Client profile and project

Koala Conservation Australia (KCA) is a leader in the treatment and conservation of Australia’s koala population. The organisation is supported by five paid staff and over 160 dedicated volunteers.  

Since their inception in 1973, KCA’s role has expanded to encompass a range of activities aimed at supporting Australia’s koala population: rescue, rehabilitation and release; habitat acquisition; education; research; and wild koala breeding. 

In August 2020, KCA engaged Spark Strategy (Spark) to codesign and develop their 2021-26 strategic plan. The project was delivered 100% digitally in response to the challenges posed by COVID-19.

Project context

As a result of the catastrophic 2019/20 bushfires and COVID-19 pandemic, Australia’s koala population and KCA were significantly and negatively impacted. In its favour, the organisation was able to leverage funding opportunities arising from the Government and its fundraising activities. As a result, the organisation was left with several critical questions and decisions to make about their future direction. 

Together, Spark and KCA navigated a range of strategic questions that reflected: balancing financial sustainability with its impact aspirations; defining and articulating KCA’s future role, remit and strategic priorities to a wide range of stakeholders; and shifting the organisation towards a commercially-minded and sustainability-focused operation. 

The project and strategic considerations

The strategic planning process comprised of: extensive desk-based research and document review; 1x survey with supporters and partners; 1x focus group with KCA supporters, staff and volunteers; and 2x 3-hour workshops and a further 2x 2-hour workshops with KCA’s Board. 

The following nuances made this project unique: 

  • Being informed by and led by KCA’s supporters and partners in developing the strategy;
  • Articulating KCA’s ambitions and strategies for transitioning from being a small charity to a more business minded organisation to stakeholders; 
  • Balancing KCA’s growth aspirations with the need to be financially viable while factoring in the capacity and capability of its volunteer workforce; 
  • Building the capacity of the organisation to develop a clear long-term action plan; and 
  • Delivering a bespoke series of workshops 100% online.

Despite the challenges brought about by the 2019/20 bushfires and COVID-19, a strategy that balanced growth and organisational sustainability was developed. 


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