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The innovative board game that makes NGOs stronger

Are you active in an NGO and in need for a strategic planning tool? Do you want to create a sustainable strategy for your NGO?

Now it’s easier thanks to RePlan, the first board game for NGO strategic planning. It’s not just a useful way to develop you organization, but also a funny one.

Caught your attention by now? Let’s find even more about RePlan from Răzvan Sassu, the coordinator of the team who created this innovative tool.

Răzvan, AYI has just launched the English version of RePlan. Tell us more about this creative tool for NGO strategic planning.

RePlan brings simplicity to making your strategy. It’s a very easy-to-use tool that any NGO in Europe can use to develop their organization, but they can also use it for teambuilding or for organizational learning. We launched it with the standard rules, but we discovered that many NGOs got very flexible and found many new ways of using RePlan according to their needs.

What is the story behind RePlan? What did you have in mind when you start implementing it and who is it for?

In 2015 we started a new EEA Grants-funded project in Bucharest focusing on NGO Development and this was a great opportunity to get in contact with hundreds of staff members and volunteers from over 200 NGOs across Romania. This way we discovered what are the needs of the NGO sector and we found out an enormous potential for learning and development, but also quite a serious lack of skills. NGO education is usually lacking and it’s more of a make-your-own-path context, where everyone has to find their own way or learning and acquiring the skills they need. We talked with many many NGO representatives and we agreed that a board game would be both a useful and fun way to Reflect, Learn and Improve. So we got going and started working.

In 2016, RePlan was created with the help of a great and motivated Romanian team from the Young Initiative Association, as well as other NGOs and federations, but also with the help of some of our EVS volunteers who were at the time in Bucharest for their Service. A few months later it was launched commercially as well, and now over 300 NGOs from Romania are using it with a tremendously positive feedback.

Seeing the large success it had in Romania, we applied for further funding to the EEA Grants / NGO Fund and we managed to translate it to English and Norwegian, launching it officially in Oslo in 2017. We distributed it to about 15 Norwegian NGOs and the feedback was really positive, so we decided to launch it commercially across the European Union.

For NGO members who are now thinking about it, why should they buy RePlan?

First of all, because if you use RePlan smartly, you can end up with a stronger, more motivated team and with the “thinking behind the strategy” already done. You only have to go and put it on paper afterwards. RePlan is very easy to learn and use and is created by NGOs for NGOs, each version being adapted to its context (the Romanian one for Romanian NGOs, the Norwegian one for Norwegian NGOs, the English for for European NGOs).

Also, it’s very flexible and can be used according to the specific needs of each non-profit organization. It can be played for the organization, it can be used as a training tool, it can be a workshop methods or a full-fledged strategy planning tool.

As it has 4 phases that are independent from each other, an organization can decide to play only 1 at a certain time or all 4 in a full-day activity. And being card-based, it can be adapted further with different rules, if needed.

Also, although it wasn’t one of the initial objectives, we discovered that a lot of NGOs used RePlan as a teambuilding tool and even for the onboarding of new volunteers.

Very important, RePlan gets you on a strategic planning process very simply: you start by reflecting where you are at the moment (including reflection on values, resources and much more), you continue by thinking where you want to go and what should be the general direction of the next year(s) and then you decide what resources you are going to allocate and how, ending up with the most fun and intriguing phase, the sustainability check, where you discover if your strategy is going to resist in front of a large array of challenges that may appear (all from real cases). It’s important to note that RePlan uses your real context, not a fictional one.

RePlan is not a miracle medicine and will not solve your NGO problems overnight. But if you use it properly, you can be sure that you’ll get a good tool that will support your NGO development in the long run.

Let’s imagine I have just ordered RePlan. What should I expect to find in the box?

Let’s start with the packaging, because that’s a story in itself. As we believe strongly in sustainability, each RePlan is neatly packaged in a pouch created by the lovely people from Atelierul de Panza, a Romanian social enterprise that employs people with disabilities and severe economic problems. It’s made of 100% bio-cotton and it proves to be quite a practical and useful way of carrying RePlan with you everywhere.

Once you open the pouch you will find 5 packs of coloured cards, each with their own unique role, corresponding to a phase of the game or having a specific role in the process. You will also find the board of the game, which explains the entire process in a very easy-to-understand way and of course, the rule book ! But because we want to always offer something extra, you will most probably find that RePlan comes with a few little other inspirational surprises as well.

It’s not just for fun, of course, but why re-planning by gaming?

In NGOs we usually promote the idea of non-formal education and learning by playing, especially in the youth field. Why not use it for our own development as an organization as well? Making your strategy is usually a very long, divisive and sometimes boring or even expensive process, so if you get RePlan, you basically “hire” your consultant that will facilitate the process in a much easier way. Many organizations cannot afford a consultant or teambuilding days in the mountains to create their strategy or reflect on it, so RePlan comes as a great help both to small and medium-sized organizations.

More than 300 NGOs in Romania are using RePlan by now. What do they think about it? Let’s hear them out:

We really liked the design, the fact that it’s actually useful, that it’s a good team-cohesion opportunity, but it also makes you think about worst-case scenarios. There are a lot of different opinions and we also observe a lot of things that we didn’t do right before.” – Lucia, Habitat for Humanity Cluj

I can say that there were a lot of things, both from the 1st and the 2nd phase, which have really helped us decide the strategy for this mandate.We plan to play the last 2 phases after half of our mandate. We have also decided to share the board game with our 7 member organizations and we are waiting for their feedback, as well. Thank you for this opportunity! – Alexandra, Romanian Federation of Pharmacy Students

Pricing and delivery.

One board game costs 39 euros / 175 RON, with great discounts for ordering 2 copies (-15%) and 3 or more copies (-20%).  The first 30 pre-orders of the English version will also receive a small Inspiration Pack bonus, with badges, stickers and other small surprises. The first batch of RePlan in English starts shipping on June 19th.

For more information check this link: http://www.management-ong.ro/replan-en/ for the English version and http://www.management-ong.ro/replan for the Romanian one.

Ready for replanning by gaming?

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