Lasting organisational transformation—Testimonial by Buffelshoek Trust

By Julia Levin, CEO: Buffelshoek Trust

Following this interaction, our organisation has undergone such a fundamental change in our ability to take responsibility for how we either hold ourselves back or allow ourselves to flourish.

 

Buffelshoek Trust logoAs a small NGO with limited financial and human resources that were already oversubscribed to our many needy beneficiaries, the Buffelshoek Trust has been caught for the last ten years between the need to train and develop our staff and the need to spend every last cent on the communities we serve.

This cycle of “busyness” and “always put the beneficiaries first” eventually led us to a space in which staff were burnt out, our financial reserves were running low and our beneficiaries were suffering.

We decided to make our first investment into organisation-wide staff development and with the little funds we had, we sought to find the best services our money could buy. We also decided to focus on Project Management as the key skill that all staff members could improve on, as we noticed efficiency and effectiveness was no longer our middle name.

We were able to contract the ProjectManagement.co.za team to provide us with an intensive weekend workshop and then a 6-week follow-up programme of online learning and telephonic coaching. This process was the most intensive, organisation-changing activity we have ever participated in and we got so much more than project management training.

Intensive customised Project Management workshop

During the intervention we learned to think beyond our daily limitations, truly commit to our work (through committing to our staff first and then building a culture of commitment to the organisation and its beneficiaries) and be honest with ourselves as to what was truly holding us back—not money, or time, but critical thinking and commitment!

After 6 weeks we reached a critical point in our training at which the organisation was now fully aware of the cracks in all aspects of our functioning as an organisation, and prepared with some basic ground rules, universal truths and good habits to allow us to take the work forward even though our budget was used up. During the 6-week process we had to face up to many difficult truths about ourselves as an organisation, but we also had to face up to our true potential.

Customised graph used to track individual participation during an exercise collaboratively devised to create team alignment prior to the Workshop.

Following this interaction, our organisation has undergone such a fundamental change in our ability to take responsibility for how we either hold ourselves back or allow ourselves to flourish.

We have improved our relationships with donors, with communities, with each other, and have taken some long overdue risks to shake things up for long-term success. From a cycle of planning quarterly, we have now entered a phase of thinking along 20-year time frames, and we are looking to the future with excitement.

Julia and Hamilton of Buffelshoek Trust at the Intensive Workshop conducted by ProjectManagent.co.za

While we still have many many areas in which we could do with additional training and support, and we hope to raise sufficient funds to continue on our journey with ProjectManagement.co.za. Even this short journey we have already walked together has given us the skills, language and vision to be a better, more positive and sustainable NGO.

Thank you so much to Marius, Tania and the team for your ongoing commitment and support for our growth.

Tania Melnyczuk

Director of Programme Design at ProjectManagement.co.za.