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01/12/2008
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Why It Matters
Think Strategically
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In practice
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Strategic Approach

Photo of couple outside chattingarrow Try to understand and involve the whole community

The very basics of every strategy will have the following:

Vision - What you are ultimately aiming for
Mission - How you will achieve these aims
Objectives - The core points of what you want to achieve
Tactics - Activities to achieve objectives
Outcomes - What will be achieved
Measurables - Measure of success

All strategies should be based on research, understanding community needs and wants, what is financially achievable and genuine determination and follow through.

Whatever your objective the first step is devising a strategy - an overall approach - and will include:

  • Community engagement - so that other people and organisations in the community understand the reasons for action, see the benefits, share your vision for change and want to help
  • Partnerships - where communities are concerned, it is unlikely that you will be able to achieve your objective through unilateral actions. Communities are made up of people and organisations, many of whom have their own influences, focuses, agendas and budgets - and only a certain amount of time to spare. Thus leadership, planning, empathy and the successful recruitment of support will be vital to your plan
  • Performance management - some degree of targeting, management and cost control will be necessary as the project progresses. But how will you know if you are succeeding? At what stages will - or can - you evaluate progress? Do you need to adjust the plan in the light of the learnings? How much time have you spent and could it be spent better? How much money have you spent and could it be spent better?
  • Funding - almost any plan will need a degree of funding, but from where will the money come? Which organisations might already have budgets for the kind of task you have in mind? How can you best present your plans to them in order to gain support?
  • Research - it is always helpful if you can quantify the situation, through looking at research into similar problems, opportunities and solutions elsewhere. It will help you to obtain a broader view and then to get a tighter grip on the size of your task. By doing your own research, you may find it easier to get an objective assessment of your community‚Äôs views and your plans. And, as you go along, you can establish how views and behaviours have changed so that, at the end of the project, you can demonstrate progress and provide vital learnings for your colleagues and others