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Strategic Growth Matrix

How do you determine which service areas your social 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.

The Strategic Growth Matrix

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.

To do this we consider:

  • The organisation's ability to generate and demonstrate measurable impact in each of service areas; and

  • The future growth potential of that service/policy area (growth in need as well as funding).

Each service is plotted against the two dimensions within a two x two matrix (example below). The placement of each service on the matrix means you can, at a glance, review each of your services and the extent to which they are in growth markets and your ability to deliver impact.

Strategies for each Quadrant

Your next step is then to decide on how to manage each of these services. Your options will be the following:

  1. Quadrant One: Review. This service is not demonstrating or delivering impact and it is not growing in need. Should we continue to put resources here?;

  2. Quadrant Two: Build Capability. This is a growth area but we are currently unable to deliver or to demonstrate impact. If we stay in this area then we need to invest in our capacity to deliver and demonstrate results;

  3. Quadrant Three: Grow. Our ‘sweet spot’. We are delivering and demonstrating impact in an area of growing need. Invest!; and

  4. Quadrant Four: Optimise. We are good at delivering impact in this service area but there is no growth in it. Your best strategy is to be as efficient as possible in delivering impact in this area either by increasing your impact for the same level of resourcing or to deliver the same impact but for lower resource input.

At times of reducing program funding, it becomes imperative that you review where your resources are being invested and make good, sound strategic growth decisions.

To work well, the Strategic Growth Matrix requires an ability to accurately measure the outcomes and impact of all your organisation's programs, and to even be able to compare them with each other. For many organisations, this means new thinking is needed on how best to manage and report outcomes, above and beyond the KPIs that the funder is requiring. Our experience suggests social organisations need to prioritise going on a 'data journey' that builds confidence and systems and helps empower frontline staff and managers to use that data. 

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