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5 Must-Dos for Surviving a Volatile Environment

30 June 2015 at 11:46 am
Xavier Smerdon
A new chapter in the story of the Not for Profit sector is being drafted. How do small to medium organisations ensure they’re written into the script, asks Julie Nyland and Tanya Merinda, from BNG NGO Services Online.

Xavier Smerdon | 30 June 2015 at 11:46 am


5 Must-Dos for Surviving a Volatile Environment
30 June 2015 at 11:46 am

A new chapter in the story of the Not for Profit sector is being drafted. How do small to medium organisations ensure they’re written into the script, asks Julie Nyland and Tanya Merinda, from BNG NGO Services Online.

The Not for Profit sector has already experienced significant change and uncertainty over the last few years: funding shifts from ‘giving for good’ to highly competitive tendering processes; from reasonably straightforward reporting of service delivery activity to demonstrating outcomes; and increased compliance and quality requirements.

Major shifts in Government priorities have also seen the amount, type and direction of funding impact on the sector, particularly the small and medium sized organisations. One of BNG NGO Services Online focus areas is services and supports to these organisations, recognising the value and role they play in the community and health services sector story.  

We know that uncertainty and volatility for the sector is not going to stop any time soon, so what can organisations do to strengthen and survive? BNG has identified five key actions to be better prepared.

1.     Be funding ready

Don’t wait for funding opportunities to come knocking – they won’t. Organisations need to invest resources in staying connected with potential sources of funding. Roles of funding ‘scouts’ to senior staff and governing body members needs to be supported by short and longer term income development plans.

Last minute scrambles to respond to funding tenders and invitations can be avoided. There is usually a fairly standard set of criteria and information requirements, so maintaining up-to-date details of the organisation, its capabilities and recent achievements will reduce some of the stress and allow more time to be creative with submissions.  

2.     Take an organisational health check

Fit organisations know why they exist and what they have achieved, demonstrate strong leadership, manage resources well, attract and keep staff, have effective information and reporting systems, and have strong relationships with clients, community and stakeholders. Keeping on top of strengths and vulnerabilities in these areas should inform quality improvement actions so the organisation can be performing at its best.

3.     Partner, collaborate or merge?

Organisations cannot operate in isolation; a range of collaborations and partnerships are needed for effective service delivery. It is worth organisations regularly asking themselves who they need to develop relationships with, assessing the benefits and risks, reviewing relationship processes, and monitoring the success or otherwise. Be strategic in relationship development and be prepared to adapt relationships as clients, services and the operating environment changes over the next few years. Mergers are significant and final undertakings should only be explored once the organisation has considered and attempted to achieve what is needed through other partnerships and collaborations.

4.     Conquer risk and compliance

Exposure to risk is inevitable; managing risk is essential. Each organisation’s generic and unique risks will change in response the external environment – particularly changes in government policy, funding and legislation, new clients, new service providers.

5.     Promote, promote, promote!

Not the gimmicky product type sell, but organisations need to be able to ‘market’ who they are, tell the story of their achievements and their uniqueness. The work organisations do may be great, but the right people know about it and they need to hear it regularly. It’s time to get creative with the messages and the target audience of NFP sector organisations. Organisations should be asking themselves “how can we stand out from the rest of the pack?”

Organisations wanting a role in the unfolding NFP sector story need to build capabilities now and be on top of the changes.

Check out our Video: 5 Must-Dos for Surviving a Volatile Funding Environment

To guide you through these five must-dos, you can watch recordings of our recent online presentation.

CLICK HERE FOR the video on the first must-do — ‘Get Tender Ready’. You can watch the rest (or the full 20-minute presentation) here

Free resources to get your organisation started.

BNG has put together a set of tools to get your organisation started on the five must-dos:

·         Business Development Good Practice Guide

·         Organisation Fitness Analysis Tool

·         Interagency Partnerships Considerations Information Sheet

·         Risk Management Checklist

·         Marketing & Promoting Your Organisation Information Sheet

You can download these resources for free here.

Special offer: 20% off Management Support Online subscription

BNG is offering a special end-of-financial-year discount to new subscribers to Management Support Online (MSO).

MSO is an online service that provides your organisation with access to over 400 resources on all aspects of running an organisation right at your fingertips: policy/ procedure templates, information sheets, Good Practice Guides and diagnostics.

For further information and to subscribe click here

BNG NGO Services Online provides two online services: Standards & Performance Pathways (SPP) and Management Support Online (MSO). SPP is a leading online service for the completion of service and quality standards, compliance activities, and for managing risk and quality performance. MSO provides NGOs with the resources they need to run their organisations. Both services recently relaunched with significant enhancements. For more about SPP and MSO, visit

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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