NFPs are facing the headwinds of substantial change and we have developed specific programs to help NFPs develop suitable strategic responses.
The Australian NFP sector (also called the third sector, voluntary sector or the social economy)comprises over 600,000 charitable, Not for Profit, voluntary, community and social business organisations, which play key societal roles in relation to individual and community well-being, education, health, disability, welfare, housing, employment, environment, animal welfare, religion, arts, sport and recreation, and overseas.
Of these, around 10% are operational businesses – 58, 779 are classified by the ABS as ‘having an active tax role’ on the basis that they employ staff or access tax concessions. These ‘economically significant’ NFPs employed 889,900 staff, around 8 per cent of all employment in Australia, and contributed just under $43 billion to Australia’s GDP in 2006-07 (4.1%). It is a high growth sector, illustrating the increased social needs of our society.
The Productivity Commission concluded in 2010 that the sector was not achieving its full potential and faced complex and long-standing problems. Regulatory change such as the introduction of the ACNC and increased governance requirements are the first of many changes expected.
Underlying the reforms is a belief that the sector is inefficient, and doesn’t use funds effectively. Governments and bureaucrats would prefer a smaller number of enterprises, presumably larger. There is a suggestion that both State and Federal Governments are managing their various supplier contracts with this end in mind.
These and other issues are changing the face of the Not For Profit Sector, with a changing composition, the erosion of financial sustainability, increasing administrative and compliance costs, and the need to professionalise.
This is set against a backdrop of lingering international economic malaise characterized by slow (or minimal growth), high levels of government, corporate and private debt and a fragile local economy with the likelihood of rising unemployment and an increasing number of citizens dependent on social welfare, with increasingly complex needs.
In this environment it is critical for NFPs to be very clear not only about their purpose and reasons for existence, but also the efficiency and effectiveness of their operations.
With an active involvement in the sector, we have developed specific NFP programs to assist community-based organisations to develop plans for a sustainable future. These include:
- Facilitation of sessions;
- One-day programs:
- Full strategic review;
- Independent review – effectiveness, efficiency, SWOT;
- Sector trends and future options.