Specialist Business Support
Strategic Planning, Fundraising, Marketing, and Finance – these all work better when looked at in advance. However, we know it can be hard to prioritise, or even know where to start. That is where the Business Support Service here at Community Action Suffolk can help, and that help can look different depending what you need.
If you are in the early stages of thinking what you would like to do with your organisation, what legal set-up to choose, how to register and more, you can get lots of information at The Charity Commission website.
If you need help around Governance, Trustees and Policies, then check out our Governance and Organisation Support.
You can also find lots of useful tools and articles in the NCVO Knowledge Bank.
The resources above are a great place to start. To take things to the next step, or talk through your strategy or plan, then why not book one of our Planning and Strategy Surgeries, click here for available dates.
Up and Running
There are so many online resources open to you. Some of our favourites include
- Love a podcast? Suffolk ProHelp have a brand new podcast. You can find them in conversation with their network of professionals and the community organisations they have helped, as well as question and answer sessions around a range of themes which draw on the expertise of their network. Subscribe on Spotify and usual podcast channels here. To find out more about Suffolk ProHelp and how they support organisations across Suffolk everyday, visit Suffolk ProHelp.
- NCVO offer lots of support and this section of the website will guide you through how to develop your strategic options – from your plan, to a SWOT and keeping your mission in mind. Check out the different tools and guidance available on the NCVO Knowhow.
- Cranfield Trust provides free business skills to help build successful charities across the UK. Some organisations are even able to benefit from their Management Consultancy Service, check out their website for more information.
- Check out a great article about collaboration and how charities can benefit from working together on the Charity Connect website.
- If you are looking for local not for profit partners for a bid, commercial arrangement, resource sharing or simply sharing experience you can search on the Charity Commission register
- Why not check out our Webinars? Covering topics so far such as HR, Strategy and Digital Resources, you can see both those that have passed and those coming up here.
- Covid-19 response and recovery – Giles Kerkham from MHA Larking Gowen Accountants has recorded a short presentation around business continuity and resilience which is very useful. Our most recent sector survey showed that over 70% of charities who responded did not have a business continuity plan. Click to see our surveys.
- You can also use our CAS Healthcheck. This is a useful tool which helps both us and you, to see where you are currently and so figure out the best plan of action. Why not spend 5 minutes doing the Healthcheck anyway – the result might surprise you!
If you are looking for tailored support, you can arrange a chat with our Specialist Business Support Officer, Sabrina Ward.
“I love my role here at Community Action Suffolk. It is exciting for me to meet and help so many organisations on a one to one basis. In the past I was a Business Adviser for Business Link and worked helping businesses with tasks such as strategy, diagnosing issues and signposting external support. I also specialised in training and development – working with people to maximise their full potential. Since Business Link ended, I have worked for Suffolk Constabulary and Menta as a Business Trainer. My favourite part of the role is meeting the people behind the organisation and helping them to find the way forward that is best for them.”
Sabrina works in several ways.
- Up to half a day (total time – can be taken over multiple appointments) of business and strategy support. Review a plan, discuss your organisation’s strategy or use Sabrina as a sounding board for ideas – working with individuals or groups, including trustee boards. Email Sabrina.email@example.com for more information. This time is currently funded and so available free to organisations across Suffolk.
- Delivering our Introduction to Business Planning and Leadership and Management Training Courses both in person and virtually (courses for individuals start at £10 per person) – check out our Business Development Training courses.
- Bespoke Training Courses including topics such as strategy, management skills, cashflow forecasting, social media basic marketing and more (please contact us for a quote).
- 60 minute ‘Surgeries’ – these take place via Phone or Microsoft Teams and give you time to talk through ideas, issues, projects…these can be booked via our events page.
- 1to1 Organisational support – working with you over a course of meetings to guide you through a project, period of change or a complete overhaul of your strategic plan. You need to have sufficient time available to work with us, we will advise and facilitate, rather than taking the work away from you. Support costs £250+ VAT per day. Funding may be available for this type of work; please contact us for more information.
- We can offer advice around using social media and creating a marketing plan, working with you over a period of time to measure your marketing activity and find what works for you.
If your questions are specifically around fundraising or funding and sustainability then you can read more about how CAS can help you here.
When things are going well, or you’re experiencing a period of growth it can be difficult to find the time to plan as it doesn’t seem very high on the list of priorities, but if you build a block of flats with no foundations, the taller it gets the more unstable it will become.
Forming a solid strategic plan becomes more important than ever – it can bring everyone from Trustees to Volunteers (and all in between) on to the same page. Never underestimate the importance of understanding ‘WHY?’ and getting the buy in from those around you.
The process of creating or reviewing your strategic plan is often more useful than the plan itself – just like the journey is more important than the destination. Help everyone to understand your aim’s and objectives, and even a step further – write them together.
At CAS we can be a Critical friend, review your existing plan, guide you in the planning process, even facilitate planning and SWOT sessions during your trustee meetings – getting the best from those around you. Free initial meeting available to decide on the best path for you.
For more information email Sabrina.firstname.lastname@example.org
Sabrina works on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9am-3pm, and will respond to your email at the earliest opportunity.
Follow Sabrina on Twitter @BusinessatCAS
Some organisations may be eligible for the Cranfield Trust ‘Free Mentoring for Charity Leaders’. Check out the website for eligibility and further information.