Strategic Plans – shaping the future

August 7, 2018

Community media unites likeminded people, helping people find their ‘tribe’. Our grants to support business and strategic planning ensure the life-changing work of community media organisations continues well into the future.

Ren from 3MDR kindly shares insights into the success of her station’s three-year Strategic Plan. The 3MDR Unlock the Potential plan has inspired volunteers and listeners about the future of the station (including Paula and Norman featured above).

Why develop a Strategic Plan?

As a community-based organisation, everyone wants a piece of our station. It’s great that the community is so connected with us but it’s challenging as our resources only stretch so far. We found it hard to say ‘no’.

We needed a clear direction – to identify major goals including relocating our station to another building and how we were going to grow our audiences and stay relevant. Most importantly, we needed everyone at the station on the same page, from our committee members to presenters.

How has your Strategic Plan helped?

Our Strategic Plan has delivered positive outcomes for our station. It’s galvanised our team and ensured we’re all travelling in a clear direction.

Our Strategic Plan has been a great communication tool for our volunteers. It’s helped them understand where we’re going, what we want to achieve and how they fit into the bigger picture. Our plan has also been invaluable for new committee members joining our team. They have a clear understanding of our station’s mission, vision and our plan to achieve success.

What was your approach?

We decided to not outsource development. We were lucky to have internal knowledge and experience of Strategic Planning to guide the process. With a little help from a CBF grant, we were able to prepare materials to support the process. Here’s how we approached it.

  1. Preparation phase: established a project team of myself, Tony Bates (presenter with previous experience of Strategic Planning), our Station Manager Phil Ruck and a work experience student. We developed a unique name (‘Unlock the Potential’) and logo for our Strategic Plan to make it interesting and engaging.
  2. Pitch to our committee: developed a PowerPoint presentation detailing our proposed process, the benefits of the plan and identified SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Based) goals.
  3. Community consultation: to gather feedback from members, listeners and volunteers, we hosted community consultation sessions, circulated paper surveys and circulated an online survey via Google Forms. Largely, the results affirmed what we already knew but we were much more confident in our decisions.
  4. Develop a plan: we held a workshop with our committee to develop our vision, mission, strategic goals and action plan. The working documents were managed in Google Docs to consolidate the feedback of multiple people in one location. We also purchased business planning software to help formalise and centralise the plan.
  5. Engage stakeholders: critical to success was getting our volunteers and listeners to embrace the plan and believe in our direction. When the plan was completed, we hosted info sessions for members (largely presenters) – informing them of the plan at a high level. We circulated the plan to all volunteers at the station, uploaded it to our website and have displayed our goals at the station. In an ongoing way, our Strategic Plan is embedded in committee meetings, ensuring our decisions align with our Strategic Plan.
  6. Evolve: our action plan continues to evolve and next year, we’ll evaluate our success and start preparing for the next edition of our Strategic Plan for 2020-23!

Does your station’s Strategic Plan need a refresh, or are you looking to evaluate your station’s governance? Undertake the Community Radio Station Health Check we developed with the CBAA.