Charity Strategy For People Who Don't Have The Time To Do Strategy

Everyone's really busy and systems like a theory of change, can take a lot of time. But, strategy is critical and, if you're not doing it, who is? This article gives you a very quick way to work through creating yours and as a checklist, if you already have your strategic plan. It's downloadable as a toolkit from within the strategy questionnaire.

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Step 1 - Defining Success

Imagine that you are 3 to 5 years in the future. What do you think were likely to have been the most critical external issues that impacted on your work? Taking into account your organisational strengths and weaknesses, how effectively do you think you will have been able to respond to these external opportunities and threats? 

In light of the above, what will you have achieved and how has this has impacted on your mission and stakeholders?

Step 2 - Strategy Reality Check

What difference will this have made in terms of achieving your organisation's charitable aims?

  • This is the impact you aim to achieve.

What will you have achieved to get there?

  • These are your strategic objectives.

What capabilities will have been required to make that happen?

  • The organisational capacity and skills you will you need.

How did you resource this?

  • Your underpinning finance and income generation strategies.

What will you need to achieve next year to make the above happen?

  • Your annual business plan objectives

What will you need to achieve to resource this?

  • Your budget and income generation plan.

What challenges will you face and how will you address these?

  • Your in-year risk management plan.

Acid Testing

None of us can know the future, but to what extent were your answers above based on the best information you might readily access and how realistic were they?  Ambition is commendable, but setting targets you can't achieve is planning to fail. 

Developing and, as yet, unknown global, national and local issues will have potentially huge impact on all of us. Doing what we've always done isn't an option and how your well organisation has prepared for these may well be the difference between success and failure.

So, a final question to ask yourself. If I'm leading my organisation, but not doing strategy, then who is?

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