12.11.2020Working Together

There has not been a more important time in living memory for the NFP and private sectors to collaborate.

With the economic and social implications of the pandemic response to be felt for years, collaboration between diverse actors will be needed to navigate the choppy waters ahead.

Against this backdrop, the Committee is pleased to launch Working Together: Guiding Principles for Private Sector Collaboration.

Working Together articulates a vision for Melbourne as a collaborative and inclusive city, where the city’s private and NFP sectors jointly address social issues.

The release of this document is timely. Ideas of inclusive growth, citizenship and social impact will take on new meaning in the post-pandemic period. Therefore, it is important to understand and discuss what makes an effective partnership between diverse actors that share common concerns.

The paper identifies and elaborates on five guiding principles that encourage effective collaboration between NFP and private organisations:

  1. Common Purpose
  2. Complete Understanding
  3. Proportional Sharing
  4. Strong Governance
  5. Performance Measurement

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Melbourne’s NFP sector was under strain. Despite the generosity of millions of Australian individuals and businesses through monetary donations and volunteering hours, the capacity of many NFPs to deliver core services was being challenged.

The reasons are complex and varied. A decline in donations from everyday Australians was a significant reason, as has been the introduction of disruptive technologies which have weakened traditional engagement methods between NFPs and their donors, and the community broadly.

COVID-19 has compounded such challenges. Many individuals and businesses are less well-off, while many charitable organisations have been forced to cancel fundraising events and revert to online fundraising activities. A report released by the Centre of Social Impact and Social Venture Australia predicts that more than 200,000 jobs could be lost in the charitable sector across Australia if revenues fell by 20 per cent.

These sobering numbers come as the demand for many services offered by NFP organisations has increased during the crisis. Already severe social issues are being amplified, including poverty, mental illness and domestic violence. More than ever, a strong NFP sector is needed to help address these formidable and sensitive social issues.

The private sector has not been immune to the damage inflicted by COVID-19. However, with governments in debt, and individuals possessing less wealth, support and collaboration between the private sector – particularly big business – and NFPs will be pivotal going forward.

Fortunately, many business leaders are thinking deeply about complex social issues. Some leaders have increased their environmental, social, and governance commitments in the wake of COVID-19, believing it is even more important during the pandemic. It is likely that many larger businesses will seek deeper engagement with NFPs.

The Committee began this discussion earlier today during its E-ROOM launch of Working Together, with viewers receiving insights from Committee members that are collaborating to deliver positive social outcomes.

Kylee Bates (CEO, Ardoch) and Richard Leder (Partner, Corrs Chambers Westgarth) discussed how their organisations have collaborated to improve educational outcomes for children and young people facing disadvantage.

Aron Whillans (Government, Education and Community Banking Executive, NAB) and Bevan Warner (CEO, Launch Housing) talked about their collaboration as they address the issue of homelessness in Melbourne.

Based on the five guiding principles in Working Together, the panelists spoke of their successful partnerships, including reasons for success and the importance of bringing together people with diverse skill-sets and outlooks to deliver value.

To develop a more inclusive, compassionate and collaborative city, Melbourne will require more innovative partnerships and a deep commitment from city and organisational leaders to solve complex social problems.

We encourage all our readers to consider the five guiding principles in Working Together and how they can be applied in their own organisational environment.

For more information on the Guiding Principles or our NFP taskforce, please contact:

Leanne Edwards, Director of Policy and Research

Brett Van Duppen, Policy and Research Officer

Guiding Principles

Related information

Working Together: Ardoch

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Working Together: Hall & Wilcox

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Working Together: Melbourne Prize Trust

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Working Together: Royal Flying Doctor Service (VIC)

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Working Together: NAB

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Not-for-Profit Advocacy Program

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