“David Saint was very helpful in getting us to focus on the issues facing the Foundation. He’s obviously aware of what charities of our size need to be thinking about and he knows how to get people working together. His neutrality was very useful in enabling us to move forward.”
Rob Collinge, Chair, The Lacrosse Foundation
A whole new goal
The Lacrosse Foundation
The Lacrosse Foundation was a very small charity, turning over less than £25,000 a year, with a mission to support the sport in England. Recently, however, it received a £1million legacy donation, which prompted the trustees to reconsider the purpose and direction of the charity. They recruited seven new trustees, bringing the total to nine, and began the process of redefining their strategy. One of the new trustees, who was familiar with Action Planning, proposed that David Saint should be approached to help begin the strategic planning process.
The overnight change of focus caused by the £1m windfall meant the Foundation was almost starting from scratch, with trustees who needed to be brought together and assigned roles, and a whole new strategy to work out. David Saint was asked to facilitate a strategic planning process to help gel the new trustees and direct everybody’s thinking towards the future aims of the Foundation.
David began by speaking to each of the trustees individually, to gather their strengths and learn about their motivations and experience. He followed this up with a series of three strategic planning workshops. These began with various exercises designed to bond the group, help them to get to know one another and to start sharing their ideas. David used C-Me Profiling, a method for defining candidates’ personality traits, to help the trustees understand their own, and each other’s, potential strengths and weaknesses. The group then worked towards cementing values and a mission statement to give direction to the charity’s strategic goals, which were mapped out over the next 10 years. Finally, David led the group in focusing in on the finer details, such as a proposed funding model and who was responsible for what. He wrote up the outcomes of the sessions in a report to help guide the Foundation in the implementation of its strategy.
According to Foundation chair Rob Collinge, the planning sessions instilled the spirit of working together as a team and provided clarity on individual roles. They were left with a clear understanding of how to relaunch the charity and raise awareness of their existence and activities within the sport, and the confidence to now continue the mission on their own.
Having a lot more money than you ever expected may be an unusual experience for many charities – but although it may be a welcome one, it does bring challenges of its own. The trustees of the Lacrosse Foundation wisely wanted to take a strategic approach to the opportunity, rather than risk frittering the money away on myriad small initiatives, or blowing the lot on a flagship ‘vanity project’. They were willing to invest the time and effort in a thorough strategic planning process, to ensure that the sport of lacrosse received the maximum benefit from this unexpected windfall.