80,000 members. Seven enterprises. Thousands of pages of content. Hundreds of hours of training. Five game-changing tech tools.



Who we are

Our Community is the engine room for creating and disseminating practical, affordable training, leadership and technological solutions that allow not-for-profit and grantmaking organisations to get on with the crucial work of building stronger communities.

Our partners in that work are not-for-profit organisations and social enterprises; government, philanthropic and corporate grantmakers; donors and volunteers; enlightened businesses; and other community builders.

We were one of the first companies in Australia to be accredited as a B Corporation, a process that provided external validation of our social credentials. In 2020 we ceased our B Corp accreditation in favour of legally mandating our social mission, becoming one of the first companies in Australia to enshrine our values in our constitution, which states: "commercial imperatives are afforded equal priority to our social mission, our commitment to employees, and our responsibility to the environment in which we work".

Our Community's offerings include:

  • Institute of Community Directors Australia: The best-practice governance network for the members of Australian not-for-profit and government boards and committees, and the senior staff who work alongside them
  • FundingCentre.com.au: Information on grants and fundraising in Australia, including EasyGrants: Australia's best grants database
  • GiveNow: Australia's first and best giving platform
  • Communities in Control: Australia's most inspiring annual community sector gathering: thought leadership for the not-for-profit sector
  • SmartyGrants: Software, data science and grantmaking intelligence for funders - accelerating outcomes and impact
  • SmartyFile: A red tape-busting data-storage and data-sharing tool for not-for-profits
  • Our Community House: A co-working space for the social sector, where data and creativity come together to catalyse social change

The Our Community Group is evolutionary as well as revolutionary. Our websites and our services are always changing.

Our vision centres on social inclusion and social equity. Our dream is that every Australian should be able to go out their front door and stroll or wheel to a community group that suits their interests, passions and needs - or log on and do the same.

We want to help make it easy for people to join in, learn, celebrate, worship, plant trees, play a game, entertain and be entertained, care and be cared for, support others and be supported, advocate for rights and celebrate diversity. To get involved. To be valued.



Our board

Carol Schwartz AO, Chair

Carol is one of Australia's leading business identities. A Member of the Reserve Bank of Australia Board, Carol has extensive experience in business, property, the arts, and community organisations, and has been a director on a large number of public company and government boards. She is Our Community's founding chair, and Director of the Climate Council.

Carol is passionate about social change, having founded the Trawalla Foundation, a social investment body, as well as the Women's Leadership Institute Australia, which is working to radically boost the number of women in leadership positions in Australia. She is convenor of the Property Male Champions of Change group.

Carol's directorships include the Reserve Bank of Australia, Qualitas Property Partners and the Trawalla Group. She is also an Executive in Residence at Melbourne Business School, a council member of the Australian Innovation Research Centre, University of Tasmania, board member Centre for Advanced Journalism, University of Melbourne, member of the Enterprise Melbourne Advisory Board, and member Harvard Kennedy School's Women's Leadership Board.

Dr Simon Longstaff AO, Director

Simon has served on the Our Community Board since its inception in 1999, applying a balanced business and ethical lens to the organisation's governance.

The Executive Director of The Ethics Centre, Simon is one of the world's pre-eminent ethicists. He began his working life on Groote Eylandt (Anindilyakwa) in the Northern Territory where he worked in the Safety Department of the then BHP subsidiary, GEMCO. He is proud of his kinship ties with members of the island's Indigenous community.

Following a period studying law in Sydney and a brief career teaching in Tasmania, Simon undertook postgraduate studies in philosophy as a Member of Magdalene College, Cambridge, commencing his work as the first Executive Director of The Ethics Centre in 1991, where he has overseen a range of landmark initiatives, including the world-famous Festival of Dangerous Ideas.

Simon serves on a number of boards and committees across a broad spectrum of activities. He was formerly a Fellow of the World Economic Forum.

Denis Moriarty AM, Group Managing Director

Denis Moriarty is the founder and group managing director of Our Community.

Denis has a strong background in executive and change management in both the government and private sectors. He spent his early career as a bureaucrat tearing down pictures of Queen Elizabeth in government offices and pushing through government reforms and privatisation as a deputy secretary and commissioner.

His inspiration for starting Our Community came through his involvement with not-for-profit boards, which led to a realisation that technology and knowledge could be democratised to accelerate social sector reform. This thinking was crystallised during his 18-month participation in the Vincent Fairfax Ethics in Leadership Awards, run through the Ethics Centre.

In 2001 Denis was awarded the Centenary Medal in recognition of his establishment of Our Community, and in 2020 he was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for his significant service to the community, to social welfare, and to public administration.

He describes himself as a social capitalist, and he believes markets, wealth and giving can be revolutionary when they are combined with a progressive social agenda. The biggest philanthropists in the world, he says, exist primarily through their business acumen.

Denis believes Australians and their governments need to be constantly reminded that while we delight in and promote the value of "communities", they are more than just an abstract notion, and it's the 600,000 community organisations in Australia that are the true catalysers of communities. That's why the mission of Our Community is to build stronger communities through stronger community organisations.

Our staff

Our dynamic, committed team of good-natured social justice warriors comprises people who live and breathe community. Our staff have overwhelmingly been drawn to Our Community by the opportunity it gives them to use their networks, experiences and skills for good. Many have been with the organisation since the start, or have left and come back, or have been around for more than a decade.

Our Community is dedicated to making work easier for not-for-profits and the organisations that help them.


Why we're here

Our Community works to build stronger communities through stronger community organisations. We've discovered over the years that there are many routes to that destination, and we're having fun (and creating change) as we investigate which are the best ones to pursue.

Social sector organisations - not-for-profit organisations, community groups, schools - are absolutely vital for the development of a thriving and vibrant Australia, helping us navigate the changes in work, learning, technology, demography, social roles and support that are having such major impacts on our lives in the 21st century.

With few exceptions, social sector organisations have always been much loved by the more than 65% of Australians who belonged to one or more, but historically many were under-resourced and highly vulnerable. Starvation, dysfunction and disorganisation in the areas of fundraising, financial management, marketing and governance had put the foundations of this important $100 billion sector at risk.

Since its formation in 1999, Our Community has worked with a range of partners to create and share information and training that can be easily understood and immediately used by busy volunteers and hard-pressed staff.

We have also worked to bring all parts of this vast $100 billion sector together to achieve a united voice and bring to bear its combined purchasing power.

We later brought this same real-world approach to our work with grantmakers and businesses seeking to make their money go further and achieve more productive and authentic community connections.

The products and services we have developed and disseminated are having a real and sustained impact on the fortunes and effectiveness of many thousands of not-for-profit organisations across the country and the grantmakers, businesses and community builders who work alongside them. This has had immeasurable flow-on effects for the health and success of Australian society as a whole.

In 2019, we launched the latest step in our mission, Our Community House - a co-working space that provides a space where not-for-profit organisations, social enterprises, peak bodies, government agencies and socially minded businesses work together alongside academics, data scientists and communications professionals in the quest for faster and more effective social change. OC House fosters a fundamentally different work culture, one that respects its employees' desire for an authentic life balance, while offering the opportunity to shape the world, and help others to do the same.

Our Community that leads Australia in providing a model for socially minded businesses. We operate under a cross-subsidisation model, aiming to reach as many organisations as possible at the lowest cost possible. Paid products and services (e.g. newsletters, books, training, SmartyGrants subscriptions, jobs listings) subsidise free or reduced-cost ones (no or low cost fundraising through GiveNow, the free Policy Bank, the free Board Matching Service, etc.). Many of the things we do turn a profit, but everything we do must contribute to our social objectives.



How we work

In November 2022, following a five-month pilot, we officially adopted a four-day work week, using the 80-20-80 rule: (80% time; 100% pay; 100% productivity). We are loving our new way of working! You can read all about it here.

On a day-to-day basis our Manifesto is our north star:

We are dogmatic and passionate. We strive for fairness and we question authority. We accept increments, but strive for revolution. We use our balance sheet to create social change.

We are tolerant of risks and failures. We celebrate success and learn from our mistakes.

We believe in a work environment that allows for an authentic work-life balance. We value our flat structure: we share the cleaning as well as the decision-making.

Ethics, inspiration and innovation are at our core.

Our ideal environment is at the edge of chaos - the estuary region where rigid order and random chaos meet and generate high levels of adaptation, complexity and creativity.

You can also read our service pledge to see our committment to our clients.



How we survive

Our Community is a self-sustaining enterprise that was seed-funded by a forward-thinking group of social investors.

Founding Group Managing Director Denis Moriarty and founding Chair Carol Schwartz AO led a group of social investment pioneers - Justin Liberman, Dan Phillips, Dr Richard Reed, Lou Panaccio - who became the first social investors in Australia to fund a private company established solely to enhance the social good.

The seed investment enabled Our Community to start up in 1999, ride through the tech-wreck saga that emerged soon after, and grow to a point of self-sustainability.

We now proudly turn a profit while at the same time providing essential products and services for free or at prices low enough for even the smallest community group to be able to afford. Our social mission remains at our core.

Our independence means we're also able to play an advocacy role, speaking with an independent voice about the needs of not-for-profit organisations of all sizes and types.



Who we work with

Not-for-profits are our key partners in our work to build stronger, more inclusive communities. They're the experts.

Tens of thousands of groups have joined up as members, signed up for one of our newsletters, read our online materials, attended one of our workshops or conferences, or used our products.

We also work with peak bodies, philanthropists, social investors, grantmakers and community development professionals in government agencies, particularly at local government level, where community advocacy is particularly strong.

A key part of our work takes place in concert with business. We believe that business is good and can do good. We partner with businesses who feel the same way about their role in creating shared value for the communities in which they work.

We apply an ethical screen to our purchasing decisions (for example, we won't buy things from or do business with companies that don't have women on their boards). You can read about the businesses we work with and why.



How we came into being

Like any pioneering, innovative and risky idea, Our Community was born from the wisdom, passion and experience of a small number of highly committed people.

Chief among those was founder Denis Moriarty, who gained his inspiration from his time as a Fellow in the Vincent Fairfax Fellowship program then run by the St James Ethics Centre.

Denis was one of the inaugural 15 Australians in 1995 to be awarded the Vincent Fairfax scholarship to explore issues of leadership and ethics. He pays tribute to the Vincent Fairfax Foundation for his inspiration in starting Our Community and for its ongoing commitment to ethical leadership.

Another person integral to the genesis of Our Community was the founding chair and lead investor, Carol Schwartz AO - an outstanding leader, thinker and achiever. In addition, Rhonda Galbally worked at Our Community until her departure in 2009.

Then there was the founding team (and their families) - some of whom began working before the organisation officially began. These were the "true believers" - people who left very senior jobs in business and in communities and hacked the long nights, early mornings, no weekends and many uncertainties inherent in breathing life into this highly experimental model.

Patrick Moriarty, Brian Walsh, Kate Caldecott, Rose Mircevski and Chris Borthwick were there from the start - Our Community owes much to their passion and perseverance.

The team has grown considerably but never waned in its good humour, high standards, passion and dogma for pursuing the ambitious task we have set ourselves.

You can read more about our history and our achievements in our first years of operation in our 15 year report. (PDF).



How you can stay informed

The easiest way to remain in the loop is to subscribe for our free newsletter, Our Community Matters, and our email promotions and updates.

Our Community Matters



How we know that it's working

Some indicators (as at October 2022) of the impact we are having include:

  • $64 million generated by our activities and re-invested into building more tools and resources
  • 165,000+ individuals educated through our training and conferences
  • 4,200+ connections made between not-for-profits and new board members
  • 9,000+ pages of capacity-building web content created
  • 120,000+ pages of capacity-building newsletter content created and disseminated
  • 55+ capacity-building books published
  • Partnering in a revolution in banking and legal services for not-for-profits
  • 50,000 hours and $2 million saved for not-for-profits through the creation and free distribution of templates for policies and procedures
  • Creation of tailored training for not-for-profits, including Australia's first diploma-level course for not-for-profit directors
  • $180 million collected in donations for 5300 not-for-profits (including millions that would otherwise have gone in fees)
  • Convening of 56 thought-leadership conferences
  • 1,100,000+ grant applications processed via our grantmaking software
  • Countless hours saved by grantmakers and grantseekers via the same software
  • 500+ grantmakers using our software, our "benevolent Trojan horse" for spearheading grantmaking reform

(We recognise that many of the items listed above are outputs, not impacts. Like many for-purpose organisations, we're still working on finding the best ways to more meaningfully and reliably assess and measure these difficult but important concepts.)

The other way that we know what we are doing is working is that people tell us so. In fact, one of the joys of working at Our Community is the amazing amount of great feedback we get about our written materials, websites, tools, conferences and events.

Our Community has won a variety of awards, including the 2007 'Cool Company' Social Capitalist Award, an Australian Marketing Institute Award for Marketing Excellence and a 2010 Rotary Community Service Award. We were a finalist in the 2018 Telstra Business Awards in the Social Change Maker category, and in 2020 won the Technology for Community Impact Award in the Best Private Sector Organisation category.

During our time as a B Corp, Our Community was included for four consecutive years in the B Labs "Best for the World" (Community) honours list - a designation recognising those in the top 10% of all accredited B Corporations worldwide.



Our service pledge

We treat our members and customers as we like to be treated by the people and organisations that we interact with - as decent human beings. We approach every interaction with goodwill and assume others will do the same.

We do our absolute best to quickly and accurately answer any question or request for assistance, whether by phone or email (though we do prefer email). We despatch orders quickly - usually on the same day as payment clears.

In our interactions with members, customers and partners, we pledge to:

  • Be human: Our Community will use a respectful, conversational voice, and will avoid scripts and the use of corporate doublespeak.
  • Be personal: Our Community staff use their real names and a personal touch.
  • Be accountable: Our Community will make it easy for members and customers to contact us and will participate in public dialogue, where appropriate, to demonstrate our accountability.
  • Be ready: Our Community anticipates that problems will and do occur from time to time. We pledge to respond swiftly, intelligently and empathetically.
  • Be honest: Our Community will demonstrate our good intentions by speaking plainly, honestly and candidly with customers about any issues that might arise.

Our expectations of members, customers and partners:

  • Be understanding: We hope you will show the respect, good humour and kindness to people inside Our Community that you'd like shown to you.
  • Be yourself: It would be great if you could use a consistent identity in your interactions with us - this helps to foster a long-term relationship.
  • Be helpful: Please recognise that problems sometimes occur and give Our Community the information and time required to competently address any issues that do arise.
  • Be fair: We ask that you share any issues that you're having with us directly, or in a setting that gives us an opportunity to respond, so we can work with you to solve problems.
  • Be open: Please trust in Our Community's good intentions and be open to what we have to say.

Our Manifesto (PDF) says some more about who we are and how we work.

Privacy Policy

We are as concerned about your data and privacy as you are, and we do our best to protect it. You can read our full privacy policy.

Social Media Policy

We work hard to maintain a safe and friendly environment for our stakeholders, whether online or in person. While we encourage friends, followers and members of the public to share thoughts and opinions via our social media channels, we expect that this will be done in a respectful and relevant manner. As such, we reserve the right to remove any post and block/ban any user at our discretion.

You can read our full social media policy.



Our contact details

Email: service@ourcommunity.com.au

Phone: (03) 9320 6800



Still have questions?