Planning for the future
Future foresight involves thinking about likely changes in the external environment and how these trends could affect you. Foresight helps organisations navigate change by giving an early warning of obstacles and opportunities ahead.
We have a range of resources to help you embed foresight into your regular planning work:
- Keep up to date
- Strategic analysis
- A strategic plan
- Future planning tools
- Top drivers for 2020
- Resources by themed topic
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- Read our blog posts to keep up to date with how the world is changing, and get insight into how to plan for the future with our regular.
Change happens. Whatever plans we make, the world around us will have an influence. Identifying how different things affect or might affect your organisation will help you to deal with change, make the most of opportunities and open up choices for the coming years.
This process of looking at your operating environment - also known as strategic analysis - can be used to explore what is going on outside your organisation now, as well as what might happen in the future. It asks two questions:
- How will what’s happening or likely to happen affect your organisation?
- How should you respond?
Find out more about looking out at your operating environment.
A strategic plan sets out how your organisation will move from the present position to the one it aspires to reach by the end of the identified period - usually three to five years. We have a whole section dedicated to strategic planning exploring what strategy actually involves to making the most of the process.
Find out more about strategic planning.
There are a range of tools and techniques to help organisations with strategic thinking from cost benefit to SWOT analysis. In fact, there’s so much choice, it can be quite daunting to decide which ones to use, and when. Our stategic planning tools section introduces some of the tools most widely used by voluntary and community organisations. We’ve suggested which parts of the strategic planning process they could be used for and list some pros and cons to each one.
Find out more about strategic planning tools.
In 2010 NCVO's Third Sector Foresight team hosted an event for infrastructure partners to review the futures work we’ve done together, and gather new intelligence about what they see as being the most important drivers for the civil society sector in 2020. We also invited a couple of futures specialists, including Stephen Aguilar-Millan of the European Futures Observatory to give us a fresh perspective.
- Read a write-up of our thoughts from the day. Download as a PDF.
- View the Prezi Welcome to the Future PEST
- Take a look at our presentation Welcome to the future.
Watch presentation slides from our guest speakers
- William Snagge from Mind
- Stephen Hodgkins and Svetlana Kotova from Disabilty LIB
- Muzahid Khan from Yorkshire and Humber Regional Forum BME Network
This series of guides, written by NCVO Third Sector Foresight, is designed to support small and medium-sized organisations think about likely changes in their external environment and how these trends could affect them.
Each guide focuses on a different topic and provides a ready-made analysis of the future changes we will probably see in the coming years in that particular area. Inside, they pose some strategic questions to help you think through these likely future changes, and how you can prepare for them. Topics covered include funding, volunteers, new technologies, local democracy, social trends and membership.
What will membership be like in 5 years' time?
It's increasingly difficult for organisations to recruit and retain members. But people still want to create social change and feel part of something. How can you tap into this and plan for a strong future for your membership?
Download What will membership look like in 5 year's time (PDF, 3.29MB)
Future planning resources by topic
- What does the future of campaigning look like? Exploring the possibilities social media brings for involving people in creating and shaping campaigns.
- Changing ICT: What will it mean for your organisation?
Advice and support
- Funding and finance
- Coping with cuts
- Addressing needs
- Managing change
- Planning for the future
- Involving people
- Public Service Delivery
- Governance and leadership
- Compact Advocacy programme
- Campaigning and influencing policy
- Collaborative working
- ICT (information and communication technology)
- Climate change
- People, HR and employment