The NFP Taskforce was established to review the needs of Melbourne’s NFP and charitable sectors. There are a range of opportunities and challenges facing the sector, including the disruption brought about by the forces of technological change and connectivity.
The NFP and charitable sector plays a critical role in Melbourne, and Australia. It operates across the whole community including in arts and culture, health, education, environmental protection, human rights, as well as sport and recreation, amongst other causes. Its importance for society and the economy cannot be underestimated.
Working Together: Guiding Principles
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:
- Common Purpose
- Complete Understanding
- Proportional Sharing
- Strong Governance
- 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.
Charitable Giving in Australia
Committee for Melbourne released a paper in February 2020, which demonstrates the social and economic importance that charitable giving plays in Melbourne, and Australia. However, the capacity of charitable organisations to deliver core services is becoming more challenging. A combination of factors may have contributed to this development, including that it is becoming increasingly difficult for individuals to donate and/or volunteer. The contents of the paper will form the basis of further advocacy and forums about the opportunities and challenges of the charitable giving sector.
Please read the full report here