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:
Responding to complex, novel tenders
When should you engage external, critical thinking in responding to a tender and when can you manage it in-house? We think you should answer two key questions to determine this:
Complexity and novelty
Where funders are looking for the most efficient and cost-effective way to deliver well-established services, you need a sharp focus on your operating model and being able to scale and/or replicate that with fidelity and at lowest cost. You will have a clear understanding of the costs to deliver and a target margin. In short, you need to deliver maximum services.
Strategic tender support is not likely to be a good investment in this case.
Where tenders are looking for novel approaches (for example, a collective or ‘alliancing’ approach to governance), or where there is added complexity (for example, where a sizeable proportion of the funding can be distributed flexibly) you really do need to think more deeply, strategically and innovatively about how you will respond. The traditional approach won’t maximise your chances in this case
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:
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.