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Have your say on ACEVO’s new strategy

A narrated version of this blog is available at the bottom of the page

ACEVO’s current three-year strategy was launched in 2018 and ‘runs out’ at the end of March 2021. The Covid-19 pandemic interrupted the schedule for developing our new strategy, so the board has agreed that 2021-22 will be a transition year leading into the launch of a new three-year strategy from April 2022 to March 2025.

The development process for the new strategy process is being carried out in three phases:

  • Understanding where we are now
  • Agreeing where we want to get to
  • Working out how to get there.

We are developing the new strategy in consultation with trustees, the staff team and our members.

Our current strategy is based on five pillars:

Inspiration: Our ambition is to showcase good leadership within civil society to inspire by example

Support: Our ambition is for civil society leaders to feel supported and connected through their membership

Connection: Our ambition is to build our network of civil society leaders to enable peer support and widen the reach of our service

Advocacy: Our ambition is for our policy work to amplify the voices of our members and represent their interests

Skills: Our ambition is for ACEVO to develop the skills and competencies of civil society leaders

As a result of our development process so far, we will be retaining our current vision and purpose (possibly with some minor tweaks to wording):

Our vision is to see civil society leaders make the biggest possible difference.

Our purpose: Together with our network, we inspire and support civil society leaders by providing connections, advocacy and skills.

Our strategy review and analysis of opportunities and challenges for the future has led us to the conclusion that the outcomes in ACEVO’s current theory of change remain necessary and sufficient. They are that we want to ensure civil society CEOs:

  • Are equipped to run effective organisations
  • Can access the tools, skills and knowledge to improve professionally
  • Are connected with people and organisations that can provide them with practical support
  • Receive support to help them maintain good emotional health and wellbeing
  • Operate in a supportive and enabling environment
  • Are connected with people that inspire them.

and that

  • Potential supporters, donors, beneficiaries, and volunteers trust and value civil society.

We are also committed to explicitly integrating our equity, diversity and inclusion goals into our next organisational strategy.

We are hosting a series of online discussions to talk through our strategy development with groups of members selected randomly from our membership, but I also want to give all members the opportunity to feed into the process. The key questions we’d like your thoughts on are:

  1. What should be unique about each of these aspects of ACEVO’s offer to members?
    • Supporting members with “headspace” for long term thinking / considering major strategic issues
    • Supporting members with “business as usual” issues
    • Supporting members in a crisis
    • Your development as a leader
  2. Considering ACEVO’s advocacy/policy/public affairs role:
    • To what extent do you think priorities for ACEVO’s advocacy work should be determined by the membership?
    • Looking ahead over the next few years, is there anything in particular that you would like ACEVO to prioritise in its advocacy/public affairs work? Why?
    • How challenging should ACEVO be with its members in its ‘leading the leaders’ role?
  3. What should ACEVO’s role be in articulating what social sector leadership looks like?
  4. What role should ACEVO have in promoting the image of civil society and its CEOs overall, including ensuring the sector is still seen as relevant by future generations? What aspects should ACEVO focus on?
  5. Any other thoughts about priorities for ACEVO’s new strategy?

If you would like to contribute your thoughts on any or all of these questions, please drop an email to by Thursday 4 March. I look forward to hearing from you, and to sharing our new strategy with you at the end of the process.

Narrated by a member of the ACEVO staff

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