Activities are everything you must do to deliver value to your clients and stakeholders. Your activities underpin your Value Proposition and help you to attract clients, maintain client relationships and earn revenue. This guide enables you to identify what activities are critical to support and deliver your services and how to keep this focus.
This knowledge is helpful to not only to understand what needs to be done daily. It also helps you to calculate the cost of your impact.
Defining your high impact activities is an essential part of understanding your service model. Members, funders and stakeholders will also benefit from understanding just what it takes to operate your organisation and achieve outcomes for clients.
List all activities related to service delivery and operations
Generally, activities will fall into two categories:
- Commercial or Operational activities: These are activities needed to deliver commercial value, these may be supporting or secondary activities in not for profit organisations.
- Impact activities: These are activities needed to deliver impact value to clients, stakeholders and the community.
Start by brainstorming a list of unique or individual aspects of your organisation including services, assets, resources, policies, culture and processes.
Next, identify the most critical activities that set your organisation’s Value Proposition apart from others. Then ask yourself - how do we deliver this?
Use a cause and effect tree or activity map to draw the cause and effect through several layers. Do the same for each of the benefits of your Value Proposition (Refer to How to create a compelling Value Proposition (Mission Statement) for more info). Make sure you take note of any common elements. It can help to do this as a team exercise, bringing in people from different parts of your organisation.
Align activities to your Value Proposition (Mission)
Activities can grow organically over time, a key challenge for not for profit organisations is ‘mission creep’. Many legacy activities may provide a sense of engagement and purpose for staff and volunteers. However, when you’re operating within a competitive market system such as the NDIS, these activities may not be funded. You may wish to consider if they could be provided more efficiently by other organisations. Just because you can deliver a service, doesn’t mean you should offer it.
Review all your current activities against your Mission. What are the vital activities you undertake to deliver to your clients? What actions provide value to the organisation and ensure continued viability?
Use a simple Stop, Start, continue tool to identify the impact of these activities and how to ensure they are more balanced.
Decide whether your activities complementary or opposing
Key activities may be complementary or opposing. Some activities may challenge the balance between commercial viability and value delivery – for example, the provision of sustainable services to clients in regional and remote areas. You will need to problem-solve these conflicts so that they become balanced or can at least co-exist sustainably.
Ask yourself - what are the complementary activities? Can we make these complementary activities more efficient?
What oppositional activities are there? How can we make these more balanced?
How do I use the Key Activities building block of the Business Model Canvas?
Business model design for Social Enterprises