Last week, we had a mostly face-to-face Secretariat team meeting. Five of us gathered at Grosvenor Gardens and Bill joined in by web from Victoria. Our team is rather disbursed so getting together in person is fairly rare. A precious opportunity to focus combined energies on driving INTO forwards.
We all enjoyed catching up and had some good discussions and debates. Again, incredibly useful to do this in real time and I’m so grateful to everyone for finding the time to make this happen.
Touching base on what is really important to an organisation is vital. The INTO Board had done this in Bali so it was great to do the same with the Secretariat volunteers. It can be surprising how many different opinions exist if you don’t have this conversation from time to time!
We talked about the priorities for next year under our four strategies: Family; Growth; Voice and Strength. We also talked about the resources we needed to achieve our plans under each of these. (We currently use the OGSP planning tool – the S is for Strategies and the P is for Plans.)
We talked about the improvements we can make. What would have the biggest impact on our ability to deliver? The team felt that INTO’s strength lies in the knowledge and skills of its member organisations. We wanted to prioritise projects that enable the sharing of this vital resource. Our big idea was a focussed programme to help get some of the smallest Trusts property established. With fantastic processes, resources, governance etc. This might involve visits (inward and outward) with other INTO members, mentoring, IT support or training. In general, the team felt that our biggest successes have been built on personal hand-holding.
The early visits made by Oliver in Africa, for example, are still reaping rewards. A little travel budget and a bit of Secretariat volunteer capacity can go a long way. We plan to present this to the INTO Board later this month. A good way of measuring success might be the number of Trusts moving from Candidate to Member status.
The team talked about processes and communications within the Secretariat. It’s difficult with a spread-out group of volunteers but we agreed to get better at sharing information with each other. We’re going to use the website more to store information. And I am going to make sure our Secretariat Report to the Board has a wider distribution. We also agreed to have more team input into the OGSP in future. And clearer responsibilities.
There is always a danger of great things happening within a team or organisation that go unseen and therefore un-thanked. We spoke about our proudest achievements in the context of INTO’s forthcoming 10th anniversary and gave ourselves a pat on the back! I began a list in my last blog and now have the following to add: 115 working holidays; 5 pairs of mentors in the new pilot; 5 websites; 7 COPs; awareness of the importance of heritage in our 73 members’ countries … One of the things I’m very proud of is the volunteer Secretariat team and INTO’s capacity to involve volunteers.
Many different people volunteer their time to support us in different ways – from our office based volunteers in the UK to our volunteer travelling consultants. From our volunteer board to the volunteers who participate in our working holidays. INTO really does embody the social principles of the Victorian founders of the National Trust movement!
INTO’s achievements are the results of the combined efforts of every individual. You are terrifically tireless; exceptionally excellent; abundantly appreciated and magnificent beyond words. So glad you’re part of our TEAM!
Oliver is now in Bonn presenting the work of INTO member organisations in climate change mitigation, adaptation and education. Do check out his blogs from COP 23. Bearing that in mind, I’m going to finish with a quote from Goethe “Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do”.
Thanks for reading!
(And thanks to BPPI for the lovely photos from Bali shared last week!)