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Best Run Aussie NFP Revealed

Tuesday, 4th August 2015 at 5:50 pm
Lina Caneva
The Australian arm of the global aid organisation, World Vision has been named Australia’s best run organisation in a national survey of Not for Profits and donors which also suggests almost two thirds of NFPs are not being well run.

Tuesday, 4th August 2015
at 5:50 pm
Lina Caneva



Best Run Aussie NFP Revealed
Tuesday, 4th August 2015 at 5:50 pm

The Australian arm of the global aid organisation, World Vision has been named Australia’s best run organisation in a national survey of Not for Profits and donors which also suggests almost two thirds of NFPs are not being well run.

The survey by NFP impact consultancy, Good Foundations and PwC, found that strong management and being clear on purpose and vision were key elements in what makes a well-run Not for Profit.

“Without these two elements it appears that it will be hard for a NFP to be considered ‘well-run’,” according to the Good Foundations survey.

The survey said of the 149 organisations mentioned as being well run, overall, World Vision was the most frequently mentioned organisation.

“Regardless of who respondents chose as their top two organisations, reasons relating to strong management and being clear on purpose and vision were again overwhelmingly the most common explanations,” the survey said.

“We had a concern it was just the ‘brand names’ that were included, however many smaller organisations were mentioned and many other household Not for Profit names received no mentions at all.”

According to the survey results the most prominent reasons stated for World Vision being well-run were that they have a strong and trusted brand with strong leadership, they communicate their mission to stakeholders clearly and they are committed to good governance and financial rigour.

CEO of World Vision Australia, Tim Costello, said he was humbled to be recognised as part of an organisation that is well run.

World Vision Australia CEO Tim Costello

"At World Vision we place great emphasis on being as efficient with our resources as we can be, so it is pleasing to be acknowledged by our peers for that effort. We are very clear on our purpose and we have a great team throughout all areas of the organisation, which means our work does change and save the lives some of the world’s most vulnerable people,” Costello said.

“We work hard to invest in our leadership and build the trust of both our supporters but the communities we serve. They are at the heart of everything we do and so being a well-run organisation is obviously critical to us being able to carry out our mission and have maximum impact.”

Coming in equal second place, The Australian Red Cross was identified because they are donor and client centred in all aspects of their engagement, they are clear about what they do and why they do it and they have a strong brand that people trust

Also, coming in equal second was The Smith Family, because they have very strong staff, have a clear message to stakeholders and consistently deliver and constantly move with the needs of the community.

“The perception across the respondents was that there is more work to do to be a ‘well-run’ sector, with just 36 per cent of those surveyed being able to agree with the statement: the majority of Australian Not for Profits are ‘well-run’,” the survey said.

However almost two in three respondents either disagreed or were neutral to the statement “The majority of Australian NFPs are well-run”.

“There appeared to be widespread acceptance across those involved in the sector that there is much to do in terms of creating a sector of ‘well-run’ organisations,” the survey said.

“Only 2 per cent of respondents strongly agreed that the majority of Australian Not for Profit organisations are ‘well-run’, 34 per cent agreed with the statement, 22 per cent disagreed, and 4 per cent strongly disagreed leaving the majority of respondents, 38 per cent, as neutral about the statement.

“It was pleasing to see that employees in the sector and major gift donors equally viewed ‘low administration and fundraising ratios’ as the least important of the 21 possible criteria we asked respondents to comment on.

“Furthermore, 61 per cent of donors stated that they did not see fundraising and admin ratios as a critical factor. It is pleasing to see donors shifting their focus to other factors when assessing who to support.

“We were rather surprised though to see the ‘use of rigorous methods for measuring impact and program outcomes’ and ‘using evidence based research to design and impact programs’ rank relatively lowly as criteria that are important in being ‘well-run’.”

The survey included 253 respondents, including 74 CEOs, 65 direct reports to CEO, 64 other employees and 50 major gift donors.

Survey respondents were also asked to name one thing they would like to see change, for NFPs to be well-run.

Overall, there were 38 unique ideas for change, the most popular responses were to be more business-like, engage a relevant strong board and better management.

“Only one respondent mentioned ‘take more risks’, only one talked about investing more in volunteers, and there was only one mention of making better use of technology,” the survey said.

Three main issues were raised by CEOs. CEOs most talked about focusing more on purpose, becoming more “business-like” and merging with other NFPs to avoid duplication of services and, becoming more efficient regarding back-end processes.

Other employees said better management was the single most important thing NFPs could change to become well-run.

Download the report HERE.

Lina Caneva  |  Editor  |  @ProBonoNews

Lina Caneva has been a journalist for more than 35 years. She was the editor of Pro Bono Australia News from when it was founded in 2000 until 2018.

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