Trust | Core Charity Strategic Planning
Very often when asking charities whether they have a strategic plan, they will answer yes and tell me all about their financial planning for the future, they may even mention fundraising and possibly marketing and then if they are really progressive they will have a digital strategy as well.
If I drill down and talk more they will mention that their plan details their aims and objectives and the direction they want to go to get to those objectives, managers will talk about fundraising and how they will increase fundraising by marketing and profile building. They may even begin to talk about their brand.
Now I have talked a little about branding when I wrote the 7 steps to a charity marketing strategy and branding will be a core part of any strategy, but for a moment I need to digress.
Since 2008/2009 Trust in business organisations is at an all time low, its not just banks, insurance and banking, its many large corporations, charities and no profits. These organisations are often rocked by scandal, corruption and internal and external abuse. They say do no harm, but collect and use your data without your knowledge, they sell you things you do not want at inflated prices, they take your money to look after and invest it for profit whilst charging you for the pleasure, the encourage debt and they badger you in the street and at home to donate funds and then abuse the people they are supposed to be caring for. Any of that ring true to a headline or experience you have had in the last 10 years?
So to go back to your strategic plan: public trust for every charity, large or small is what is core to their strategic plan. Not whether the Executive and the Trustees trust each other, but whether the public trusts your organisation enough, likes your CEO and fundraisers enough to trust them with their volunteer time or their donations.
Your brand, the way the public and to an extent your staff see the charity, must 1. have trust and 2. trust leads to relationships and 3. relationships provide opportunity to advance your charity’s aims and objectives.
Too often charities are self obsessed, with their own internal politics, or just reaching set objectives to realise that the impact of public trust, of a public they dont even know can bring the charity to its knees. Some through board influence can quietly ignore the trust factor or even erode it as they talk up certain objectives and the charities need to reach those above everything else.
And here come Values,core values and behaviours that when you put in place are done from the bottom up, and one of the questions asked about such values to give them meaning is Would you want the organisation to hold these values even if at some point they were at a competitive disadvantage. In the strive for financial objectives, it is often public Trust that is thrown to the wolves.
What every charity should ask in terms of strategic planning is: What are we doing to earn the Trust—that will enable us to form the kinds of relationships we need to achieve our goals and objectives?
Once you have the answer to that question, the strategic goals and objectives will follow.