It is essential for any organisation to have a practical plan in place if they are to be successful in achieving their end goal. Business Planning is not just useful for commercial enterprises, it is in fact vital for all organisations. At Marcscott Consulting we can write a comprehensive Business Plan that will help guide your organisation towards its end goal.
Planning is often set aside by busy organisations with limited time to do all that they want to do. It is also a fact that voluntary organisations mostly attract volunteers who want to roll their sleeves up and get on with the real tasks of delivering to the organisations cause. Whichever you are it takes a conscious effort to recognise that planning is one of those real and essential tasks. In all of its forms, planning stimulates clearer, more developed and effective results for any organisation and it helps to provide the picture of what the organisation wants to do.
A strategic plan is a formal proposal concerning the organisations future path. It can help pave the way for ideas and aspirations which will evolve, but it is more an overarching plan for the long term and, potentially, the permanent goals of the organisation. It does allow the organisation to present its collective position and intentions to other organisations.
A business plan is a statement of what an organisation intends to do over the plan period (usually between 3-5 years). Most organisations benefit from the discipline of preparing such a plan, even if it is simply to give some structure, detail and practical targets for the organisation. It is quite common for a funder to expect to see an organisations business plan as part of the application process. If the business plan is out of date or the organisation operates without one, the chances of securing significant funds can be severely limited.
A feasibility study of any proposed development serves to provide evidence and confidence for the organisation (and any prospective funder), in demonstrating that the proposal is viable and worthwhile (or not).
Most voluntary organisations begin life on the basis of a need perceived by its original members, and the original faith in that need is sufficient to carry out the initial concepts and voluntary commitment of the organisation. A commercial business may also start out on the faith of the original subscribers, but as all organisations move on to undertake new developments, their proposals are often best served, and the pro’s and con’s are more effectively evidenced, by a feasibility study.
A typical study would analyse the elements of the proposal, the need for the development, the options to deliver the project, and often provide a full SWOT analysis. Funders will rarely go out on a limb when it comes to giving grants, and while most will fund new ideas, methods and outcomes, they need to see sufficient justification for any proposed project before they are willing to make a contribution towards it.
It is important that most projects undertaken by any organisation are effectively planned prior to the initial implementation. When applying for funds it is usual to provide details of the planning process. Project plans might typically include items such as the project scope, feasibility, and, time scales, along with relevant monitoring and control proposals to be undertaken throughout the projects lifetime.
A well rounded funding strategy should be essential for most organisations and incorporate most, if not all, of the targets mentioned in our fundraising section, plus other fundamental items that we would advise. Normally, however, a fundraising strategy suffers the same fate as many other planning consideration. It becomes an issue to be dealt with later…
Many organisations define their fundraising strategy as fit for the moment – “when we need, we raise what we can”. Many organisations who successfully bid for funds, forget to plan what to do when the funds expire. Many organisations rely on an ad hoc approach to resourcing a fundraising plan or rely on one single volunteer, who is generally given an impossible task.
To maximise fundraising efficiency an organisation must be fully aware of all funding options and systems, and develop a strategy that is tailored to their needs and recognises the commitments required.