November 2014 - Charity Begins at Home

There are a lot of voluntary organisations, charities and not for profit ventures that are struggling to cope with the demand for their services in the face of reduced funding.

We have the Herefordshire voluntary organisations support service (HVOSS) and they met recently to look at the practical things that each of their 1500 members can do going forward.

In the first instance each organisation needs to clarify their direction; they need to discuss and agree how much of their service they intend to deliver over the budget period (the next twelve months), the forecast period, (the next two years) and the Bull's Eye period (in three years' time). A SWOT analysis against this Bull's Eye will then highlight the actions the team need to take and in what timescale.

Secondly they need to look at the quality of relationships between people. How effectively is the management team working? What do people on the payroll think about how the organisation is run? Outside support may well be voluntary, but is it reliable and is it good enough? What do customers think about the service they receive?

Lastly, the performance of the organisation needs to be measured. Someone must take responsibility for each of the key areas of finance, admin/IT, contemporary marketing and people.

Sounds just like a business? Quite right, all HVOSS members are businesses so whatever is going on outside in the way of political change, economic change, regulatory change or social change, the facts are these:

  1. The clearer you can be about where you want to be in three years' time, the more likely you are to get there.
  2. The better the quality of relationships you have with colleagues, staff, stakeholders and customers, the better will be the performance of your organisation.
  3. By meeting each month to discuss the plan, evaluate how well you have done and then amend the plan accordingly for next month, you stay right on top of the performance.

You know it makes sense.