David Saint

Mar 14, 2018, 10:41 AM

The answer’s Yes. What’s the question?

For a while now Action Planning has made the rather bold claim “The answer’s Yes – what’s the question?” The following snapshot illustrates some of the diversity of challenges we have been asked to address – and the diversity of causes we have worked with. Do any of these issues resonate with you? Or do you have a different challenge you would like to put to us?


  • Our small charity has just received a very substantial legacy and we now need to gear up to a national presence. Can you help us develop a strategy and business plan for building an organisation more or less from scratch?
  • I want to write a strategy with a twenty year horizon. [excellent! See our article ‘Where are the Visionaries?!]  Can you help me pull this together?
  • We are in a strong and stable position. Will you nudge out us of our comfort zone and encourage us to identify the next challenge we should address?
  • Our charity is stuck in the doldrums. We have little income, achieve little impact, and yet we all seem to work very hard. Can you help us explore alternative ways of achieving our mission that might be more time-effective and cost-effective?
  • I am completely reinventing our charity after major changes in our environment. Will you sense-check my proposals, before I take them to the Board?
  • The two of us have run this operation with very little help for several years, and we are exhausted. Will you help us see the wood for the trees, and identify a way forward – or a way out?


  • We have very high reserves, and yet our trustees want me to develop a fundraising strategy! Will you come and run a session on organisational strategy, governance, and fundraising strategy, so they can stop putting the cart before the horse?!
  • We have a stalled capital appeal. Can you help us work out how to reinvigorate it, and finish it off?
  • Could you research and develop a revenue fundraising strategy for the new organisation we want to launch?
  • We are a funder, and there is an organisation that we really want to fund. But they don’t seem to understand what we need from them. Will you help them develop a meaningful case for support that we can get behind?

And the rest!

  • Could you run a trustee recruitment webinar for our member organisations?
  • Could you carry out a ‘secret shopper’ exercise to help us set a competitive price for our services?
  • Our IT manager has prepared an IT strategy and is requesting lots more resources. We don’t really know how to evaluate this. Could you provide an IT expert to do a top level review of our systems, and the proposed strategy, and tell us whether we are going in the right direction?
  • We would like an objective benchmarking exercise for all our senior salaries. Is that something you can do for us?

These diverse requests (all of which we could help with) came from an equally diverse range of causes including Arts, Career development, Care for the elderly, Education, Hospices, Hospitals, International development, Mental health, National church denominations, Professional benevolent associations, Sports, Theological colleges, and Welfare.

Are you grappling with something at the moment, where some external objectivity, expertise or simply capacity might make a difference? If so, do get in touch. 

David Saint

Are you in need of some external expertise? if so, get in touch

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