The RSPCA is the largest animal welfare organisation in Europe. It rescues, rehabilitates and rehomes hundreds of thousands of animals each year in England and Wales. The RSPCA also offers advice on caring for all animals, and campaigns to change laws that will protect them, which it enforces through prosecution. But they face the challenge that they don’t have enough money in donations to deliver the services they want to.
This article explains how =mc helped them assess the potential for setting up two earned income businesses to extend their work. It also explains how the business plan created then persuaded a major foundation to invest almost £500K to help set up the ‘social’ businesses.
There were two areas where the RSPA believed there was a market for earned income services:
But they needed more than a belief, and so sent out a tender to some of the UK’s top consultancies to bid for the work. =mc was selected after a rigorous process. This was the first time that =mc had worked with RSPCA.
There were concerns to the new approach – from staff, from managers, from board members and even from some supporters. One key concern was that any scheme had to make additional money over and above the cost – and it had to fit with the RSPCA’s mission.
=mc was asked to do three things over two months:
We undertook a major market survey in both these very different businesses. So in the farm animal welfare space there were a number of individual providers competing locally and off a very low cost base. For the entertainment industry the big competition was the American Society for the Protection of Animals (ASPCA) whose name appears at the end of almost every film involving animals. So the plans had to be very different.
The resulting business plans were distinct but linked. They covered:
Finally, significant time was spent developing a strategy to ensure that the services formed an integral part of a new approach by the RSPCA.
The senior managers and Board at the RSPCA were impressed with the thoroughness of the plan and optimistic about the potential they offered to adopt a new way of delivering on the mission – and raising unrestricted resources to support other work.
Even better news followed when a major foundation offered almost £500K to support the new social businesses.
These businesses are now established and beginning to pay dividends for the RSPCA.
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Clare Segal, Director