charity rescue sounds more like a non-profit charity organisation that rescues dogs than an idea that charity rescue is needed because many small to medium charities are failing. Some charity trustees can’t cope with the idea of marketing, they hate the word ‘branding’ and they think they will ‘manage’ their way out of a financial mess. I wrote a simple plan for charity turn around on a simple 7 steps for success basis and realised it needed a little more than this. Some charities need rescuing.
charity Trustees when looking for help in conducting a turn around, perhaps because of toxic culture or financial mismanagement will look for someone to manage them out of it. They will look for a set of competencies without realising it is the very culture they are part of that is a good part of the cause. Simon Sinek the renowned writer on senior management and leadership says an organisation in crisis cannot be managed out of the crisis it must be led out of the crisis. My experience is you need both leadership and good management, just as you need both competencies and culture to ensure your charity improves its strategy.
Recommendations for a strategic way forward
With charity rescue It may be you have a strong foundation of innovation and service to build on, however of course it may be the case that this foundation is not there
The long term future is going to be determined by continued innovation, which will help in avoiding big challenges. It may mean risk, but they can then be calculated, measured and you have control over them.
The CEO will need to review the current strategy and then craft a new strategy in collaboration with senior stakeholders. The aim will be to create stability and balance the books, which along with a merger can seem overwhelming.
To counter this and to reach a stable balanced outcome, a number of building blocks must be put in place ; a multi facted strategy which creates a vision that the majority of stakeholder will support; an increase in top-line income to cover investment expenditure, a review of HR, operations, finance, IT; a drive for quality improvement and the creation of a set of core values and behaviours that will offer unity and guide the charity in the future.
- To review the existing Strategic Plan
- charity annual reports
- An organisational chart (org chart)
- Staff turnover stats
- A PA for maximising use of CEOs time.
- Identify required senior positions and consider recruitment.
1.Gain an understanding of the situation (set in motion reviews before start)
- Are the services safe(mainly health and social care)
- Conduct an accounts review
- Payments up to date
- Creditors Debtors being managed promptly
- Review Central Purchasing/Inventory
- Break even analysis
- Pro-forma Income statement
- Top line determinants
2. Now begin to cut all unnecessary costs
- (Make a list of all your expenses and eliminate what you don’t need.)
3.Review each channel connected to the executive team
- Are rotas properly formulated/caclulated. Look at staff numbers
- Recruitment and retention stats.
- If you use agency staff, start a phase out plan
- Keep only employees who are essential,
- Which employees you can let go without damaging the charity
- Which you are better off saving money on for now.
Keep only people who are increasing income, maintaining stability or servicing stakeholders (no duplication).
Review Process culture :
- Is there regular supervision?
- Is there regular appraisal?
- How is finance reporting conducted?
- Is there clear KPIs for operational quality (ongoing)?
- What are IT Budgets
- IT asset levels?
- IT knowledge levels?
- Updates needed?
- Use of IT in Communications, HR, Accounts
A 2017 report concludes that charities should focus on engagement with their brand on social media, not on the number of followers they have. failing charities often don’t like the word Brand
- Make a SWOT analysis (major risks, major opportunities)
- Identify Current roles
- Identify current functions and responsibilities.
- Encourage all Trustees to have clear roles
- Ask them privately What works/what doesn’t (their frustrations)
- What would they change if they were CEO.
- The type of support they would like to get from you as the charity lead.
5. Meet Executive team (if there is one)
- As with trustees identify their current role.
- How it fits into the charity and how they see themselves
- How they are feeling right now. What works. What doesn’t (frustrations).
- What would they change if they were CEO.
- The type of support they would like to get from you as their leader.
- Quality Improvment
7. Start to create a framework for a strategic plan
(If there is one already review and renew)
I would expect to include:
- Rebuilding Culture: Core Values and Behaviours
- Making Finance work for you
- Digital is the backbone of communication
- Marketing/Branding (inc social media),
- Fundraising is your path to a better toppling
- Quality Improvement enables you to bear scrutiny
- Operations must work to processes, if you cant measure it you cant manage it.
- Human resources are you greatest asset, culture helps you recruit and retain. Pay people properly.
All of which should inform the charity’s strategic plan
8. Culture, decide who you are and what you represent and stick to it.
Make sure your charity starts becoming more outward facing and their brand and logo differentiates and clearly states what they do so a stronger would understand.
Bringing organisations together is notoriously difficult. Time, effort and resources must be invested in the culture to create unity.
- Recruit External HR consultant
- Review culture and Create a people and culture programme, to be at the core of your charity rescueReview expectations of staff values and behaviours
- Review Running leadership qualities framework
- Review name, logo, and associated values ( does your immediate charitable identity, separate you from others and give further understanding of the charity?)
- Review small low cost alterations made at this point to logo and tagline.
9. Meet with and Build a senior team
Your organisation needs to invest in this team, to maximise potential
I would expect to see:
- HR Director
- IT and Digital Director
- Quality Improvement Director
- Operations Director
- Finance Director
- Service Delivery Director
Legal advise from Legal HR specialist (e.g Citation)
These may be recruited internally if your organisation needs rapid recruitment and to maximise potential in present staff, The most important are those conducting immediate reviews and influencing the top line (fundraising and retail)
10. Meet with stakeholders.
Stakeholders must be brought on side.
- Families and carers. (these can all be written to at start with open door policy)
- Key stakeholders may easily become anxious, so offer reassurance and in addition transparency. Share the charities vision for the future.
Ask them about:
- Their relationship with the organisation.
- What is working for them?
- What is not working for them?
- Ask them to talk about one thing they would change about your organization, if they had your job.
11. Meet with commissioning or funding Stakeholders
If needed, explain your vision, plan and their part in it. If the charity receives NHS or Social Services money, whether this is direct or through other services, then this is the starting point of using the finance part of your team to negotiate for higher fees, or planting the seed that income must rise and the authorities need to be part of this.
Now Revise strategic plans
12. Meet with the new senior team
With your version of the plan plan meet with Key Senior Managers, The key people in the charity need to have an open no-holds-barred discussion on how to create a successful strategy for the organisation. Present your own outline plan and vision at this meeting. But keep a truly open mind and maintain a flexible approach.
Revise your plans
After listening to key Execs in the business and discussing important aspects of your plan with your Senior team, revise the plans again,
before presenting them to the board of Trustees
After 12 weeks Meet with Trustees
Draft your plan for discussion and approval by Trustees, to give CEO authority to put into operation