Not-for-profit Taskforce


The NfP sector plays a critical role in Melbourne, and Australia. Not only does the sector deliver critical social outcomes, but the economic benefits are significant in terms of growth and job creation.

The NfP Taskforce has been established to review the needs of Melbourne’s NfP sector. The taskforce will identify, and address, a range of opportunities and challenges facing the sector, including the disruption brought about by the forces of technological change and connectivity.

You do not have to look far to see the considerable amount of good work charitable organisations  contribute to Australian society. They have been on the frontline of Australia’s unprecedented bushfire crisis, helping with food delivery, wildlife rescues and protection, and raising funds for those most in need.

Given recent events, it is timely for Committee for Melbourne to release a paper on the charitable sector. Titled Charitable Giving in Australia, it offers a snapshot of the social and economic importance the charitable sector plays in Melbourne, and Australia. 

You can read the submission here

Commissioner of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC), Dr Gary Johns, addressed Committee members in November 2018. As the independent national regulator of Australia’s NfP sector, the ACNC plays a critical role in maintaining, protecting, and enhancing public trust and confidence in the sector, and ensuring it remains robust, independent, and unburdened by unnecessary regulatory obligations.

Dr Johns updated members on the ACNC’s mission, and provide his thoughts on the future of the NfP sector, including why NfP organisations will need to re-evaluate their operating models, become more creative and technology-savvy, and embrace transparency to win support.

Not-for-Profit forum held on 14 February 2018

Royal Flying Doctor Service Victoria CEO Scott Chapman is the facilitator of our Not-for-Profit Taskforce, a group reviewing the sector with a focus on addressing the impact of future disruption that has been identified through our Melbourne 4.0 work. The Taskforce met again on the 14th of February 2018 and Scott shares his thoughts:

"The Not-for-Profit taskforce has already identified a number of trends and challenges facing the sector which are clearly linked to the impacts of the fourth industrial revolution such as:

• changes to the operating environment
• clarifying strategic direction
• diversifying income sources and increasing own-source income
• measuring and reporting actual impact and outcomes of their endeavours

With over 60,000 registered Not-for-Profit organisations in Australia, the space for 'cause' is crowded yet needed more than ever as our society is faced with unprecedented growth in social isolation and barriers to affordable housing, health services and employment.

More research is needed in combating disease, and intervention support services for domestic violence and substance abuse, are just some of the examples where the Not-for-Profits are being called upon.

While addressing these social challenges, the sector also plays a significant role in creating a more connected society and makes a significant contribution to the economy, employment and purposefulness – particularly among its large volunteer workforce.

Taking place quarterly, Not-for-Profit forums are focused on advancing knowledge through collectively sharing intelligence, hearing from expert guest speakers and strengthening professional relationships by working closer together.

It is only through collaboration within the sector that we can move forward on strengthening the performance and contribution of this important 'third sector'."

See photos from the event

In early 2018, Committee for Melbourne member Guide Dogs Victoria (GDV) announced that it had been working with software firm ThoughtWorks, in a bid to use digital innovation to enhance lives.

Together, they have developed the 'SensaCane', enabling those with low vision or blindness to cross complex intersections without a Guide Dog. GDV Innovation Manager, John-Ross Barresi, came up with the idea after working with clients who routinely had issues with crossing major intersections.

General Manager of Client and Guide Dog Services, Alastair Stott, discusses the SensaCane prototype with ThoughtWorks engineer

This 'smart cane' prototype uses optical infrared sensors in the tip to detect white lines on the road and trigger vibration feedback to the user when veering off track. It is intended to provide the guidance needed to make intersection crossing easier and safer.

“While Guide Dog services represent 30 per cent of what we do, digital innovation has a big role to play in constantly improving our offering to clients to improve their quality of life", said GDV’s General Manager of Client and Guide Dog Services, Alastair Stott.

Following extensive testing, the SensaCane is almost ready to go into production. GDV is currently seeking funding support for commercial production of the SensaCane prototype, with the aim of having the device available for its low vision and blind clients in the near future. If you are interested in helping please contact GDV's Major Donor Relationship Manager, Tracy Purcell.

On 7 December 2017, Committee for Melbourne hosted its inaugural not-for-profit meeting at the Henley Club, an event supported by member Bendigo and Adelaide Bank.

Royal Flying Doctor Service Victoria CEO, Scott Chapman and Committee for Melbourne Director Reverend Ric Holland chaired the meeting, to explore new ways of tackling common challenges facing the sector in collaboration with business.

Former Volunteers Victoria CEO, Sue Noble, shared her insights on the changing nature of volunteering, and the need for a long-term effort that re-positions the value of volunteering in an era of significant change and disruption.

Through a series of meetings and forums slated for 2018, the taskforce’s ambition is to develop a set of guiding principles to define the sector's Strategic Needs and to inform a 2018 policy and advocacy program.

If you are interested in sharing your ideas with the Not-for-Profit Taskforce, please contact Policy and Research Officer, Brett Van Duppen.

In October 2017 we established a working group to review the specific needs of the not-for-profit sector in Melbourne, with a particular focus on addressing the future disruption that has been identified through our Melbourne 4.0 work.

With over 25 not-for-profit Members actively participating in our Melbourne 4.0 Taskforce, many issues specific to the not-for-profit sector have already been identified and will be addressed in a series of forums spearheaded by Member Royal Flying Doctor Service CEO Scott Chapman. Issues included:

• Governance and regulatory reform
• Issues management and performance enhancement
• Skills development, mentoring and transfer of knowledge
• Managing volunteers
• Digital capabilities
• The brand perceptions of fundraising
• Interaction with sharing economy
• Adapting to new income sources and taxation principles
• The need for structured collaboration in the sector
• Articulating the not-for-profit agenda to the broader community

Our not-for-profit member Guide Dogs Victoria is bringing Dialogue in the Dark, a sensory journey set in total darkness, to Melbourne! An international phenomenon which sells out in every destination, it is an enlightening experience where you step out of your comfort zone and take on different challenges.

Participants can take on the challenge of navigating a bustling, simulated Melbourne in the dark or take part in different workshops for businesses, community groups and teams on topics such as leadership, communication and diversity – all in absolute darkness.

In both cases, visitors are led through an environment with a guide with low vision or blindness and learn to interact and communicate by relying on non-visual senses. The experience is designed to help you challenge yourself, discover skills, embrace creativity, and adopt a new perspective of the world around you.

Our current work

  • Not-for-Profit Taskforce
  • ACNC Dr Gary Johns address

Past events and projects

  • The Third Sector event
  • Not-for-Profit launch

How can you get involved?

As a member of the Committee for Melbourne, you can contribute your and your organisation's knowledge and insight into the various taskforces that are addressing the Strategic Needs.

To register your interest to participate in our taskforces, please email our team at

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