The Strategic Growth Matrix
Are you determined to grow as an organisation and do you have a plan to do it?
How do you determine which service areas your organisation should invest in and what your growth targets are? Importantly - How do you balance growth in impact and growth in revenue?
Mission-led organisations need to focus on delivering both revenue (financial sustainability) and social impact (outcomes that matter to clients of our services). But in an environment of finite resources (and potentially diminishing resources) the question is how to assess where these limited resources should go to achieve growth goals and targets.
One way we have helped clients think about their growth is to review each of their programs across two dimensions using our Strategic Growth Matrix©. The purpose of the Strategic Growth Matrix is to force critical thinking about each of the services and programs the organisation offers and prioritise resources in a way that best achieves the mission of social impact. Sometimes organisations with lots of revenue and staff can feel their goal is simply to grow as an organisation - more money, more staff. But the Strategic Growth Matrix helps make the social impact goals of the organisation more explicitly reflected in strategy, not just the financial sustainability goals.
Managing when government cuts budgets
We are deep into Government budget time and, particularly in Victoria, there are challenging times ahead.
In Victoria, it is reported that there will be a 10% cut in spending on public sector wages across the board meaning a $3.6 billion cut over four years. While this may well be limited to ‘back of house’ costs, we know there will be either cuts to services or a narrowing of eligibility for some social programs. We also now know that more than half of all community health organisations are facing 15% cuts to funding that will impact direct services.
So what should we make of the spending restraint/cuts/efficiencies/austerity (choose your word) on the way? How do we try and quarantine our programs? How do we respond?
At times like this, we believe it is more important than ever to advocate not for your program and service budgets but for your client outcomes.
The steps you can implement to make sure you are advocating as powerfully as possible for your client outcomes are:
In February, Dale presented at the Victorian Alcohol and Drug Association (VAADA) conference on how a whole social sector can come together to take leadership of data and develop a collaborative data project to share useful data across multiple stakeholders. Collaborative data projects enable a sector to see the 'whole impact' of the sector and measure outcomes in consistent ways. See the presentation pack below.
5 things you can do to better empower frontline workers in your organisation:
Latitude Year in Review 2022
For Latitude Network, 2022 has been a year of growth, new challenges, and the rewards of seeing efforts come to fruition. We’re glad you’ve been with us on the journey, as partners, supporters or simply interested friends. Here are some of the highlights from our year.
What are our major learnings from this year?
To the network of people with whom we work - those who are dedicated to improving social systems and social outcomes - we are deeply grateful to be collaborating with you on this important but difficult work. We look forward to connecting with more people in this movement for high performance and outcomes focus in 2023.
Read about four important projects we undertook this year -
Toward Home Alliance - a new way forward for homelessness services
Toward Home Alliance (THA) is a network of six housing services along with the South Australian Housing Authority, working together across South Australia to address homelessness in a single service system. In 2022, we conducted a detailed review of the Alliance’s operations and governance structure. As a trusted advisor for THA, we’ve worked with them for a number of years, and this next step allowed them to develop a new cross-agency operations manual.
This truly is a ‘systems change’ project as it allows a single entity (the Alliance) to manage every part of the homelessness service system. The new operations manual was built to enable more than 100 staff working across five agencies plus multiple service partners to work to a common, integrated service model. This allows all agencies to provide more tailored, appropriate support but also to work across the usual silos of the sector.
In 2023, we’ll work with THA on a ‘Continuous Quality Improvement’ process embedded in everyday operations. The aim is to continually update and improve service delivery, guided by the Ops Manual and by the data being collected by all services.
Hello Sunday Morning - using data to create deeper understanding
Hello Sunday Morning (HSM) is a digital platform operating on mobile and desktop, established in 2009 to support people to reduce alcohol consumption and alcohol harm. Their Daybreak app enables and facilitates peer-to-peer support, generating over six million data points that HSM engaged Latitude Network to analyse.
The project helped the team interpret and segment the data and understand the stories it was telling about their clients, how they were using the app, and how to use the data to better support and engage clients. We provided detailed segmentation of the App users, provided insights about who is using the online service, for how long, how intensively, and how long they stay in contact. This allowed HSM to develop strategies to maintain connection with those likely to disengage.
In 2023, we will use ‘machine learning’ tools to develop predictive models for the client to create an ongoing learning loop. This will then provide a range of early-warning data for HSM on factors such as likely client disengagement and drop-out rates and impact data. Using innovative new ways to track and measure data is crucial for services such as Hello Sunday Morning, and we’re excited to see how the service will evolve with increasingly rich and detailed data to support their development. You can read more about this project here.
A CMS or Client Management System (also called a CRM or Client Relationship Management system or Case Management System) are key tools for delivering and improving social services. They are also big business, and can be quite costly to invest in. We know social organisations that have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and for larger organisations, millions of dollars on these IT database systems. They are significant investments for cash-strapped social organisations. Yet they don’t always deliver good value.
We advise clients not to rush into buying a CMS, but to first spend time designing your data ecosystem. The key to getting the most out of your IT providers is to develop a detailed, mapped set of metrics and to be clear how you will use this data for better decision making. This forms part of your functional brief to the CMS provider, but it also reduces duplication and the need to re-work your system when you need to make changes down the track.
Here are our top six principles to consider before investing in a new CMS:
1. Start with the end in mind
We run what we call ‘End State’ workshops that help organisations get laser-focused on the social mission and organisational goals. As you identify what your organisation is trying to achieve, the workshop helps you identify the data you’ll need to achieve your key goals. This then enables you to decide what outputs (reports, IT dashboards) you need to generate these metrics. The End State process is an acquired skill because you have to balance frontline and client needs, quality of data, validated metrics as well and organisational and operational considerations.