You know what you want to achieve and have a group of like-minded people who all broadly believe in the same vision.  As Argyll and Bute has a long tradition of community groups your group may already have a charitable purpose, but do you have a document that clearly sets out your vision, mission, values and goals?  Collectively this document forms a strategy and can help members, trustees, volunteers and funders understand that you have thought about what you intend to do, what problems you intend to address and how you will do it.

Community and voluntary groups operate in an environment that evolves, so it makes sense to consider the world around you, including those who might offer similar services to you, to help you consider your approach and how you are going to spend your organisations resources (time and money) on delivering what you need. For example, in Argyll and Bute key considerations might include our rurality, the difficulties of achieving economies of scale, finding volunteers, staff shortages, housing supply and our aging population.

A strategic plan document need not be complicated but it should be a forward-thinking tool that helps frame your actions over a three-year period as a minimum.  Your strategy will inform both your annual business plan and your budget.

Key sections in a good strategy might include the following elements:-

  • Vision: this is what you want to address or change.
  • Mission: set out why you exist and defines your purpose
  • Objectives: these will be specific areas of focus with defined outcomes.
  • Strategy: How will you deliver your objectives over the life of the strategy?
  • Approach and tactics: this is your method for delivering your plan and includes focused actions to support the overall strategy and includes things like marketing and the services or programmes you will deliver.
  • Resources: This sets out what you need to deliver the strategy and sets out the time and money needed including where you will source these.
  • Evaluation: What does success look like and how do you know you will have achieved your strategic goals?

There are some great tools that will help you think about your strategy and the world around you and below are two of the most common:-

  • SWOT analysis:  This stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.  It covers both internal and external factors that will have an impact on your approach.
  • PESTEL analysis: This stands for Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental and Legal.  This is mainly about the external factors affecting your world.

You might want to develop these with your members and local community.

In addition, the tools listed below, whilst geared towards the private sector, can be adapted to community and social circumstances:-

  • Value Chain Analysis
  • Porter’s Five Forces
  • McKinsey 7S framework

Related resources

All the related resources