five years, a number of goals (ideally five to ten) are listed under that vision statement. Each goal has a strategy attached to it, providing general guidance along the way.
Tactical plans dig deeper into the muck of everyday life in the organization. They can break-down and dig into the goals and strategies listed in the strategic plan. They can also look at more immediate issues within the organization such as budgetary, staffing and infrastructure issues (if you have a building, for example) that need dealing with in the now before you can even consider the future.
All organizations need a mix of the inspirational view and the practical view. The strongest organizations keep an eye on their future, breaking down their goals into practical steps to be acted upon in the now.