NGOs usually have a very clear mission. In addition, a thorough strategic plan is needed to be able to make clear choices for the coming years. We helped Fairtrade International developing their strategy.
Fairtrade International consists of many small, national organizations. The company also works with a large group of smaller producers and producer organisations. Quite a challenge to reach alignment all together; all the more important to have a clear direction. Together with consultancy firm SRI, specialized in strategy design for NGOs, we have devised a process to develop a strong and flexible strategy.
Extensive process with all parties
All stakeholders were involved in the strategy design process. While it may seem impossible to involve so many people in the decision-making process, communicating each step clearly keeps this large and diverse audience engaged. Visual support in this process ensures that all issues and challenges become clear, for everyone.
Fairtrade International spent a year shaping their strategy. It was our job to visually support this process. We did this in all sorts of ways: from methods for the management sessions, to devising personas and scenarios and recording all output for the broader target group.
Stop and think
Even though people are busy running an organization and are swayed by the issues of the day, it is extremely important to pause every now and then and recalibrate your course. A strategic plan helps to understand capabilities, trends, problems and resources. Fairtrade International’s in-depth, participatory stakeholder dialogue resulted in important insights into the relevance, impact, effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability of the organization.
In several sessions we gathered insights into the most important existing and future trends and how Fairtrade is viewed externally. Everything was thoroughly tackled, with literature research plus trend analysis in the political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental fields. And simultaneously global and regional surveys, interviews, focus groups and thematic meetings and meetings.
Together you are stronger
Fairtrade wants to help strengthen the position of small-scale farmers. Joining forces is the first, indispensable step in that process. Fairtrade therefore works with organisations, never with individual farmers. And if collaboration is your strength, it is of course also essential in determining your strategy. The development and validation of the strategy was therefore done with different groups of stakeholders.
First of all, we examined all the different target groups and parties. Developing a persona provides in-depth knowledge of your target audience. It is precisely the goals, motivations and frustrations that are important to fully understand the persona and thus be able to make more targeted choices. All findings were relevant to develop four scenarios, which were examined, revised and improved.
Scenarios make the future imaginable
When looking for answers and determining a course for the coming years, many uncertain factors come across everyone’s path. The trick is not to run away from these uncertainties, but to try to imagine them so that you can take them into account when determining the strategy. Which early warning signals should you pay attention to to see in which direction your market is developing?
Four carefully thought-out scenarios give an idea of which direction Fairtrade can take. Flatland grasped these in drawings, so that people can imagine such a world even better.
Creating scenarios is step one, choosing a strategy and formulating actions are necessary next steps. What strategic options does the organization have in each of the scenarios and which ones will you actually be working with? What do you want to do now to be well prepared for the future? Very relevant questions that turned out to be extra useful a few months later.
We are proud to have been part of the process that has delivered Fairtrade International a strategy that, in their own words: “Given us the flexibility to respond to a crisis that no one could have foreseen at the time: the Covid crisis.”
Would you like to know more about this project? Contact Vera, she will be happy to tell you about it.Email
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