hands writing in a notebook in front of a laptop and a smartphone

How to Jump-Start Your Annual Planning with Asana

Beginning a new year represents a fresh start and clean slate. And, if your organization matches fiscal years to calendar years, you may be starting to develop a new tech budget. Regardless, the new year provides nonprofits of all sizes a new opportunity to maximize their impact, optimize their resources and processes, and set annual goals.

drawing of a man standing next to a calendar bearing various check marks and symbols

Annual planning provides a dedicated space to think about what projects your organization has for the year ahead and to organize the resources needed to accomplish those goals. This process can be collaborative, and it helps keep your mission front and center to ensure that programs align with your overall road map. Whether you are new to annual planning or have a lot of experience, Asana can help drive your team's momentum for visualizing, prioritizing, and delivering outcomes to the constituents you serve.

Here are some easy ways to use Asana to manage and communicate your annual planning process.


Annual Planning

Annual planning helps to create a culture of clarity and accountability between leaders and their teams. It will empower individuals to understand how their efforts affect the bigger picture. Your annual plan should contain

  • The goals you want your team to achieve
  • A strategy for how your team will hit those goals
  • Clear tactics for what your team will work on
  • Any important milestones that benchmark progress

Access Asana's annual planning template.

Setting Your Goals

Once you have created your annual planning project in Asana, it's time to set some goals. Asana Goals (available in its Business and Enterprise tiers) creates a single platform for your shared objectives and the work required to achieve them.

Goals at your organization should be inspirational and measurable. Your goals should answer these questions:

  • What major goal is everyone going to be working towards? This may be equivalent to your mission statement.
  • What objectives do we need to achieve in order to deliver on those priorities?
  • What are the interim targets?

With Asana Goals, you can organize your goals for your entire organization, for specific teams, and as personal goals assigned to specific individuals. We recommend building your goals from the top down. If your entire nonprofit is using the goals feature, add your organizationwide goals first; then build out your team goals and subgoals. You can customize each goal to include a time period, to automate progress updates, and to include key stakeholders.

Make sure you keep your goals SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time bound.

Pro tip: Assign team members tasks and due dates so they are clear on who owns what and by when.

Implementing Objectives and Key Results (OKRs)

Now that everyone at your organization is aligned on what they're working towards, it's critical to implement objectives and key results. What are the desired outcomes that will measure your organization's progress and success year round? OKRs is a methodology that incorporates a two-part approach to setting and measuring goals. An objective answers the question, "Where are we going," and key results make it clear if we got there or not: 

We will [objective] as measured by [key result].

For example:

We will provide hot meals to 10 percent more people as measured by the number of clients at our Wednesday night meal service.

Instead of starting from scratch, you can just copy the template and fill in predefined fields for each objective and key result.

Tracking Progress and Status and Connecting Work to Goals

One of the biggest benefits to having your goals and OKRs live in Asana is having the status of your progress updated in real time and communicated across teams. Asana can automatically calculate the percentage achieved of a parent goal from the number of completed subgoals. Don't forget that you can link projects and portfolios directly to your goals. Learn more about automatic progress rollups.

Achieve More in 2023

We hope 2023 continues to create clarity across your organization, empowers your teams, and drives engagement and results. By using these Asana features to streamline and define your goals, you can ensure that your teams are working effectively towards overall organizational objectives.


Additional Resources

Top photo: Shutterstock