As 2019 approaches, it is a good time to think about some New Year Resolutions for your charity. It is difficult to plan a long-term strategy with the current Brexit shambles yet think long-term you must.Here are some thoughts of things that both the trustees and management team need to consider

As always look at your current 3-year plan. If it is due to finish this year and you haven’t started on the next one, then speed is of the essence. If you are in the middle of the cycle, then now is a good time for and interim assessment of what you have achieved and where you need to tweak it

Where are you in the cycle with your professional advisors? When was the last time you considered the work of your lawyers, your accountants, your investment advisors etc.? How have they been performing? Are they delivering what they promised and when they promised? How are your investments performing in a volatile stock market compared to the bench marks agreed with the advisors when appointed?

Do you employ staff? Are your HR policies and procedures up to date? When was the last time you reviewed your contracts of employment or had them reviewed by an HR professional?

If you are VAT registered and particularly if you are partially exempt, you should be getting your VAT reviewed on a cyclical basis, particularly if you have new sources of income. If these sources have changed significantly make this a new year priority if you have not had it reviewed in the last three years. If you have a major capital project planned, make sure it is VAT efficient.

If you are a small charity with plans to expand by trading, consider the need for a trading subsidiary. It may not be necessary depending on the extent of trading but take advice anyway.

I have seen several charities this year where risk assessment has fallen down the pecking order. not ignore this, particularly if by virtue of your supply chain, your staffing and particularly your major donors you are at risk because of Brexit

And finally, Governance. Make sure your governance procedures are up to date with regular meetings, good quality reporting including minutes as well as an Annual Away Day to concentrate on Strategy and strategic matters so at least one meeting a year is not gummed up by day to day concerns

I very much appreciate the support and kind comments I have received this year on my blogs and charity newsletters and of course if I can help in any way please contact me. Remember the initial meeting is always at no cost to you.

With Seasonal Greetings to you and your Charity and best wishes for 2019