Planning mission-focused marketing next financial year? You’re going to need this map.

Two hands putting pins on a map

With the end of the financial year fast approaching and budgets being drafted, now is a great time to start reviewing your marketing and engagement strategies, ready to plan your investment for the year ahead.

If you’re providing services under the NDIS, the end of this financial year is a particularly important milestone – 30 June 2019 marks the end of transition of existing disability service clients to NDIS in SA. For many service providers, that’s going to mean a big shift in focus – from helping existing clients transition, to positioning your services to attract new clients to your service. 

Perhaps your focus isn’t NDIS or people with disability. You might be providing services to a different community; or focused on advocacy, fundraising or community engagement. Whatever your mission, now is the time to review your plans.

You’re going to need a good market map.

How to map your market or stakeholders

First….Decide to explore

Your map might define stakeholders (if your purpose is engagement) or a market (if you’re selling services or products to customers). Both are similar in that they categorise groups of people based on common features.

If you’re operating in a volatile context, you might think there’s little point building a map, only to have to make it over again next year. But without a market map, you start each year either working on assumptions (never a good idea!), or starting from scratch to understand your market or stakeholders. That’s a lot of work. 

A good market map is solid – it defines the communities you serve, based on factors that don’t often change. This saves you time, reducing the work needed to understand how change might affect stakeholders or customers each time you review your strategy.

Next: Sketch the terrain

Possibly the most important step is to choose the criteria you’ll use to sort people into groups (or segments) with common attributes or behaviours. Once you’ve defined the different groups that make up the market or communities you seek to engage, you have the ‘lie of the land’, and can make conscious choices about where to go, and which groups to prioritise.

It is vital to choose criteria that are real, meaningful and useful:

  • Real: based on actual facts and data, not assumptions.
  • Useful: it’s possible to reach or engage with people who share this criteria.
  • Meaningful: Your criteria shouldn’t be generic, but allow you to define groups with unique needs that can be answered to create value for the community. At the end of the day, creating market or stakeholder segments is only useful if it helps you tailor your approach  – through communications, service delivery, and service design – to more effectively meet people’s needs.  

What’s real, useful and meaningful will vary depending on your unique context. A strategic marketing specialist can help your team design a market map that works for your organisation.

Navigate the numbers

Once you’ve got an accurate picture using the right criteria, the next step is to populate your map with hard numbers. This will tell you if the groups you’ve created are addressable – big enough to warrant designing a unique approach.

That need not mean costly market research (though if you have the budget, that’s great!) Most organisations can build a simple but effective market map using a combination of publically available data and information about their own client base.

If you’re an NDIS provider, you’re probably familiar with the challenges involved in getting accurate market data, particularly by location. Part of the issue has been the transition between state-based systems (each with their own means of recording information) and the NDIA. As transition nears completion, the NDIA will have data on the entire cohort. We’ve recently seen release of SDA data by State and Region and a new location-based demand map.

If you want help navigating the numbers, we’re experts in finding and interpreting data to help you estimate market opportunities – reach out to us.

Finally – don’t forget to pack your humanity

Mapping your market or stakeholders, and defining segments is super-useful – and the start of all good marketing or engagement strategies. But it’s not without its pitfalls. Perhaps the worst of these is the tendency to stereotype.

As you use your market map, don’t forget that each segment is made up of individuals. And though groups share commonalities, every human is wonderfully, miraculously unique.

At the end of the day, a map is a guide. How to travel is up to you.

Need help understanding your market?
Book a time with Meg here.

Meg is a Certified Practising Marketer, strategist and expert facilitator with rich expertise in marketing, strategic communications, and business development. Passionate about social impact, Meg helps purpose-driven organisations to understand their markets, stakeholders, and context; develop sustainable business models; and create actionable strategies to drive their mission forward.

Phone: 1300 763 505

The all-new NDIS Price Guide – a promise of exciting changes

Increased NDIS payments

Woman smiling excited in front of a computer with her hand together

The Federal Government has announced price increases for NDIS services on 30 March to come into effect on 1 July 2019. The price increases will inject more than $840 million into the NDIS market and we hope this will provide some relief for providers who struggle to deliver financially sustainable, quality services under the current pricing arrangements.

Pricing of Assistance with Daily Living and Assistance with Community Participation

The NDIA has published some of the changes ahead of the release of new NDIS Price Guide. Prices of Assistance with Daily Living and Assistance with Community Participation will increase as outlined below. The calculations are based on current base prices and the correlating support categories are our interpretation of the NDIA communication.Base prices are the prices stated in the February 2019 Price Guide less the Temporary Support for Overheads (TSO) of 2.5%, which will be removed as of July. The increases are indicative as they do not yet account for indexation for wage inflation.

Level 1 support during WA,SA,ACT,NT (West) NSW/Vic/Qld/Tas, (East) NEW base-price/hour
Weekday Daytime + 5.6 % + 7.6% $50.57
Saturday + 5.6% + 6.7% $69.56
Sunday + 7.9% + 8.4% $90.45
Public Holiday + 11.3% + 11.4% $113.24
Weekday Evening + 6.5% + 8.2% $55.80
Active Overnight + 6.7% + 8.4% $56.84

Details about the increases of High Intensity support (Level 2 and Level 3) have also been published and can be accessed on the NDIS website here. Prices of Group and Short term accommodation supports will increase (details are not yet published), Supported Independent Living (SIL) supports are not impacted.

Temporary Transformation Payments

Providers of Assistance with Daily Living and Assistance with Community Participation will be eligible for an additional Temporary Transformation Payment (TTP)which will replace theTemporary Support for Overheads (TPO).The new payment is set at 7.5% of the relevant level 1 support.The same dollar amount will be added to level 2 and 3 supports. The TTP will reduce by 1.5% each year thereafter however by that time we may find out about a different ‘Temporary Pain Relief Payment’.

We had hoped that things would get easier for providers, yet this payment is conditional to a set of obligations that will be outlined in the new 2019-20 NDIS Price Guide. Providers will be required to publish their service prices, list their contact on the Provider Finder and participate in an annual benchmarking survey. When submitting payments thought the portal, providers will have to acknowledge compliance to these requirements, which indicates that we can also expect changes to the portal.

Pricing of Therapy Services

Therapy services will undergo major price increases with separate price limits for different types of therapies:

  • Psychology to $210/hr in ACT, NSW, QLD and Vic and $230/hr in NT, SA, TAS and WA.
  • Physiotherapy to $190/hr in ACT, NSW, QLD and Vic and $220/hr in NT, SA, TAS and WA.
  • Other therapies will likely increase to $190/hr with further indexation for wage inflation.
  • To promote the usage of Therapy Assistants, the pricing will increase as well.

The new price limits for therapists are also conditional to a range of obligations such as the publication of service prices.

Revised NDIS Policies

Most excitingly, the NDIA has announced a review of policies including cancellations, travel, the use of volunteers and charging for non-face-to face time. Details of the changes have not been published yet. We personally believe that the use of volunteers should be up to the provider, as well as the establishment of cancellation policies (as long as these are in line with current consumer laws). The attempt to unify business rules for every provider no matter its size, shape, location, customer base or type of service is a market control that may deter a vibrant market. We have recently published an article on the impact of the current NDIS Cancellation rules and we are still interested on hearing feedback from providers.

NEW look 2019-20 Price Guide

The NDIA has promised a new look 2019-20 NDIS Price Guide and we are looking forward to the ‘easy to navigate option’. The Price Guide advises providers to claim payment against a support line item that aligns closely to the service delivery. Yet, this can be challenging given that the current Price Guide does not list all services and must to be read in conjunction with the full list published in the Price Guide Support Catalogue (CSV file).

Unfortunately, the new NDIS Price Guide will not be published much in advance as prices and policies are still waiting finalisation. Knowing the Price Guide and its changes a few weeks ahead would greatly assist providers to adapt their documentation, policies, CRM and accounting systems, and to communicate changes to clients to be ready by 1 July.

Service Agreement reviews

‘Do we need to establish new Service Agreements’ is one of the most common questions we hear. Once a client and their provider have signed a Service Agreement, both parties need to adhere to the terms, conditions and prices as outlined in the agreement. Providers cannot increase service prices unless the agreement includes a clause that prices will increase subject to changes to the NDIS Price Guide. If the Service Agreement does allow for price adjustments, the changes still need to be communicated to the client, ideally well in advance. Good communication and transparency are essential in any business relationship. The funding in NDIS plans will increase as of July according to the Price Guide and participants will not be worse off in terms of the volumes of supports they can purchase.

The introduction of new funding rules will most certainly impact on Service Agreements and we are keen to hear some official advice from the NDIA (or lawyers with a consumer law background) on how providers could and should change over to new terms if Service Agreements are already in place based on previous rules.

More NDIA announcements

The NDIA has vowed to improve its provider relationship management and plans to seek industry input and feedback on policy impact. The NDIA has also promised a series of announcements prior to July to give providers an insight into the upcoming changes. We will continue to monitor for new information.

For feedback or consulting support please contact Dr Ellen Schuler.

NDIS consultant

Dr Ellen Schuler
Business Consultant 
Phone: 1300 763 505

What difference will $20k make to your NDIS transition?

woman holding calculator and looking at financials

A new grant program for NDIS transition support launched in late March. NDIS Transition Assistance Funding is available under the Boosting the Local Care Workforce Program, a Commonwealth program administered by EY (Ernst&Young). A NDIS Transition Assistance fund of $5.6m will be distributed through grants of between $5000 to $20,000 for new and existing providers to spend on consulting support.

$20,000 can secure valuable support – so it’s an opportunity well worth pursuing. However, we know that many providers have way more than $20,000 worth of NDIS transition problems. With most states (with the exception of WA) in the advanced stages of NDIS roll out, organisations are continuing to experience NDIS challenges. Extended periods of change and uncertainty have put pressure on internal capability, budgets and resilience, right at the time when organisations need all hands on deck to manage the ongoing organisational transformation.

It’s times like these you might need to bring in outside support. But with limited funds to spend and many problems to tackle, how can you prioritise your precious consulting funds?

Take the time to reflect.

Applying for the Boosting the Local Care Workforce program starts with an online self-assessment of your current capability. This will give you some suggestions of actions to take, but not necessarily a strong sense of priorities.

Look for the greatest return on effort.

There are four principles to keep in mind to make sure your investment in business transformation delivers a strong, positive outcome.

  1. Have you got the foundations in place? We often find organisations jumping straight to solution mode, or wanting to put the icing on the cake, before they’ve really identified the underlying problem, or fixed a fundamental issue (like the financial viability of your services). Having strategy, product and financials in place are the basic foundations for your business. You need to know where you’re heading and why, what you’re offering to the market (and how it fits within the NDIS) and if you can deliver it within NDIS pricing. If you’re not confident in any of these areas, that’s where you should spend your consulting dollars.
  2. Think holistically. Don’t forget about the downstream impacts. Organisation functions don’t exist in isolated boxes. Everything is interlinked. Work with your consultant to identify the potential knock on effects of your problem – or opportunity. For example, we’ve been working with a number of organisations to look at market opportunities under the NDIS. If you enter a new market (either geography, service or client group) or scale up in response to market opportunities, there will be consequences for your organisation in terms of brand, service delivery, staffing etc. as well as operational impacts on infrastructure and systems. Similarly if you develop a wonderful marketing strategy that portrays your organisation as warm and engaging, but your frontline customer service staff are unfriendly, you’ll need to address the whole, end to end customer experience in order to get the most value from your initial marketing project.
  3. How can you get most value from external support? What could a consultant bring that you can’t source from inside your organisation? It could be particular skills, experience, or knowledge; it could be consulting tools that will help you work through a process; it could be objectivity and independence, or any combination of the above. What sustainable benefit will the consultant leave to your organisation? At CBB, we look to transfer skills and understanding to our client organisations as part of our charitable mission to build the sector’s business capability.
  4. What do you need to contribute to get the most out of the support? Some projects lend themselves to the consultant working fairly independently and reporting back to clients (e.g. research and reviews) but for the most part the quality of a consultant’s output will be significantly influenced by the time, information and effort that the client organisation puts into the project too. 

    Openly sharing your information and challenges creates a climate – in both data and relationships – that allows a consultant to deliver a good project that meets your organisation’s needs.

    Anything that involves organisational change requires ownership and leadership from within the organisation. Consultants can help you navigate the process, but ultimately you’ll need to get your hands dirty, so when selecting your consulting project, consider how much people time you can invest in getting a good outcome.

Book a free catch up here 

CBB has been delivering NDIS transition support to providers since 2014. We’ve delivered a range of projects within the $5000 to $20,000 grant size for the NDIS Transition Assistance Fund, including market research, reviews of costing and pricing, strategy and business planning, improvement of business processes, and marketing strategy and plans.

If you’d like further support with any aspect of your business, we have a limited number of free catch ups with CBB Consultants between now and the end of the financial year.

photo of business manager

Jane Arnott
General Manager, Consulting and Business Services
Phone: 1300 284 364

How much time do staff spend managing Facebook?

image of clock with marketing strategy words around it and a yellow background

All businesses need to have a Facebook page, and have employees spending time each day writing posts and monitoring comments – or do they? 

It all comes down to your return on investment, a Facebook page is just a communication channel after all. But in order to understand what your return on investment is, you need to look at your whole marketing strategy. 


What is your objective to each of your market segments? Are you trying to drive engagement with the segment at the top or bottom of the funnel.

If your objective is to attract new customers to use your services, then a Facebook page isn’t going to be your communication channel of choice.  A Facebook page where people opt in to see your posts is different to Facebook advertising where you can pay to increase your brand awareness and reach new customers.

However, if you already have a large customer base and you’re focusing on customer retention then Facebook is a fantastic place to keep customers engaged with your organisation, allowing you to understand them and gather valuable feedback to improve your services. 

Once you’ve reviewed your objectives, think about who your stakeholders are, who you want to talk to and if they are regularly on Facebook? If your key stakeholder is another organisation or government agency, is Facebook really the best channel to reach these people? If they are Facebook users, what tone of voice should you adopt to be the most relatable to them?

Monitoring and Measuring

If you don’t have a marketing strategy in place there are some tips in this Foreword article. 

If you decide Facebook is a good communication channel within your strategy, you need to make sure that you are monitoring and measuring its performance.  

It’s essential to have a dedicated staff resource to make sure the page is monitored every few hours and responses are sent to people quickly. This is a great way to increase your relationship with people; and Facebook monitors your response time and publishes it, so if you don’t respond quickly (or at all) every Facebook user who is researching your organisation may assume you have poor customer service.

The Facebook algorithm changes all the time, so it’s important to stay on top of current best practice – subscribing to blogs from social media platforms like Hootsuite, Sprout Social and HubSpot is a great place to start. Currently the goal is to make every post as engaging as possible, maximising the number of people commenting on each post and reacting to each other comments. So posting a closed-ended question isn’t going to generate a conversation and will result in a poor return on investment. Review all of your previous posts, understand which are generating the most engagement and which are reaching the greatest number of people. 

Tip: If you have a large number of employees that are active on your page, make sure you exclude them in your analysis.  They may be skewing the data, after all they aren’t your target audience.

Once you’ve found the trend, base your future posts around these insights. Set benchmarks so you know what an acceptable return on investment is. By using the scheduled posts tab within Facebook Publishing Tools, you can write numerous posts at a time. This helps maintain a single-tone of voice, and allows you time to ensure each post is on strategy, rather than writing something because you haven’t posted for two days.

As well as analysing which posts work, look at the time of day and how often you need to post. If your community is really active you may want to post once a day, if not you may get a better overall response by posting once a week. Trial different strategies to find out what your Facebook community wants from you, and make sure you don’t waste unnecessary time and resources creating posts for the sake of it.

At least once a month, review your results and make sure that you are achieving at least as good a result as your benchmark. As the Facebook algorithm changes your results will vary, so what works now might not work as well in a month.  If you can’t organically meet your ROI benchmark then there is the option to boost posts. But before you do this review your marketing strategy and plan; understand the impact to the business of taking money from one activity and moving it to improve your Facebook page’s engagement.

If you need help creating your strategy, marketing plan or budget, get in touch with our marketing consulting team via or book a free 30-minute consult.

Tom Rippon
Marketing Consultant
Phone: 1300 763 505

The deeper purposes of a budget

“Failing to plan is planning to fail” – Alan Lakein

A budget may seem like a boring administrative task that “needs” to be done by the finance team to keep stakeholders like the board happy, but a good budget serves a much deeper purpose.

A good budget will help your organisation:

  1. Deliver its social impact
  2. Know if you’re on track
  3. Plan for success

Delivering social impact

Almost every activity has an associated cost. Programs, no matter what their intent, cost money. A budget will reflect the costs of delivering your services. Furthermore, by allocating costs to your services you will also be determining how many of your services and/or product offerings you can afford to provide in a given time period, usually a year.

Preparing a budget forces you to make decisions around which services and/or products you want to provide, and how many of each you can afford to provide over a given time period.

The preparation of a budget forces your organisation to make the best use of its available funds and consequently make decisions regarding which activities are most impactful and will best deliver your social objectives.

Know if you’re on track

Financials and numbers do not always tell the full story of an organisation, but they are always a great starting point.

If a budget is not being followed, or if actual financials are significantly different to the budget, this may be the starting point for a series of questions that dig deeper into budget variations.

If the organisation’s income is not coming in as expected, is it because of external factors such as government decisions or the economy, or is it because of internal factors within your control – such as the pricing of your services and/or products or a poor marketing strategy that is failing to reach your intended customers.

Equally, if expenses are less than expected, are programs (and their associated expenses) being delivered or is the organisation slow in its implementation? If expenses are higher than expected, are there internal control issues with key staff spending above and beyond what has been approved?

Financial variations are almost always the symptom and red flag to issue(s) that are occurring within the organisation, rather than the problem in itself. It is for this reason that the actuals should be compared to the budget on a monthly basis and communicated to the broader team.

Plan for success

A report by the Australian Institute of Company Directors made clear that profit is essential for long-term organisational sustainability.

If your organisation is making a loss you will need to draw on savings and reserves to cover those losses. Depending on the amount of money your organisation has put away, continual losses will eventually mean that you have to wind up your organisation. Losses should only be budgeted for in exceptional, one-off circumstances such as transitioning to a new market or the development of a new product.

At an absolute minimum, profit of one to three percent must be achieved to keep pace with inflation. After all, employees and suppliers will expect to have their pay increased at a minimum of inflation, and your EA or award rates could be higher.

Profit above inflation rates allows an organisation to add to its net assets. Strong net assets and cash reserves can significantly de-risk an organisation and improve its chances for long-term survival. Furthermore a strong and liquid balance sheet allows an organisation to invest in ongoing capital expenditure, such as IT upgrades and improvements, and respond to changing markets and client needs.

So although at first glance a budget may seem like a boring administrative task, a good budget serves much deeper purposes.

Boosting the Local Care Workforce Program – Transition Assistance Funding Grant

A new grant program has been launched for existing or potential NDIS providers to purchase tailored business supports. The Boosting the Local Care Workforce Program – Transition Assistance Funding Grant program provides one off grants to NDIS providers from $5,000 up to $20,000 (ex GST). This is a national program with a total grant value of $5.6m, so we expect there will be in the region of 280 – 1,120 grants awarded.

Continue reading…

Is your website still NDIS ready?

esthetoscope and laptop suggesting website health check

As disability services providers started to transition from block funding to individual NDIS plans, there was an immediate need to create new or update existing websites to reflect NDIS services. For many organisations, that was over a year ago, even longer if you were part of an NDIS pilot. So now is a great time to review your website. During this time you’ve been busy adapting your business to meet the demands of the NDIS, streamlining back office functions to maintain financial viability and meeting the needs and wants of the people you support. Over this transition period your organisation and services have changed. But have you reflected these changes on your website? If the answer is no, then you can use our website health check tool to see if you need to update your website.

Continue reading…

We are all in it together

How to improve the working relationship between NDIA and disability service providers?

disability service providers joining their fists

National Disability Services (NDS), the peak body for non-government disability service organisations released its annual State of the Disability Sector Report in November 2018. Part of the report is an annual market survey conducted by the Centre for Social Impact, in collaboration with NDS’ Centre for Applied Disability Research. In excess of 600 disability service providers responded to the survey representing providers of all shapes and sizes, and with 90% currently providing services under the NDIS.

Continue reading…

Is your workplace toxic?

Danger sign on office door

It was disappointing, but unsurprising, to read recent articles in Pro Bono and Third Sector on the toxic culture at Amnesty’s International Secretariat in the UK. The response of the Australian Unemployed Workers’ Union was similarly unsurprising – effectively stating that toxic work cultures are present in the Australian not for profit sector too.

I’ve spent my entire career working in and around not for profits. Over more than 20 years, I’ve lost count of the number of people I’ve encountered from outside the sector who imagine that working for a not for profit is all a bit soft and fluffy. They think that I must work in a loved up organisation where everyone is kind to each other because it’s all about the social outcome. The perception is that somehow, not for profit employees are a different breed of human – devoid of all those personality traits we use to characterise the corporate world: greed, jealousy, competiveness etc. The reality is that we’re humans, with our own flaws and baggage, just like everyone else, and just like everyone else, those flaws sometimes show their face in the workplace. If anything, our passion and commitment for what we do can exaggerate, rather than moderate, some of our less desirable behaviours. Take a stubborn person who absolutely believes their way is right, and then multiply it with a deep seated commitment to make a difference, and you have an intransigent colleague who won’t listen, negotiate or compromise.

The Amnesty case is tragic. The review of corporate culture followed the suicides of two Amnesty employees, and the report identified a dangerous cocktail of pressure resulting from casework on human right abuses, and a toxic work culture that included bullying and harassment.

The reality and the risks

The reality is we’re dealing with difficult issues, seemingly intractable social problems. Our employees and volunteers may be facing human suffering on a daily basis, and we are often under resourced, putting huge pressures on employees at every level of the organisation. In a context of high pressure, prolonged stress, our executive function is impaired and we retreat to fight, flight or freeze responses. None of these are healthy workplace reactions and can manifest themselves in poor behaviours that may be harmful to ourselves and others. Unchecked, such behaviours effectively become condoned and normalised, and a toxic work culture evolves.

One of the biggest risks in human services organisations is where this toxicity takes the form of ignoring poor quality care, or abuse, and silencing dissenting voices, so that people can’t speak up.  As not for profits, we hold ourselves, and the public holds us, to a higher standard. We risk losing this public trust if we are seen as uncaring, deliberately oblivious to poor client treatment or, worse, actively protecting those that have caused harm to the people in our care. The triumvirate of Royal Commissions that involve our sector: institutional child abuse; aged care and – almost inevitably – disability care, are like the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future, casting a shadow over human services organisations and forcing us to examine our histories and focus on the culture we want to create for our organisations to thrive.

Building the culture your employees and clients deserve

Fixing a toxic workplace is not an easy process. It invariably involves some blood-letting (all seven of the executive leadership team at Amnesty International have offered their resignations) and strong leadership to turn the culture around. If these issues seep into the public domain, the reputational damage runs deep. It might be easier to avoid a toxic work culture developing in your organisation in the first place.

  • Set your behaviour expectations for your leadership and your employees: recruit to your desired organisational values and behaviours, and hold people to account if their workplace behaviours don’t meet your expected standards
  • Measure your organisation’s culture (and do something with the results)
  • Use 360 reviews to gather peer and report feedback on your leadership team and, for larger organisations, senior managers. These reviews can provide valuable insight into the impact of management behaviours on your team and as such provide a useful tool to inform the ongoing development of your leaders. 

Contact Jane Arnott for information on the services that CBB can provide to help you build the culture your employees and clients deserve.

Jane Arnott
General Manager, Consulting and Business Services
Phone: 1300 284 364