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Growing NFP Sector Needs More Support

21 October 2014 at 11:00 am
Xavier Smerdon
The Australian Not For Profit sector has been given a call to action to stop relying entirely on Government funding and financial institutions have been called on to invest more in NFP needs.

Xavier Smerdon | 21 October 2014 at 11:00 am


Growing NFP Sector Needs More Support
21 October 2014 at 11:00 am

The Australian Not For Profit sector has been given a call to action to stop relying entirely on Government funding and financial institutions have been called on to invest more in NFP needs.

NFP peak body, the Community Council for Australia says that financial institutions that ignore the needs of charities “do so at their own peril”

CCA CEO David Crosbie said financial institutions across the nation need to invest more in addressing the needs of NFPs.

He said it was critical NFP groups are given more support and that many existing services including banks simply "don't get" NFPs or even realise how massive the sector is.

He said the Not for Profit sector has now become so big, it is employing 8 per cent of Australia's entire workforce – one in every 13 Australians now works for a Not for Profit- and it employs over one million people.

The  Not for Profit sector is now almost double the size of Australia's agriculture industry and contributes $54.8 billion to Australia's GDP. 36 per cent of Australia's adult population actually volunteers in the sector (5.6 million volunteers).

Crosbie said NFPs needed to embrace different revenue raising streams.

"This sector is changing at a high speed. Ethical investing is well and truly on the rise. Social investing is getting traction. Not for Profits are not driven by the bottom line. They want to create change and pursue their purpose,” he said.

“Financial institutions not plugged into this sector do so at their own peril. Ultimately Not for Profits need more money in the sector to do more good and create further much needed change. The more the sector creates new money it can rely on, the better."

Crosbie said there also needs to be more support for the sector so that more social change can be achieved.

He highlighted  the community banking initiative, Community 21 as an example of what can happen when Not for Profits start working together to harness their real influence and create powerful social change.

Community 21 has established a banking service called Community Sector Banking which includes Oxfam, Ozchild, ACOSS, Jobs Australia, Able Australia, Scope and others.

"Without doubt there is enormous untapped potential in this sector. There is genuine passion in Not for Profits. They are a big part of the nation’s economy. It is hard to know why some groups including banks see the Not for Profit sector as risky," Crosbie said.

Community 21 CEO Peter Quarmby said the NFP sector needed to stand up and be counted.

"I believe many Not for Profits still accept being treated like poor cousins. It is just ridiculous,” Quarmby said.

“The sector needs to realise it has enormous power to create phenomenal change. Not for Profits need to be aware they cannot rely solely on government funding to get them through. We are all about making the NFP sector stronger and more resilient, with that comes the power to create real social change.

“Sometimes we forget just how much good is being done by Not for Profits,” he said.

"It is now estimated the charity sector alone actually has over $175 billion in assets. The average charity in Australia has $3 million in assets and turns over $2 million annually. That is exactly why charities ought to have a much bigger say in their future,” Crosbie added.

CEO and Managing Director of Community Sector Banking, Greg Peel, said financial pressures would continue to grow for NFPs in the future.

“We can no longer be reliant on Government funding,” Peel said.

“The issues confronting society are continuing to grow… and the demand facing the sector is continuing to grow.

"Obviously it is not hard to get very enthusiastic about this sector. Not for Profits build communities across Australia and make local economies stronger. They help tackle big issues and deal with real lives, jobs and poverty."

"The true measure of success is seeing how people in communities are actually benefiting from the services being provided by Not for Profits," Peel said.

Xavier Smerdon  |  Journalist  |  @XavierSmerdon

Xavier Smerdon is a journalist specialising in the Not for Profit sector. He writes breaking and investigative news articles.

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