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Advice from Outside the Square

Managing Indigenous Organisations

How To Write Your Not-For-Profit Strategic Plan

There is broad agreement among not-for-profit leaders and experts that planning is a critical component of good management and governance. Planning helps ensure that an organisation remains relevant and responsive to the needs of its community, and contributes to organisational stability and growth. It provides a basis for monitoring progress, and for assessing results and impact. It facilitates new program development. It enables an organisation to look into the future in an orderly and systematic way. From a governance perspective, it enables the Board to set policies and goals to guide the organisation and provides a clear focus to the Executive Director and staff for program implementation and agency management. Most organisations understand the need for annual program objectives and a program-focused work plan. Funders require them, and they provide a basis for setting priorities, organizing work, and assessing progress. A growing number of community-based organisations go beyond funder requirements to develop annual objectives and operating plans which also include a systematic plan for resource development, organisational development, and in some cases Board development. Most groups find it practical to define objectives for a 12-month period, and to design strategies and programs to meet them. Longer-range planning – planning beyond the next...
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Good Partnerships Start With Good Preparation

As Indigenous organisations manoeuvre into social enterprises, or commercial businesses, into a world that many of them do not have experience of, they take the logical step of setting up partnerships with more experienced organisations or businesses. This partnership approach has many advantages - it allows one partner to mentor the other and allow the less experienced organisation to gain experience while mitigating risk. It reduces the cost of the investment, it allows the two partner organisations to bring different strengths to the table, and it scales the business or project beyond what one organisation alone is unable to do. There is one other major advantage to the Indigenous organisation, and that is that it allows that organisation to gradually buy out the partner thus giving time to build resources and experience. However, not all partnerships end well! (more…)...
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10 Ways To Boost Board Diversity

When I am consulting to Indigenous organisations, one of the most talked about issues is how they can create diversity in their Boards in order to better reflect their members and their activities. In fact, from the perspective of Director accountability and succession-planning, it is deserving of the spotlight. Board member renewal and the meeting of required skills matrices is a matter, not only for the Selection Committee but for the whole Board. When Board composition is at best-practice, so is the work of the Board. So what factors should you consider when your Board thinks about Board diversity and composition? (more…)...
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Writing Your Small Business Plan

In past blog posts, I have written about how Indigenous organisations can start small businesses and social enterprises. Participating in the broader economy is, in my opinion, an important part of success for any Indigenous organisation. This month, I wanted to write about how to provide a plan for your small business. Whether it is a small business or social enterprise attached to a larger Indigenous organisation, or whether you are encouraging your members to start their own enterprises, all small businesses need to have the support of a well thought out business plan. (more…)...
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