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Sector Trends: Stories From the Frontline


15 February 2017 at 5:06 pm
Staff Reporter
Dramatic shifts in the social sector landscape are challenging not for profits to explore new ways of driving change. Against this backdrop, Social Ventures Australia and Pro Bono News are gathering leaders from across the sector to reflect on current trends and discuss how organisations are working to mitigate or benefit from their effects.


Staff Reporter | 15 February 2017 at 5:06 pm


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Sector Trends: Stories From the Frontline
15 February 2017 at 5:06 pm

Dramatic shifts in the social sector landscape are challenging not for profits to explore new ways of driving change. Against this backdrop, Social Ventures Australia and Pro Bono Australia are gathering leaders from across the sector to reflect on current trends and discuss how organisations are working to mitigate or benefit from their effects.

Join us in Melbourne on 27 February 2017 for a lively panel discussion with CEOs from both the service delivery and funding spheres. Hear firsthand how they and the organisations they represent are responding to this new climate in their ongoing bid to increase impact. For more information and to register, visit SVA Quarterly event.

Facilitated by wealth editor at The Australian, James Kirby, “Sector trends: stories from the frontline” aims to draw out real experiences and perspectives on the ground to help inform and inspire others in the sector tackling similar issues. The panellists are Emma King from the Victorian Council of Social Service (VCOSS); Andrew Bruun from Youth Support + Advocacy Service (YSAS); Sarah Davies from Philanthropy Australia; David Crosbie from Community Council for Australia (CCA) and Lina Caneva, editor at Pro Bono Australia News.

The first SVA Quarterly event of 2017, “Sector trends: stories from the frontline” will build on an article of the same name, part 1 of which was published in January. Many of the panellists also contributed to this piece and the upcoming event will provide the opportunity to explore the themes they identified, and their responses to them, in greater detail.

Trends under the microscope include:

  • social and economic changes impacting the demographic and cultural landscape that organisations operate in;
  • funding reform and the subsequent increase in competition, driving organisations to adopt new strategies and plan for sustainability:
  • the ongoing push to prove and improve impact, including the role of evidence-based practice, the need to measure and manage to outcomes and the rise of innovative funding models; and
  • the challenges posed by society’s more intractable problems and the demand for more sophisticated ways to facilitate solutions, such as place-based service design and collaboration/collective impact.

As the recent SVA Quarterly article demonstrates, organisations are managing and responding to these trends in a number of different ways, with contributors highlighting not just challenges but opportunities.

In part 1, CCA’s David Crosbie pointed to the diminishing public trust in government, and relatively high level of trust in charities as an opportunity for stronger advocacy. “[Charities] can exert their influence, draw on their trust, and challenge governments, business, investors and others to better serve our communities,” he said.

On the topic of government policy and funding reform, Emma King of VCOSS spoke of the shift to consumer driven service delivery and how this has generated funding uncertainty with the move from block to individualised funding.

“The resulting competition requires new business models for organisations to adapt and thrive in the changed environment,” she said. “As a result, organisations are upskilling themselves on the reform environment, and how to respond.”

Meanwhile, in part 2, contributors include Sarah Davies of Philanthropy Australia who will offer a funder’s perspective on current trends, such as the role of evidence to prove and improve impact.

“There’s no doubt that funders and investors are looking for proof that organisations are translating evidence into practice; some require this to be demonstrated before agreeing to fund. Non-profit organisations are well on the way to building their capability and practice in this space. However, we are still slow to adopt ‘someone-else’s’ evidence-based practice.”

Davies will also touch on the need to both resource and fund innovation capabilities – which she refers to as “a ‘must have’ to be both effective and future-ready”.

Hosted at the Wheeler Centre, the lunchtime event will take a deeper dive into these issues and others, and provide guests with the opportunity to pose their own questions directly to the panel.

Don’t miss this chance to gain valuable insight into how organisations are adapting to current trends to be the most effective funders and service providers. For more information and to register, visit SVA Quarterly event.

Please visit SVA Quarterly to read part 1 of the article, with part 2 due to go live on 23 February.



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