Helping you to innovate and create a flexible, dynamic and focused organisation while remaining true to your core in a challenging world
Strong charities spend much time and thought developing their strategy, rightly expecting that it will guide their annual plans for years to come. Sadly, so much has changed in the world recently that charities of all sizes find themselves needing to review their strategy. Many are being forced to operate with uncertain resources, sometimes under severe service constraints, supporting beneficiaries whose needs may have changed dramatically, and relying on volunteers whose availability has reduced.
This can be a recipe for disorientation, demoralisation and downward spiral ... or an opportunity to revisit how the charity can best fulfil its vision and mission, emerging renewed and reinvigorated.
It's hard to see from the inside some of the ways enforced change might actually be a great opportunity for the charity. This is where I can help. With the benefit of an outside perspective and close attention to all stakeholders, I can help the Board and/or the executive team to envisage new ways to deliver to the charity's vision without sacrificing what has made the charity great.
Good governance lies at the core of every strong charity, no more so than at times like these. While there are many templates to help you comply with legal requirements, it is arguably even more important - and often more difficult - for a Board to work out how to adapt the charity's services to new challenges and opportunities while remaining true to its core vision and mission, and to do so in close harmony with the executive team.
I can help the Board embrace change while remaining aligned with the charity's ethos. I can help where the Board has lost connection with the experience of staff on the ground or the needs of beneficiaries. And I can help create open and mutually-respectful lines of communication between all stakeholders.
Depending on the size and needs of your organisation, I will work in one of two ways.
Working with your
Chair, CEO, or other
Working directly with one or two individuals, I will speed up the process of scoping the situation and deriving proposals for the way forward.
The objectivity of someone outside the charity can often help those with senior responsibility inside to see the wood hidden by the trees.
This may include engaging in a Coaching & Mentoring relationship with one or more individuals alongside the process of developing a fresh perspective on the charity's future direction.
Working with your
Board and/or Senior Team
Working with the Board as a whole, with the Senior Leadership/Management Team, or with both, I will scope the range of perspectives being brought to bear on the situation.
This will not only rapidly bring clarity to the options available to the charity together with their consequences.
It will also bring about a closer alignment between Board and staff, which is vital during times of change. This is essential to defuse tensions so that you can create a truly shared vision of the future and build an organisation that is optimally fit for purpose in today's context.
What do I bring as a Consultant?
skill | experience | character
I've been where you are.
For 30 years I headed up a small/medium sized national UK charity as CEO. I have served as Trustee on the Boards of several organisations including holding the position of Chair. I understand the pressures and responsibilities on both sides of the table.
During my time, my organisation grew from exactly one member of staff (me) to 35 delivering our services through over a hundred skilled, trained and experienced volunteers. Along the way, I negotiated two mergers: the first absorbed another national charity, and the second moved my organisation into a larger charity offering greater stability with aligned aims.
My organisation went through cycles of boom and bust on a regular basis, typical of many charities of our size. Throughout those cycles, my single most important achievement was to keep our focus on fulfilling our core reason for existing - avoiding the temptation to stray into side alleys when times were good, or sacrifice our core service when times were tough.
I learned the hard way how to build good teams (staff, Trustees, and volunteers) and how to create positive lines of communication between them. I learned how vital it is to have a clear strategy drawn from all stakeholders, and how equally vital it is to recognise when the time has come for a major review.
I burnt my fingers appointing consultants who charged the earth but who failed to deliver. And I worked with others who provided truly invaluable advice, guidance and services to the charity. Without their help, we would have struggled and probably failed to see our way through some of the most severe difficulties we faced.
I was able to rely on the inspiration and support of a small number of people who always had my back, but who certainly weren't afraid to challenge me when it was needed! My resilience and effectiveness would have been much reduced without them, and the charity would have suffered as a direct consequence.
For that reason, my methods are grounded in a friendly, collaborative and gentle approach but one which is thorough and challenging when necessary. I know that what I needed most when times were tough and change loomed large was a friendly smile along with an incisive perspective.
If this sounds like what you need, drop me a line or give me a call for a conversation about your situation.
I promise I will be honest about whether I feel I can help, and if I can't I will point you in the direction of others who can.