Strategic planning isn’t rocket science, but if you need a little bit of help to get you going, there are organisations and skilled people out there to assist – whether by providing tools or offering support services....
Have a look at the strategic planning tools offered by the National Council of Voluntary Organisations (NCVO).
Also consider whether it might be good to bring in someone to help – to make sure you set aside time for thinking space. This could be
- A volunteer with skills drawn from the business sector
- A colleague in another local organisation who has led a strategic plan
- A consultant from a Trust (see the Cranfield Trust or Pilotlight below)
- An advisor from a local Council for Voluntary Service or Rural Community Council
- Purchasing facilitation input from a strategic planning specialist.
The Cranfield Trust is a nationally respected charity providing free management consultancy for charities and social enterprises involved in issues of poverty, disability or social exclusion. Highly skilled managers from the commercial sector act as Trust volunteers throughout the country and donate their time and expertise to support the voluntary sector.
The volunteers provide advice and mentoring about: business and strategic planning; financial management; marketing and communications; developing IT systems and human resources and staffing.
“The project volunteer brought an objective, skilled and knowledgeable approach to our strategic planning needs. His knowledge of our business area was an added bonus, which frankly meant he was almost sent from heaven.” (Ormerod Home Trust).
Pilotlight offer free strategic planning support to charities, helping them step back and think about their business in a different way, as found by the Chair of Trustees at Living Options Devon: “Pilotlighting has helped us think in different ways and is taking us to places we wouldn't have thought of going. What an enjoyable and instructive journey we have had!"
Remember, strategic planning is the responsibility of your Trustees. Encourage them to think creatively about the strategic planning support they could put in place, through utilising their own network of helpful contacts, or by ensuring that time and resources are freed up for beneficiaries, volunteers, staff and Trustees to be involved at the points in the strategic planning process where they can inject vision and practical flair.
Above all, make strategic planning a lively creative process, and then keep it live as you implement it.