Institutional strengthening of organizations can only be done through a holistic approach to improvement.
The most important factor for a successful organization is to establish a clear strategy and define focus
areas. Such a strategy addresses the key questions, such as:
What is the organization’s vision and mission? What is the organization’s current level of development?
How will the organization achieve their goals? Those aspects are dealt with in the Strategic Plan. Generally,
there are 7 complementary topics which build the framework the development of REEEA-Alliance Strategy
Plan 2021-2023. They are highlighted below:
Fig 7: Seven topics building the Strategic Plan for REEEA-Alliance
REEEA-Alliance was formed to advocate the interests of their members towards the government; therefore, members are the foundation of an organization. Without its membership the organization has no legitimacy to exist. The vision, mission and associational development are constructed around the needs and demands of its members to support them and to create a strong membership base. Additionally, members are also a resource upon for the organization to implement its activities.
For REEEA- Alliance to be a successful organization, it must be effectively led, efficiently managed and governed in ways that promote transparency and earn the members’ full trust in the organization’s secretariat and staff. Governance, leadership and administration are the key aspects under this topic. A successful management decides on the processes, procedures, human and financial resources that need to be applied in the implementation of its activities.
The REEEA-Alliance has to strive towards self-sustainability: This means, that the internal organizational structure with its office and staff can be financed through its projects and activities, without relying on donor funding, this includes the organization’s growth projection with regard to human resources and a continuously developing service portfolio. Finance sources that fall under this category include membership fees, service fees and project-specific funding, either pro-actively directly mobilized or through bidding. Generally, donor funding of an organization’s structure (without being related to specific activities) should be avoided. An exception is a young organization, which can receive donor funding during the initial phase of the establishment of the organization.
Marketing & Communication
Communication includes INTERNAL and EXTERNAL communication: The internal communication is important to establish transparency and, thus, confidence in the governance and management of the organization. For this purpose, the “top-down” communication e.g. on the financial situation (how revenues are spent), on certain decision-making processes and on the progress of implementation of projects & activities must be conclusive. Equally important is the “bottom-up” communication. As mentioned under topic 1 Membership: “Members are the foundation of the organization”, therefore it is of utmost importance, that efficient communication channels exist that allow for the members to be heard, and that the organization is capable to analyze their members views and/or concerns, and that those ideas are taken into consideration and possibly included in either the advocacy or the service portfolios.
Internal and External Communication
The external communication is about positioning the REEEA-Alliance towards external stakeholders such as government and its authorities, foreign stakeholders such as donors and foreign industry associations and companies etc. The external communication is a kind of marketing, for the organization itself and for the industry and market represented by the REEEA-Alliance.
REEEA-Alliance which came into existence due to advocacy issues aiming at changing laws, regulations, and policies to allow for a more conducive business environment, e.g. advocating for attractive feed-in-tariffs or net-metering. The Alliance will therefore ensure that companies or organizations unite as they understand that working jointly generally has more weight than individual lobbying. Effective advocacy requires the engagement of members, transparent monitoring and reporting on the progress. An advocacy strategy helps to define and structure ideas and arguments and thus contributes effectively to a more conducive political-regulatory environment in the RE/EE market. Such a strategy has to be knowledge-based, i.e. careful analysis of national and international lessons learnt and drawing conclusions, developing concepts and act upon them. For the implementation of the advocacy strategy, a structured engagement with the government and public sector bodies will be pursued by the Alliance. Most relevant stakeholders, their respective interests and influencing power have to be assessed (stakeholder map); on this basis an activity and communication plan has to be elaborated, which shows which stakeholder shall be addressed in which way.
Yet, it is important to note, that a successful advocacy requires a lot of members: more members an organization has, more powerful it gets. However, the improvement of the business environment is of benefit not only for members but also non-members; this implies a free-rider problem and means, that advocacy is not enough for an organization to attract members: Demand-oriented and high quality services play therefore a very critical role to gain and retain members and, thus, to gain the power, which is necessary for the successful advocacy.
REEEA-Alliance members will only remain in the organization and will only be inclined to pay the membership fees if they do see the benefits of being a member. Aside from advocacy the access to demand driven services is one such benefit. A successful organization is capable of offering services that meet or exceed expectations. The strategic and organic development of a service portfolio has to go along with the development of internal knowledge and capacities and has to be in line with a realistic budget and plan to build-up new capacities or it won’t be financially sustainable. The finance of the service has to be realistically budgeted, including the definition of affordable and competitive fees and, if needed, the raise of activity related funds (sponsors etc.), to cover all variable costs but also fixed costs (overhead costs such as own staff costs etc.). Services must be well monitored with respect to outcome, success, and satisfaction of the participants. This is crucial, as only satisfied customers will be ready to pay for the service and talk positively about the association.
Stakeholders are influential external individuals, experts, and organizations that play a key role to the organization and its members. The REEEA-Alliance will develop a stakeholder mapping to build coalitions in order to achieve her objectives.