Investing for good
18 April 2019 at 8:15 am
Now is the time for social services to explore the opportunity offered by alternative income streams and the benefits that these bring to organisations, writes NCOSS CEO Joanna Quilty ahead of this year’s Investing for Good Conference 2019.
As the social services sector wrestles with the 2019 Federal Budget, changing state and federal political landscapes and implications for how we work, there is an opportunity for the sector to come together and question traditional funding models.
The current government grant regime desperately needs reform. Short-term contracts, historical anomalies, shifting policy and program parameters and the absence of an overall theory of change can lead to duplication, confusion, lack of clarity and little progress in addressing complex social issues.
The competitive nature of the funding regime can also discourage collaborative service delivery and give rise to viability concerns for smaller, less well-resourced organisations. This in turn impacts diversity, choice and the development of innovative, community-led solutions. It breeds frustration within a sector committed to improving outcomes for citizens experiencing disadvantage and poverty.
In this context, it is timely to explore the opportunity offered by alternative income streams and the benefits that these bring to organisations.
One such option is social impact investment. By design, impact investing is structured to take a long-term view of social change. Investors demand a business approach which means the rigorous measurement of clearly articulated outcomes, cross-sectoral collaboration within well-designed solutions to problems, and tangible results.
It may not be for every service or circumstance, but where the fit is right, impact investing can bring an alternative revenue stream, as well as the opportunity to innovate and break away from programmatic confines.
NCOSS was pleased to see the Australian government’s ongoing commitment to impact investing in the budget, including the establishment of a Social Impact Investing Taskforce within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet to bring together different perspectives and expertise to catalyse the social impact investing market.
We continue our important partnership with the NSW government as it works towards maturing the impact investment market in this state. With the NSW Office of Social Impact Investment, NCOSS co-founded the Investing for Good Conference in 2016 as a way to build the capacity of the social services sector in NSW to understand and meaningfully engage with impact investment and create positive and sustainable social outcomes.
This year’s Investing for Good Conference 2019 (I4G 2019) will be held on Thursday 9 May at Pier One Hotel, Sydney. I4G 2019 will have a practical focus with the aim of enhancing the sector’s ability to participate in impact investment, nurture the growing ecosystem in NSW and celebrate the successes that have already emerged.
The conference will be an opportunity to hear from the recently elected NSW government, understand its priorities and consider how the sector can position itself to respond to the changing landscape. There will also be learnings from NFPs who have successfully navigated the impact investing pathway, and expert advice from investors, philanthropists and intermediaries.
The sector is at a stage where there is greater awareness and understanding of social impact investment. The next logical step is to consider how we continue to grow impact investing through increasing knowledge, expertise and accessibility.
The exciting and thought provoking I4G 2019 program aims to do just this by affording organisations the opportunity to delve deeper into the impact investment market and experiences in NSW, to enhance their investment readiness and build capacity to create long-lasting social change.
Investing for Good Conference 2019
Pier One Hotel Sydney
Thursday 9 May at 8am – 7pm
For full I4G Conference program details and to register as an attendee, please visit the Investing for Good website HERE.