Three simple truths to strengthen your organisation for change

Thinking for Change: part three

Previous blogs in this series:

Part 1: Playing with the rules 
Part 2: Finding inspiration

If you’ve been anywhere near a business blog in the last month or so, you’ve probably seen some predictions for the year ahead. While we can’t be sure which predictions will come true, one thing is certain: change will come. When it does, how will your organisation adapt? Will it respond to chaos in “firefighting mode”, or with intention and grace? Continue reading…

Reflections from 2018 Governor’s Leadership Foundation Scholarship recipient

There are many benefits to working and volunteering in the not for profit sector. A feeling of working for a higher purpose, a calling, the satisfaction that comes with an alignment of values. Yet one thing NFPs often struggle with, compared to our more affluent corporate cousins, is finding sufficient funding to train and develop staff. Which is why I felt incredibly privileged and blessed to be a recipient of a half scholarship from CBB when I was accepted into the 2018 Governor’s Leadership Foundation Program.

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Takeaways from Better Boards conference 2018

The Better Boards conference 2018 was on the theme of customer-centric governance. Inevitably, as a conference for not for profit boards, there was also broader discussion about boardJane Arnott presenting at Better Boards Conference 2018  performance and behaviours. Here’s our top takeaways from Better Boards conference 2018

Customer centricity

  1. Employee experience determines customer experience: a recurring theme from conference speakers (including our own session) was that employee engagement is the pre-requisite for high quality customer experience. Unhappy, uncommitted, disengaged employees cannot deliver high quality customer interactions. This message was neatly summarised by Charles Weiser of Optus and Campbell Page “Your customer experience can never be higher than your employee experience”.

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The characteristics of social entrepreneurs

Over recent months we’ve spoken to a number of social entrepreneurs and innovators, and observed some in action. In last month’s blog we talked about what established organisations could characteristics of social entrepreneurslearn from innovators, this month we’re reflecting more on the personal, leadership characteristics of social entrepreneurs. These are some of the common themes we’ve observed. Continue reading…

What can established organisations learn from social entrepreneurs?

social entrepreneursIn recent months we’ve been engaging with a range of social entrepreneurs and sharing some of the learning from their experience in our Foreword articles. This month we will distil some of the themes that have come through from an organisational perspective, and consider how they can be deployed in established organisations. Next month we’ll look at some of the characteristics and behaviours of innovative leaders. Continue reading…

The Bread and Butter Project: turning inspiration into a viable social business

Turning a personal passion into a viable social business might start with an inspirational story but it certainly won’t end there.

Bread and Butter

For Paul Allam, founder of Sydney’s Bread and Butter Project and the Bourke Street Bakery, the inspiration came from a visit to the social business Mae Sot on the Thai-Burmese border and a project led by nuns to train and employ refugee women to bake bread to sell into the local community, which included a significant NGO presence. Continue reading…

The power of partnerships

Major change may be initiated or catalysed by one person, but it’s rarely achieved or sustained through lone effort. Just as we learn as managers and leaders that we need to shift from personally delivering the goods to doing through others, so social innovators need to progress from a personal commitment to new product or methodology to building partnerships, networks and collaborations to effect change.

Bringing people on board

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Innovating through process

‘Our enterprises aren’t innovative in themselves, but it’s the process of empowerment.’
Louise Nobes, KiK 

When we think of innovation, we are probably inclined to think of digital technology or other ‘new and improved’ versions of everyday products, but innovation isn’t just about product, it’s also about process.

After 15 years as a social worker, working with young people in Adelaide’s northern suburbs, Louise Nobes was frustrated by the lack of impact – young people were ‘just as disengaged, just as unemployed’. Young people who were feeling that they weren’t good enough just couldn’t access employment through normal routes. Necessity (or perhaps it’s frustration) is the mother of invention, so Louise developed an approach that put young people front and centre to develop their own businesses (and jobs) based on a model that brings together Continue reading…

Keeping your ear to the ground – how to track your progress when resources are tight

When you’re running a not for profit it can be hard to find the time to take a breath and track your progress throughout the year. The good news is that there are a number of ways to check in with your clients and stakeholders on a regular basis even when resources are tight. The right feedback can allow you to course correct and save you time, money, and headaches in the long run. Often a good place to start is with a conversation. We recently spoke to Ian Cox, CEO of the Hutt Street Centre, about how Ian’s team gets feedback from clients, staff and volunteers.

Conversations with clients, staff and volunteers

According to Ian, ‘It’s so critical in innovation to continue to speak to your friends, to find out the positives and the negatives, and that feedback will sometimes change the way you do things. We talk to our friends [Hutt Street refer to their clients as friends]. We talk to our staff and our 650 volunteers. We talk to our board, and we talk to our donors. We’ve now got those five levels of feedback. Continue reading…

New products, crowd funding and social impact bonds – three ways to diversify your NFP’s income streams


Many not for profits are looking beyond traditional grants and fundraising to increase revenue and maximise their impact. From user pays products to crowd funding and social impact bonds. Even if you’re not yet ready to diversify your NFP’s income streams, it’s worth keeping an eye on what’s out there, as new opportunities are emerging all the time.


The latest ACNC Australian Charities Report released in December 2017 shows that across the charity sector half of sector income is currently sourced outside of fundraising and government grants. Other income sources include Continue reading…