Options and choices

An assessment of the organisation's environment will produce a number of options and choices. These options and choices need to be explored so that informed decisions can be made about future strategy and sustainability.

Most important at this stage is ensuring that what the organisation is involved in terms of service delivery and activities lies at the heart of what the organisation is all about. Opportunites may seem like a good idea at the time, but if they take you away from your core mission and values, then they will distract you and may harm future sustainability.

You will need to think about priorities, feasibility and risks. You are unlikely to do everything, so what should you focus on? Are your plans achievable? Do you have sufficient funds and resources? Are there any barriers? Moreover, are the risks worth taking?

There are a wide range of tools that can help you at these different stages. Some of them are explained here.


Priority

The findings from the organisation's assessment or environmental analysis will identify what are the most pressing issues facing the organisation. Whether it is a change in legislation or shift in government policy, changing funding climate or simply an increase in demand for the organisation's services. These all must be prioritised to ensure that the organisation's mission is achieved.


Feasibility

Once the priorities have been established, you must now examine the options available to achieving them and what the practical implications of doing so maybe. The different options available to the organisation may range from:

  • Whether to provide additional services - in-house or contracting out?
  • Does the organisation require additional funding?
  • Are new premises required or can existing space be used more efficiently?
  • Are there opportunities to diversify income?
  • Do we need to recruit additional staff to enhance our service?

Risk

Whatever choices are made, a full risk assessment must be undertaken to ensure that organisation is not over-exposed, in terms of financial commitments and in its ability to deliver a quality service to its users. Risk assessment lists, sorts and ranks risk according to importance and level of danger. By understanding what could threaten your organisation's performance, or even future sustainability, you can be better prepared to minimise the impact of these risks.

Undertaking risk assessment can be done in many ways, depending on what you intend to measure. A number of practical tools are available to enable an organisation to undertake a full and detailed risk assessment.

Useful resources