Embracing Innovation in the Charity Sector
6 March 2019 at 5:00 pm
Australian charity leaders need to embrace forward-thinking solutions to help their organisations solve complex problems, experts say amid the launch of an innovation survey for the not-for-profit sector.
The GiveEasy Innovation Index 2019 survey, launched on Tuesday, provides a year-on-year assessment to track and measure the innovation capacity of the NFP sector.
Now in its fifth year, the index was developed by GiveEasy in partnership with Ernst and Young, eWAY and the Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM) at UNSW Business School.
Innovation is measured based on a number of vectors including smart use of technology, organisation environment, internal and external collaboration and quality engagement with supporters.
AGSM director Magnus Gittins said the most forward-thinking charities were often the ones with leaders who championed new ways of solving problems.
He said innovation was vital for charities, given they worked in an environment with significant regulations and funding challenges.
“We know that when the leadership team, executives and board members embrace innovative solutions, then mountains can be moved within the organisation,” Gittins said.
“The old motto rings true that lasting change has to come from the leader. So we are actively inviting leaders to take part in this innovation research to start the journey of significant change.”
GiveEasy CEO Jeremy Tobias told Pro Bono News one of the key trends from last year’s research was that successful charities needed innovation to be embraced from the top down.
Tobias said the word meant different things to different organisations, and that there wasn’t just one approach. He also said innovation didn’t necessarily mean doing something new.
“It can be doing something better within an organisation. It can mean being more efficient. It can mean picking up an idea that didn’t go so well last time and brainstorming it or having a meeting on it,” Tobias said.
The survey asks respondents to indicate their level of agreement with 40 statements around their organisation’s innovation capability.
The overall innovation score for the sector has been on the rise over the past four years, with technology use a vector that has shown significant improvement.
Tobias said one measure they would be keeping an eye on this year was around rewards and recognition – as charities were failing to recognise the forward-thinking ideas their employees were bringing to the table.
“That has been the lowest performing vector for the past two years. So there will be a focus on how that’s tracking,” he said.
People completing the index survey will receive a unique scorecard detailing the innovation strengths and weaknesses of their charity.
The survey is open until 29 March and can be accessed here. The results of the research are expected by mid-2019.