A Strategy Statement and its Relevance for Civil Society Organisations

A Strategy Statement and its Relevance for Civil Society Organisations

Today, I had my first class at the Utrecht Summer School, Utrecht, the Netherlands, where I am taking a course titled: A Real-World Perspective- Manage Your Business Abroad.

I learnt a lot about strategies and the major highlight; for me was the topic on strategy statement. I was able to see how it was different from the mission, values and vision statements of an organisation.

 

What is a Strategy Statement? 

A strategy statement defines an organisation’s competitive advantage and how it wants to track the implementation of its strategy.

Why is a strategy statement important for a civil society organisation (CSO)?

Nowadays, CSOs serve communities with a heavy reliance on philanthropic and government funding in the wake of economic downturns. They, therefore, depend on unsustainable funding. Hence, building a sustainable funding solution through social entrepreneurship is what every organisation should consider.

Social entrepreneurship is solving the major problems of the world by building sustainable solutions through viable social enterprise business models.

Every organisation must have a strategy statement because ‘if you do not know where you are going, you may attempt to take any existing road which may not lead to your destination’. With a convincing strategy statement, organisations would be able to create a strong value proposition for the services they offer. The statement will enable them to strategically carve a niche for themselves, hence, attracting the right stakeholders to patronise their services.

The strategy statement should have these three elements below;

Goal: The goal is a high-level statement that outlines what exactly you want to achieve, with a clearly stated deadline. In other words, it is something that can be tangibly achieved.

Scope: The scope refers to the products and services an organisation plans to offer over a specific period and indicates where and to which target audience they will be sold.

Advantage: The advantage talks about the unique features of an organisation and the values that are perceived by the targeted audience as significant and superior to the competition.

How to develop a strategy statement for an organisation

It is possible to have two organisations with similar vision and mission statements. This can easily be so because these two, respectively, respond to the questions attributed to where the organisation wants to be and why they exist.  Therefore, to create a distinction between one organisation from another, the strategy statement plays a key role by clearly articulating the goals, scope and unique competitive advantage of the organisation. These, embodied in the strategy statement, can make the organisation stand out.

The goal: The strategy statement explains the goal that you want to achieve over some time time. This goal must be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound (SMART).

For example, you cannot say “you seek to grow profitably” because profit and growth are not the same so you need to be clear on which of them you want to choose so that it can help in decision making) and this makes up the objective element of a strategy statement.

The scope, on the other hand, can be in 3 dimensions they are;

The targeted audience referring to the people you are providing the solution for.

The geographical location which explains where and how the community or the environmental impact is located.

Vertical integration explains how much you are willing to do tasks that can be outsourced to other service providers. For example, this can be demonstrated by your willingness to handle the logistics for your programmes instead of outsourcing them.

The advantage is the value proposition of the organisation. This is a very crucial element of the strategy statement. It has two dimensions.

The first is the beneficiary value proposition. A strategy statement should explain why a beneficiary should buy your product or service. The second part is what captures the unique activities that allow your initiative alone to deliver that beneficiary value proposition.

In summary, a strategy statement can be represented as STRATEGY STATEMENT = GOAL + SCOPE + ADVANTAGE.

I would end this by giving the strategy statement of a popular company in the business world – Edward Jones. Their strategy statement at a point in their business was; “To grow up to 17,000 financial advisers by 2012 by offering trusted and convenient face to face financial advice to conservative individual investors who delegate their financial decisions, through a national network of one financial adviser offices”.

If you carefully look at this statement it explains;

The objective; which is to grow up to a certain number by a particular year.

The scope; which refers to conservative individual investors.

The value proposition; is to offer trusted and convenient face to face financial advice.

How they want to uniquely achieve it: they want to achieve this by using the national network of one financial adviser offices.

I think social entrepreneurs in Africa should begin to think of developing strategy statements for their organisations because their major competition (for-profit business) already have these structures in place. For social entrepreneurship to thrive in West Africa it must possess a great strategy to be able to compete.

 

NOTE: Opinion expressed in this article are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of the West Africa Civil Society Institute.

About the author

Erioluwa Adeyinka is from Nigeria. He is passionate about providing world-class solutions that meet the realities of communities through education, leadership and capacity building. He works with AIESEC in Nigeria as the National Project Manager. He volunteers with few community-based organisations in Nigeria, Ghana and Tanzania as a strategist and adviser. He has worked on various projects in the areas of education, capacity building and has been able to reach out to 3000 individuals within the age range of 6 to 20 years. He seeks to fully pursue a career in international education and community development with the sole aim of solving challenges in communities across Africa.

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Erioluwa Adeyinka

Erioluwa Adeyinka is from Nigeria. He is passionate about providing world-class solutions that meet the realities of communities through education, leadership and capacity building. He works with AIESEC in Nigeria as the National Project Manager. He volunteers with few community-based organisations in Nigeria, Ghana and Tanzania as a strategist and adviser. He has worked on various projects in the areas of education, capacity building and has been able to reach out to 3000 individuals within the age range of 6 to 20 years. He seeks to fully pursue a career in international education and community development with the sole aim of solving challenges in communities across Africa.

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FIIFI BOATENG

Fiifi is a Ghanaian and currently serves as Communications and Information Officer at the West Africa Civil Society Institute. He joined the Institute in December 2020.

NANCY KANKAM KUSI

Nancy is a Ghanaian and currently serves as Programme Officer in the Knowledge Management unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute. She joined the Institute in January 2021.

AGNES ADWOA ANIMA

Agnes is a Ghanaian and currently serves as Head of the Administration unit in the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in October 2021.

DORIS ODEI

Doris holds a Bachelor of Arts in Social sciences (Economics and Sociology) from the University of Cape Coast. She is passionate about impacting young lives hence co-founded Impart Foundation. A non-profit organization which seeks to empower young lives through education, technology and entrepreneurship.

PRINCE AKOWUAH

Prince Akowuah is a Ghanaian and currently the Programme Assistant in the Translation Unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in 2020.

MAXWELL APENTENG

Maxwell Apenteng is a Ghanaian and joined WACSI in September 2010. He provides gardening and janitorial services at the Institute.

GEORGE ADU-MINTAH

George Adu-Mintah is a Ghanaian and currently the Protocol Assistant/Driver at the West Africa Civil Society (WACSI). He joined the Institute in October 2006.

IBRAHIM KWAKU GBADAGO

Ibrahim Kwaku Gbadago is a Ghanaian. He joined the Institute in 2008 and provides janitorial services and assisting the institute's errands. Before joining the Institute, he worked at the Palestinian embassy in Accra, Ghana.

RUTH YAKANA

Ruth Yakana is from Cameroon and currently the Receptionist at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in 2020.

BETHEL KWAME BOATENG

Bethel is a Ghanaian. He provides technical and IT related support to the Institute. He joined the Institute in October 2006.

WHITNAY SEGNONNA

Whitnay Segnonna holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Management from the University of Benin. With 2 years of experience, she has a strong knowledge of organizational and project management. Combined with her bilingualism, she is very passionate about her work. She joined WACSI as Project Assistant on Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) for the Capacity Development Unit.

STELLA YAWA WOWOUI

Stella Yawa Wowoui holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Translation Studies. She has a perfect grasp of both French and English, as well as an intermediate level in Spanish. She is currently working as a Project Assistant on the Techsoup Project.

KWAME ASANTE

Kwame is an experienced IT Consultant/Software Developer. He is skilled in Web Applications Development, Digital Security, Database Management, Digital Marketing and Brand Management. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Information Technology and is a Microsoft Programme Alumni. He is currently serving as a Marketing and IT Officer on the Techsoup Project.

GRACE AKPENE ZIGGAH

Grace Akpene Ziggah is a Togolese and currently the Logistics Officer and also assists in administration duties at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in June 2009.

LILLIAN DAFEAMEKPOR

Lilian Dafeamekpor is a Ghanaian and currently the Assistant to the Executive Director at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in 2020.

JOHN P. FRINJUAH

John P. Frinjuah has expertise and interests in civil society, international development, democracy and governance, conflict, crisis, and security. He has extensive experience working with civil society and international development organizations where he supported and managed research, programmes, and provided technical assistance on a variety of themes around public policy, governance, and development. He is an alumnus of the University of Ghana and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy - Tufts University in the United States, with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from two institutions respectively. John speaks English, French and several Ghanaian and regional West Africa languages.

GERVIN CHANASE

Gervin has extensive international development experience, including 5 years of policy advocacy and capacity building of grass root organisations. He has implemented over the years a combination of agriculture value chain, livelihood, food security and governance and rights programmes.
Prior to joining WACSI, Gervin worked on two USAID projects focusing on agriculture value chain development and governance in northern Ghana
Gervin holds a master’s degree in development & Governance from the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany as well as a Masters in Global Studies from the Universities of Vienna (Austria), Leipzig (Germany) and California (Santa Barbara), USA. He is passionate social justice and inclusion.

LEANDRE BANON

Leandre Banon, Beninese, joined WACSI in September 2014 as Capacity Development Programme Assistant. Since then, he has worked in various units within the Institute to support operational and institutional capacity strengthening programmes for civil society in the region. Currently serving as Capacity Development Programme Officer at WACSI, his main responsibilities involve designing, planning, implementing and monitoring capacity development programmes for civil society constituents and grouping across the West Africa. Leandre is a certified Change the Game Academy Programme Trainer. His background lies in the areas of economics and development planning.

SAMUEL APPIAH

Samuel Appiah is a Ghanaian and currently the Programme Officer in the Finance and Administrative Unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). He joined the Institute in May, 2016.

JIMM CHICK FOMUNJONG

Jimm Chick Fomunjong, Cameroonian, joined WACSI in May 2018 as the Head of the Knowledge Management and Communication Units of the Institute. He has over ten years’ experience as a journalist and a development communications expert. He has a vast experience in supporting African organisations to strengthen their internal and external communications, building and sustaining relationships with the media and, leveraging on the power of social media to promote their mission. He is also excellent at supporting organisations to set up and operationalise functional communications and knowledge management systems. He has a deep passion and expertise in supporting Africans and African civil society organisations to document their praxis, share and learn from experiences documented from the African civil society sector.

FRANCK A. SOMBO

Franck Sombo is a development practitioner with the drive to lead self and others to influence productivity and efficiency. His work involves supporting organisations to develop strategic plans, design monitoring and evaluation systems, develop and use relevant performance measurement tools to track progress, assess organizational growth and institutionalise learning. Franck has eight years of experience working with WACSI where he currently serves as the Head, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning. His academic qualifications include Masters in Organisations’ and Projects’ Management, and in Business Sciences and a High National Diploma in Finance and Accounting.

Franck is a Fellow of the International Program for Development Evaluation Training (IPDET) and a graduate of the Graduate Training Institute (GTI) - Ghana with specialization in Strategic Management and Corporate Leadership. He has a rich experience in Project Management, Capacity Development, Strategic planning, Data Analytics, Monitoring and Evaluation, Training and Facilitation, Mentoring and Coaching among others.

OMOLARA T. BALOGUN

Omolara is a development practitioner and advocacy strategist with over 10 years progressive experience in development programming targeted at strengthening civil society in West Africa. She joined WACSI in November 2009 as an Advocacy Consultant. And later became the first Policy Advocacy Officer in 2010 and Head of Policy Influencing and Advocacy unit in 2015. As head, she offers strategic direction to the institutes’ ambitions to connect and convene groups of organized and organic civil society actors; and influence regional and global discourses on crosscutting policy issues including—civil society regulations, sustainable development goals, civic space and enabling environment, aid effectiveness, gender equality.


Previously, Omolara served as a Service Development Marshal at TVQ Consulting Group, a customer service firm focused on designing strategic customer relationship and business growth plans for private and public financial institutions in Nigeria. She also served as a Programmes Associate with the Women in Peace and Security Network-Africa where she teamed up to design and implement two programmes on—multidimensional peace support operations and gender mainstreaming in security sector reform in Ghana, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

KWABENA KRODUAH

Kwabena Kroduah is a Ghanaian and currently heads the Finance Unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). He joined the Institute in January 2008.

CHARLES KOJO VANDYCK

Charles currently serves as the Head of the Capacity Development Unit at the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). Charles has over 10 years of experience working in international development and social justice issues in Africa. Charles has expertise in strengthening civil society and public agencies including the design and implementation of governance and leadership programmes, development of knowledge pieces and policy advice. Charles was the founding Board Chair of Innovation for Change (i4C)-Hub Afrique, as well as the founding member of the International Consortium on Closing Civic Space (iCon), an initiative of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington DC. Charles currently serves as the Member of the Governing Board (Coordination Collective) of Africans Rising. He is a Member of the Development Studies Association, United Kingdom. Charles is a 2017 Stanford University Fellow for Nonprofit Leaders and a certified Change the Game Resource Mobilisation Trainer.

NANA ASANTEWA AFADZINU

Nana Afadzinu is a Ghanaian and currently serves as the Executive Director of the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI). She joined the Institute in October 2010.