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Project Highlight: Development of the Heart Support Australia Strategic Plan

Heart Support Australia engaged Sustineo in 2018 to develop a strategic plan to strengthen the organisation and develop and grow its program reach and financial sustainability. Heart Support Australia has been in operation for over 28 years as the national body providing support, services, and information for people living with a heart condition. Its programs and services aim to prevent secondary heart events through psychosocial support and assistance, reducing behavioural and lifestyle risk factors to prevent the progression of heart disease.

With an established network of 15 branches across Australia and trained volunteers providing a range of programs to support and assist people living with a heart condition, a strong and contextually appropriate strategic plan is key to the organization’s future success.

The Sustineo team took a collaborative and consultative approach to the development of a practical strategic plan. The initial steps included a review of key documents to analyse Heart Support Australia’s internal and external environment, followed by participatory engagement with senior executives and the Board to identify key objectives. Working in collaboration with the CEO, Sustineo developed the overall framework for the strategic plan and designed and facilitated a planning workshop with the Board. Through this workshop the Sustineo team clarified Heart Support Australia’s future directions and identified key elements of the Strategic Plan and an associated performance framework to guide Heart Support Australia over the next three years.

The final Strategic Plan clarified Heart Support Australia’s role and vision for the future, highlighted clear priorities for Heart Support Australia’s work, and provided practical indicators to measure progress and performance. Importantly, the Plan also provided guidance for Heart Support Australia to reposition itself and focus on strengthening its program offerings, governance, and financial sustainability moving forward. The combination of analysis, engagement with stakeholders, and iterative development was key to the success of this project.

Sustineo’s team brought a deep understanding of the Not for Profit sector, as well as the complex role and operations of health sector peak bodies. These insights enabled the development of a Strategic Plan aligned to the needs and context of Heart Support Australia’s work. In addition, through its collaborative and iterative approach, Sustineo was able to provide practical support and advice that contributed to building Heart Support Australia’s capacity in planning and performance measurement, including in relation to implementation of the Strategic Plan and related activities such as organisational development and annual work planning.

Sustineo continues to provide ongoing pro bono strategy and governance advice to Heart Support Australia.

Further information

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