During the lockdowns, staff have been scattered, volunteers may or may not have been able to work with you and, most crucially, opportunities to interact with service-users will have been more limited (although some organisations have learnt more about the people they work with than ever before!)

In our last newsletter, we talked about reimagining the future. The need to adopt a positive mindset: “Why not?” rather than “yes but..!” There will have been changes in the way you have worked over the last year and you might want to adopt some of these changes with implications for who, how and how many people and places you can reach. There will have been changes in the external environment as well. Some of your partners may have changed the way they work, or there might be new partnership opportunities. The funding scene has changed. Looking at opportunities to innovate, improve and improvise (adapt to the changing environment) are all important parts of a strategic review.

Coming back and coming together - time for a strategy review!

However, there is another aspect of a review that is equally as important. It can be a great opportunity to bring people back together again and for everyone to draw breath, re-group, reflect and re-energise. It’s been a tough year. That needs to be acknowledged. Celebrate what has gone well (or better than hoped for) and think about how to tackle some of the challenges ahead. You can only do this by involving everyone in the process.

Responsibility for strategy rests with trustees but, whatever the starting point, involving people in the future of their organisation and giving them a meaningful stake in its future success has to be a good thing. This includes staff, volunteers and, most important, service users. They are the reason for the existence of your organisation!

Often, what prevents many organisations from doing this is the fear that decision-making will become cumbersome and discussions will take too long and go around in circles. Whilst strategic decision making by a small cabal might seem more efficient, it is rarely successful. If you would like help with thinking through how best to execute a strategic review which is inclusive and relevant to everyone touched by the organisation, get in touch with Charity Mentors Oxfordshire. We would love to help!

You can email us at: info@charitymentors.co.uk

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