Thursday, 30 May 2013

Learning to be a strategy super-hero

Mask optional
Since I have started my new job it’s been non-blooming-stop. The combination of learning about a new sector and the gap between fundraisers has meant it’s been all about hitting the ground running and cracking on.

I am a fan of cracking on. Too often there is too much talk, not enough action. You cannot raise money without action.

But (yes there is a but) the downside of going at 100 miles an hour, is that all too often you don’t always know exactly where you’re going, or whether that place is even the one you want to get to.

So, with that in mind, I've been working on a strategy. Now luckily for me, fellow Collectivist Margaret is a strategy super-hero, so she’s offered me the benefit of her wisdom.

So, if you need to step back and take a look at your fundraising, maybe spending some time thinking about your strategy will help you find the right way.

Here are my tips on Strategy Writing for your organisation

What is a strategy?

In my mind a strategy is a written statement of where you are, where you’re going, why you want to get there and crucially, how you’re going to get there.

It should help you define your goals – and then help you reach them.

It can be 2 pages or 20 pages.

It is not written in stone and should be used constantly by your organisation. If you write it and never look at it again it is a waste of bloody time.

What should you include?

As a starting point – where are you now? What’s good, what’s great, what’s not working at all?

Then you can look at analysing the operation - what are the strengths of your organisation and fundraising? What needs improving? What are the things out of your control that have an impact? How can you minimize these?

How do you get the long term view?

A great tip from Margaret was,  Stand in the future and look back - where do you want to be in five years, what is holding you back?  What needs to be changed?  Where does investment need to be?

I found this a fantastically helpful way of focusing my mind on where we should be headed.

The tough bit

Of course the next step is – how are you going to get to that point.

For me, breaking this down was relatively simple. I am responsible for all areas of our fundraising – individuals, trusts and corporates, so I broke it down and looked at what needed to happen in the short and the long term in these three areas to reach my ‘ideal- utopian - fundraising place’ in  five years time.


When you’re finished you should have some areas that you can start working on immediately, some projects or strands that are going to take investment, or culture change, or a bit of hard graft, and a sense of your long-term goals.


So hopefully that gives you some useful tips to get you going on the road to strategy super-hero-dom

As I sit here with my strategy I know I've got plenty to crack on with, and the good news is, I’m confident it will get me to the place the organisation needs to be in a few years time. 

But I promise I'll look at it again in a few months time. Honest.