May 10, 2024

#6 - “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” - Leonardo da Vinci

Typically, it is the role of the CEO of a company to determine the strategic direction and to identify the top three priorities which must be accomplished in the year.  And then, most importantly, the CEO must focus their energy on helping the company achieve these three things without getting bogged down in the day-to-day operational challenges, staffing problems, client issues, finance, and so on.     If the company makes significant strides on the three chosen priorities, then the year has been useful.

In a sense, this is about focus and simplifying the essence of what needs to be accomplished...   "The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” - - Hans Hofmann, abstract artist.

With so many millions of Canadians in need, and a collapsing environment, what is necessary?    If we had a sector CEO and a sector strategic plan, I propose that the three most important initiatives to advance for the sector should be:  

(1) Encourage greater generosity (in all forms). That is, bring in more resources

(2) More staff in the sector to deliver charitable services.

(3) improve efficiency in how charities perform.

(I recognize that another key strategic issue would to reduce demand for charitable services, but I feel this is beyond the power of the charity sector. Reducing demands is on the shoulders of politicians via changes in labour codes, environmental laws, immigration policies, investment in productivity gains, better health care, and so on).

And if there is any doubt, other important things like D.E.I., better data measurement, clarification of legal definitions of charity, better governance, trust, and so on, are secondary.  

To put this frankly, the homeless person living on the street is not co concerned about the governance, representation, measurement, and operations of the charity helping them to survive each day.   They just need results.

Please do not get me wrong.  I recognize and appreciate the good work which many organizations are doing for these secondary initiatives. They are important.  It is just that these are not the most important strategic priorities.  It often feels to me our sector is prioritizing these secondary things while we are not doing enough for the biggest strategic issue:  A growing charity gap.  - I am not so sure we are “eliminating the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak”.  

In my search for a ‘sector strategic plan’, I concluded that we do not have one! And when I asked those who might know, they confirmed it.  

We need to develop a strategic plan to address the growing charity gap in Canada, and to optimize and guide our priorities. I will talk more about a sector strategic plan soon.

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