Vision or Purpose: You Decide.

In November of last year, I ran an introductory workshop for Community and Not for Profit organisations in the Adelaide Hills. It was entitled ‘Enhance Your Organisation’ and the focus was to help groups to realise they need to operate like a business whilst maintaining the community strengths.

The workshop touched on the need for any organisation or small business to have:

  • A clearly defined & focused purpose
  • A road map or GPS directions to meet this purpose
  • Flexibility to adapt to changing society needs
  • A strategic plan, including goals
  • Contacts with which you can collaborate
  • Funding and budget plans
  • Ideas to engage and acquire volunteers and members
  • Your legal obligations
  • Successful and meaningful meetings
  • Use social media to promote and engage your community
  • And evaluate your progress

The organisations that attended were all at different stages of development and have followed up with different discussions.

One is pushing on with funding applications by finding a volunteer who can help them. This is a great result for them after we worked on a volunteer application that asked people to nominate areas of interest and skills that they bring to the organisation.

They will put plans to paper later in the year, but I would have liked to see them do it the other way around. It’s hard to get funding without a documented purpose and plan.

Another group is focusing on growing their membership by engaging more with the Youth that are part of a speaking competition that they run annually. Social Media development for them is the area that they need to work hard on.

There was another group represented that wanted to plan their winding up and this was a difficult one for them, but never the less appeared to be a realistic goal. They went away with plans to see if there was the energy to go through a whole new process.

The Mount Pleasant Farmers Market Inc sent 3 representatives along to the workshop and although they have been operating for a number of years, they felt it was time to consolidate and move towards a succession plan.

We began the planning process in December and have held two fantastic workshops, attended be over 30 people each time. There were committee, shoppers, community members and stallholders all fantastically enthusiastic about moving forward.

At the first session, they brainstormed what they do well, what is important to them, Opportunities that may arise, what the future may look like, what values are important to them and finally, what they see as there purpose.

From this, I put together a table of the words used to describe themselves. Prominent words were – community, friendly, sustainable, fresh, local, customers, range & variety. All of which found their way into the final statements.

The second workshop involved a report from 2 mystery shoppers and ideas that the group may use to make some immediate and obvious improvements.

This session was followed by some great discussion on whether or not to have a vision or purpose statement. The latter was the final agreed wording and it worked a treat.

At the end of this vibrant and fun workshop, the group has come away with a concise and focused purpose statement, a mission statement and a set of values by which they can move forward.

A successful outcome so far.

The next sessions will involve setting some agreed goals around which action plans can be developed.

Succession planning and finances seem to be top priorities for the next workshop.

I love working with this group – enthusiasm and a desire to keep the market growing into the future is obvious at the workshops, but most importantly it is obvious as you move through the market on a Saturday morning.

My next project is to work with a local group that are keen to attract a range of events to our area, including live music, day conferences, comedy events, celebrations, festivals, trade shows and food & wine shows. We live in the middle of one of SAs finest tourism locations, so should be fun.

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