With constant funding challenges and a never-ending to-do list, it can be hard to take a moment to step back and think about the bigger picture. Pressure to deliver leaves little time for reflection – and even less time to establish a long-term strategy for your organisation. 

Why bother with strategy?

Strategy is important to make decisions, conduct operations, and attract funding and service users in order to successfully achieve goals. A good strategy helps create a foundation for ensuring growth and success because it helps everyone understand the immediate environment, and what’s needed to succeed.  

Understanding the main goals or objectives of your organisation helps volunteers and employees work productively. And having a clear, confident mission is engaging and more likely to attract funding or volunteers to support the cause.

Critically, strategy can also help articulate what not to do. Being able to say no to things which don’t fit with your organisation’s aims and ambitions is crucial for success, as it helps maintain focus and prevents resources being diverted into non-strategic activities.

The benefits of a clear strategy

There are many advantages to establishing a defined strategic direction for your organisation. Crucially, a clear strategy will:

  • Articulate the organisation’s mission – why do we do what we do?
  • Outline the target market – both the users of the service, the volunteers who help run it, and potential funders
  • Provide an understanding of where the organisation can add value, both today and in the future
  • Set out what makes the organisation different – why would people choose to support you over other organisations?

Draw on experience

Spending time on strategy doesn’t have to be costly. Your organisation’s trustees or charity board usually have the responsibility of setting the strategic direction and can often bring valuable capabilities and experience from the business world. Over the next few months we’ll be sharing some articles to help you formulate your strategy.

With charities facing sustained pressure and uncertainty, thinking strategically about the future – even in the short-term – is hard. But making time to understand your organisation’s strategic direction can help you develop plans to deal with uncertainties, putting you and your cause in a good position for the years ahead. 

Need to make a start?

Look at our article on using the PEST tool as way of getting started.