Our Strategic Plan

Our Strategic Plan

Strategic Plan (April 2016- March 2021)

Our new strategy will shape our work into 2021. It reflects our views on the challenges voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations are facing and our vision for change. The strategy describes the role we will play in leading and supporting the sector to respond to the challenges and new opportunities as they emerge. 

Increased demand on services coupled with a tougher funding environment means increased pressure on VCSE to be innovative and work across sectors. While it is welcome that sectors should work closer together on common interests, voluntary and community organisations will face challenges to how they keep their independence and continue to speak out on behalf of the people they work with. There is more public scrutiny of charities than ever before which means the reputation of and trust in charities will be a key theme for our sector in the life of this plan. Politically, a new Assembly, Executive and Programme for Government provides many opportunities and challenges for the sector.

An increasing shift from grant funding to commissioning is expected and we need to ensure we can respond competitively to these challenges. Further implementation of the provisions set out in the Charities Act NI will also present increasing demands on our sector.

The digital literacy of our sector needs to improve to grasp the full potential of digital for organisations. Digital is part of everything we do and organisations will need to consider opportunities and efficiencies on offer, making better use of data to target services; using online communication, collaboration and storage tools; using open source software and enabling staff to use their own devices, social media and networks. Furthermore, organisations need to understand breaches of data security can be highly damaging.

Our strategic goals

Four strategic goals will determine our programmes of work over the next three years.  Our commitment to embedding impact practice in our work will provide a framework by which we can judge our success in their delivery. Each goal is supported by a series of outcomes which specifies the changes we want to see, our priorities for the next three years and how we will achieve them. Our strategy is underpinned by our Vision Mission and Values which drives all that we do.

How our strategy was developed

Over the last year we have asked the sector to tell us about the challenges they face and what they wanted from us. We have contributed to the DSD Review of the Regional Infrastructure Support Programme and listened to the views and needs of the sector and our members as part of this process.  All of this information has helped steer the work of our staff and our Executive Committee to produce this master plan for our future.

Our Goals

In order to work towards our Vision, Mission & Values, the following strategic goals will underpin everything we do until 2019.

  • Goal 1:  We will support the VCSE to be resilient and robust to respond to the challenge of change.
  • Goal 2:  We will support the VCSE in harnessing digital technologies for public good.
  • Goal 3:  We will act as the influential leader on behalf of the VCSE in NI.
  • Goal 4:  We will be a resilient and robust organisation equipped to respond to the challenge of change.

Goal 1: We will support the VCSE to be resilient and robust to respond to the challenge of change.

We will achieve this by:

  • Supporting the VCSE sector to fulfil its requirements under Charity legislation, company legislation and governance best practice:
  • Supporting the VCSE sector to collaborate where appropriate.
  • Providing the VCSE organisations with information and support to diversify their income streams.
  • Providing the VCSE organisations with advice and information to manage their workforce.
  • Keeping stakeholders informed of key issues and best practice through its communication channels.
  • Providing the VCSE organisations with the appropriate skills to achieve its outcomes and respond to new opportunities.
  • Supporting VCSE organisations to embed impact practice.
  • Facilitating VCSE organisations to use data to evidence need and spot trends.

We will measure our success by:

  • Numbers of organisations supported through the registration process and achieving registration.
  • Numbers of organisations adopting new/revised governing documents.
  • Numbers achieving accreditation.
  • Increased knowledge of range of income streams.
  • Increased numbers participating in clinics and seminars.

Goal 2: We will support the VCSE in harnessing digital technologies for public good

 We will achieve this by:

  • Establishing cross sectoral relationships with private/tech, public and VCSE to encourage digital social innovation for public good.
  • Providing information and support to improve VCSE organisations digital capability.
  • Providing support and information to VCSE organisations on digital governance.

We will measure our success by:

  • Organisations able to use more cost effective and practical IT systems, suited to their needs.

Goal 3: We will act as the influential leader on behalf of the VCSE in NI.

We will achieve this by:

  • Advocating strongly for the contribution of the VCSE sector to public in NI.
  • Supporting VCSE organisations to generate solutions to social, economic and environmental problems.
  • Supporting VCSE organisations to influence public policy decision making.

We will measure our success by:

  • 100% of political parties engaging with us on our policy manifesto.
  • Numbers of organisations engaging in our policy work?
  • Our level of engagement with senior government officials on key policy decision making and early influence in design.

Goal 4: We will be a resilient and robust organisation equipped to respond to the challenge of change.

We will achieve this by:

  • Growing our earned income and continuing to seek opportunities to diversify our funding mix.
  • Supporting and developing a flexible workforce in response to ongoing changes in the demands of our services.

We will measure our success by:

  • Generating and sustaining income to deliver operational objectives
  • Increase in earned unrestricted income.
  • Retaining our status as an IiP Gold Award winner
  • Successfully delivering the objectives and targets set within our operational plans.

Operational Plan

Our strategy is supported by an annual operational plan which sets out the detailed work plan in support of our four key goals. It describes the activity we will undertake, the outputs we plan to deliver but importantly how we will assess and measure the impact of our work.  Our annual plan will be agile and responsive to the external environment and we will continually assess our work, its relevance to the sector and the need to develop new services as the demand and external environment dictates.