What is the greatest disruption sweeping through the NFP sector worldwide?
While disruption in the fundraising and business models of NFPs has been evolving for some time, it is the implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) that is generating large-scale generational change transforming traditional welfare style models to customer-centric models. For the first time, people living with a disability have purchasing power to go to the market and decide for themselves which service or product best suits their needs.
At the same time, access to funding streams and competing for customers means NFPs must now have a clear value proposition to take to the market, which can be daunting for many. In addition, the sector is fighting for funding in an increasingly smaller funding pool, with an ever-increasing number of NFPs — even as the need for community and social service is growing exponentially.
Not surprisingly, to widen the funding and investment access, NFPs also must now seek partnerships outside traditional sources. These partners demand a clear value proposition and a business plan that often requires a return.
This perfect storm of large scale generational change — diminished funding coupled with stakeholder demand for greater transparency, accountability and innovation is transforming the sector at an unprecedented pace. NFPs need new ways to attract donors and clients, harness ideas, and open new markets ethically and responsibly. Those charged with this responsibility must embed a strong culture from the top down, ask the right questions, and recognise that innovation must pervade the entire organisation.
Real transformation requires strong leadership. In fact, many NFPs from the board down have developed a skills matrix to determine what skills they need now — and in the future — to drive and sustain generational change in an increasingly commercialised and competitive environment. A beautifully blended NFP organisation will make culture the centrepiece of its transformation strategy and look beyond the classic financial metrics for those that will best serve their constituency.
It is an exciting and challenging time for NFPs charged with oversight of the successful implementation of ‘once in a lifetime’ generational change. Emerging trends — including the desire for different, more concise levels of engagement, communication and events, strong donor engagement and increasing client purchasing power — will create unprecedented opportunities.
On that note, I look forward to exploring the greatest disruption sweeping through the NFP sector with the chair of Public Service Mutuals Taskforce, Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals Gillian McFee, and Alex Oppes, Director, Impact Investing, Social Ventures Australia at Governance Institute of Australia’s National Conference in Melbourne on Monday 4 December.