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COVID-19 Strategic Planning Toolkit for Education & Nonprofit Leaders

Tresha Ward
Stephanie Spangler
Katie Rouse
Eleisha Nelson-Reed

The past few weeks have been uniquely challenging for education and nonprofit leaders across the country as they navigate the unfolding coronavirus pandemic. Leaders are dealing with complex issues on rapid, changing timelines while trying to plan and prioritize for an unspecified amount of “out of school” time. Leaders find themselves swimming in a wave of questions: How can we ensure the most vulnerable students have basic needs, such as housing, food, and safety? How do we launch distance learning with quality while supporting students with disabilities? How do we make up for days of lost learning time? These decisions are being made in a context of limited time, energy, and resources.

Screenshot of Bellwether publication COVID-19 Strategic Planning Toolkit for Education & Nonprofit Leaders

Bellwether’s “COVID-19 Strategic Planning Toolkit for Education & Nonprofit Leaders” is an easy-to-use, practical resource that aims to help leaders make decisions and actionable plans amid these complicated questions.

The planning framework that is the crux of this toolkit takes leaders through four key steps: Reground, Prioritize, Plan, and Connect. At each step, we prompt leaders with a series of key questions to help clarify their thinking and decision-making. In addition to a brief explanation of each step, this toolkit includes a workbook that can be tailored and populated with your organization’s information. These resources help leaders move from making decisions in a reactive, crisis-driven way to developing intentional short- and long-term actionable plans. (The toolkit builds upon a previous blog post.)

We hope to help leaders cut through the anxiety of this moment by enabling them to zoom in on key mission-aligned priorities and develop simple plans to execute them.

Download the full toolkit here. You can also watch a series of interviews with school leaders who used this toolkit below:

This toolkit is intended to … 

  • Be “ready to use.” We included a set of planning templates that leaders can download and implement right away with their leadership teams. 
  • Be modified. Once downloaded, you should add, delete, or revise any or all of the templates to fit your leadership team’s needs.  
  • Keep it simple. Strategic planning can get complicated. Use these simplified tools to drive work forward. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good. 

This toolkit is NOT intended to … 

  • Ignore the context. Our goal is to provide flexible tools and structures for strong planning, not to tell you what to do. 
  • Add to the noise. There are a lot of resources coming at you right now. This toolkit outlines an approach to cut through the noise rather than adding more content.  
  • Overwhelm. Your team does not need to use all of these tools to be successful. Take what is useful and ignore the rest.   

For more Bellwether resources on COVID-19, click here, or view a list of external resources here.