What Is an Institutional Development Plan?

An institution development plan is a comprehensive plan that outlines and details the overall direction of an institution. The development plan contains various strategies and programs for a projected timeframe or a given period (e.g., 5 years).   

According to Study.com, institutions share many similar characteristics including they have defined objectives, follow procedures, subscribe to customs, provide for man’s basic needs, and they are governed by rules that shape their citizens. In most societies, the five most common and universal social institutions are the family, economy, religion, education, and the state. 

Types of Institutions

The word institution is a broad term and it can encompass several different types. There are a number of different types of institutions, the most common and universal are described below. 

Academic Institutions. An academic institution, simply put, is a school or a center for formal and structured education. Thus, an academic institution is also known as an educational institution. It is a highly organized and structured institution. Since there are various levels of education, academic institutions can come in all shapes and forms. From preschools, elementary schools, colleges, all the way to graduate schools, academic institutions can cater to a wide and broad group of students. For example, a typical university is a large institution and can have several grade levels under its care. Further, academic institutions can either be publicly run or privately owned. For the former, state universities and public schools are the most obvious example. Compared to public schools, private schools generally tend to cost more. Psychiatric Institutions. Psychiatric institutions tend to be misinterpreted and misunderstood. Historically, psychiatric institutions have had its share of controversy and even malpractice. In recent times, mainstream media has often portrayed mental institutions as simply a facility for the insane. But as modern science has evolved over the decades, many methods that were previously thought to be effective turned out to be flawed and there is still much to learn about the human mind and human behavior. At its core, a psychiatric institution is essentially a medical institution whose main purpose is to provide the proper care and help relieve patients suffering from mental health conditions. Mental health, in recent years, has dominated public discourse and more people are slowly realizing that mental health problems can manifest in various ways and degrees. Public Institution. Corporations and non-government organizations are largely considered private institutions. Organizations that are not publicly owned or run are called public institutions. Government agencies and state-run offices are common examples. The state or government is a basic pillar of society. A public institution is governed by all kinds of traditions and hierarchies, depending on the cultural and social norms of a particular society. For example, a country’s form of government has a huge effect on its people (e.g., republic vs socialist governments) and even religion can sometimes impact a nation’s laws and policies. Political Institutions can also fall under this category. From democratic elections to local government codes, the realm of public life is broad and all-encompassing. Religious Institutions. Religion has always been intertwined in the fabric of mankind’s history. This is well documented and religion still continues to affect a large population of humanity today. Even in an increasingly secular society, there is no denying that religious institutions hold much power and influence. Churches and centers of religious formation are not only places of worship and congregation, they are considered a source of comfort and security to a lot of believers and faithful. Like most traditional institutions, religious institutions can also be highly structured and hierarchical. Church leadership is important to a lot of organized religions; from the Catholic Church to the Buddhist and Islamic world, you will find each religion has stark differences but also fundamental similarities.

Tips for Creating an Institutional Development Plan

The content of your institutional development plan would largely depend on the type of institution. But there are basic tips that anyone can apply to create a more long-term and sustainable institutional development plan.   

Consultation is key. Rarely is an institutional development plan a product of just one person. Because it is a broad and comprehensive plan, there must be input from all of those involved. Every stakeholder in the institution- whether it an academic community or the end users of a business- consultation is crucial. It is an important process in the planning stage. Before you craft the institutional development plan, adequate preparation, research and planning must precede it. Whether it is in the form of a brainstorming session or a multi-sectoral focused group discussion, taking into account valuable insight and input from all sides is the only way to come up with an accurate and relevant development plan. Assess the institution’s resources. An important step in crafting an effective institutional development plan is making an accurate assessment or account of the available resources your institution has. Without a clear and accurate picture of the current state of the institution, it will be difficult to move forward in the right direction. In this case, the popular saying that you need to know where you are in order to know where you are headed aptly applies. If you know what resources you have, you will be able to determine what you lack as well as capitalize on existing resources. Resources can come in the form of finances, assets, human capital, and even social networks. Obtaining an accurate assessment of all of these can even lead to the discovery of untapped or underused resources. Set SMART goals. Like any strategic plan or action plan, setting the right objectives is key. It is important to identify the right objective or goal because it will set the stage of your entire institutional development plan. And having the wrong focus will inadvertently affect your strategies and plans. To avoid this, make sure your institutional development plan goals or objectives are SMART goals. These need to be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound. You cannot merely place any goal, these must be subject to the criteria. Having a SMART goal can increase the likelihood of following through with your development plan. If your objectives are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound, it can help create a more sustainable and long-term institutional development plan.

How to Create an Institutional Development Plan

Crafting an institutional development plan is neither simple nor easy. As discussed previously, development plans require collaborative effort and a multi-stakeholder approach. Fortunately, there are sample templates that can serve as a blueprint or guide for creating an institutional development plan. Simply choose one that best suits your needs and follow the step-by-step process below.     

Step 1: Set the Objective

The first step is to establish your institutional objectives. The importance of setting the right objective cannot be stressed enough. What do you want to achieve as an institution? What is the end goal? It is helpful to set objectives within a specific timeframe to make it more viable and realistic. You can list your objectives in paragraph form or in bullet points, depending on the format you choose. As much as possible, keep it specific and realistic. Keep in mind the SMART goal criteria when deciding on your objectives. The objective or objectives you list down will ultimately set the tone of your institutional development plan.      

Step 2: Conduct an Assessment and Analysis 

After establishing the objective or objectives, the next step is to assess your institution’s available or current resources. As discussed in detail in the previous sections, assessment is a crucial step in crafting a comprehensive and accurate development plan. Whether you are an educational institution, medical institution, or a political institution, you need to be able to have a good grasp of the current state of your institution. This involves not only being aware of what resources are available to you, but also the ones that you lack. Sometimes, assessment may not be enough so you can go further by analyzing and questioning why the current state is as it is.   

Step 3: Plot Out a Roadmap 

The next step is to prepare a detailed roadmap. This section may look different for various institutions. For example, the format may not necessarily be a roadmap, it can be a timeline or even a Gantt chart. But its essence involves the creation of action plans and strategies that address the objectives in Step 1. After taking into account your resources and other needs, you can then plan out the  necessary action items or next steps. The point of a roadmap is to plot out the direction of the institution. Lastly, it is important to use concrete and action-based language in this section. 

Step 4: Offer Recommendations 

The last step is reserved for recommendations. This section is directly tied to the assessment and analysis in Step 2. No institution is, by no means, perfect. There is always room for improvement. Whether it is the processes, the direction, or even the organizational structure, it is just as important to look at these factors rather than just merely coming up with action steps or a roadmap. Make sure that your recommendations are based on sound reason and are justifiable. They should be concrete and relevant to the institution’s current needs and goals.         


How do you create an institutional plan?

To create an institutional plan, you need to establish clear objectives, evaluate and assess the institution’s current state, then plot a feasible roadmap or an action plan to achieve the objectives.

What activities does doing institutional development involve?

Institutional development typically involves a lot of activities and methods such as strategic planning, consultation with stakeholders, research, and project coordination.

What are the parts of a development plan?

The basic parts of a development plan include goals, objectives, strategies, assessment or evaluation, and recommendations.

What are institution examples?

Some common examples of institutions are government agencies, religious organizations, educational institutions, civic organizations, private corporations, and medical institutions.

What are the 4 types of institutions?

In the field of sociology, the four primary social institutions are family, religion, education and government.

Creating an institutional development plan requires careful planning and preparation. But with the tips and instruction guide provided above, you can craft one much faster and with greater convenience too with the use of any of the available templates provided. Browse the selection of editable institutional development plans above, choose one that suits your needs, and customize one today!