There is an African proverb that says that the future belongs to the people who plan for it today.

The environment in which the civil society sector operates in South Africa is complex and filled with challenges for nonprofit organisations. In order for them to respond timeously and ethically to this changing context, leaders of nonprofit organisations need to be able to create and implement effective strategic plans.

A Structure for Growth

Taking time to embark on a strategic planning process alone is however, a daunting task.

One of Valcare’s member organisations, Ezrah Community Training and Development NPC, realised this crucial gap, and in partnership with Valcare, pioneered the first Strategic Planning Programme in 2018. Ezrah created a user-friendly strategic model that was attended by eight  Valcare member organisations. The programme guided the leaders through an interactive process to help them create a forward-thinking roadmap that their organisations could follow.

The programme strengthened the ability of nonprofits to access new opportunities and enabled positive collaboration with stakeholders enabling them to tackle challenges constructively.

Ezrah’s approach contains the following objectives which are implemented through seven workshops and mentoring sessions throughout the year:
  • Understanding the strategic planning process
  • Building towards organisational sustainability
  • Understanding the importance of leadership and ethics through the LEAD model
  • Sharpening of vision, mission, values and service alignment
  • Improving board functioning, management and staff alignment
  • Alignment of service delivery through the theory of change
  • Developing an income generation strategy and a fundraising proposal
  • Implementing risk management and policy development
  • Meaningful stakeholder engagement and successful partnerships
  • Developing a strategic plan with tracking of action plans

The 2019 Strategic Planning Programme was presented to eight participating Valcare member organisations:
  1. Athlone House of Strength (AHOS)
  2. Care Career Connection
  3. Change within Development Consultancy
  4. Elevation Programme
  5. Fountain of Hope
  6. Good Hope Day Care Centre
  7. The Royalty Project
  8. Wamakersvallei Training Centre

“Strategic planning may seem complex, but the underlying principle is quite simple: you cannot be everything to everyone. Therefore, effective strategic planning is all about knowing who you are and what you want to achieve as an organisation. Strategic planning is making a dedicated commitment to what you say ‘yes’ to, standing firm in what you say ‘no’ to and having clarity on the difference between the two as you move through each season of development. 

We salute the participants in this year’s programme for their dedication to grow as well as enthusiastic participation during all the workshops. May they continue to find their unique place and inspiration as successful non-profit organisations uplifting their communities,” says Mariëtte Jacobs, MD of Ezrah.

Stories of Progress

At the celebration session early in 2020, delegates shared their learnings, both in their personal and professional capacity. A major outcome for participants was a clear understanding of the importance of implementing organisational development in cohesion with well-planned service delivery.

On a practical level, a strategic plan was drafted for each organisation which they will now develop further in conjunction with their boards and staff teams.

“From here on we will raise the standard for establishing policies and making it transparent.”

“ We have started well. We have a clear future plan, we have enthusiasm and hope, we are getting to a place where we can be a responsible, well-managed organisation.” 

“The burden became light as we are much more focussed.”

 Original content written by Mariëtte Jacobs.