Our Community news

Our Community News

OC HOUSE: Buzz builds ahead of opening

A diverse array of for-purpose organisations are planning to join Victoria's first data-focused co-working hub for the social sector, Our Community House.

POLICY: What to expect (at work) when you're expecting

Pregnant women have the right to nap at work when they need to, under a new pregnancy and parenting policy implemented at Our Community last month. We spoke to executive director Kathy Richardson about how the new policy was developed, and how it might be adopted by other workplaces.

ACNC: Commission seeks new measures for not-for-profit health

The ACNC is looking for new ways to measure success in the sector, but not everyone is happy.

INSPIRATION: Find focus with the Festival of Community Directors

Australia's first-ever year-long celebration of community governance, the 2019 Festival of Community Directors, has just been launched, and the program is jam-packed with inspirational, informative and celebratory events.

CONFERENCE: Communities in Control set to shake things up

Imagine this. One thousand delegates fired up by campaigners, mavericks, advocates, radicals, intellectuals and artists at the same time as Australians go to the polls. Expect fireworks.

LEGAL: New accounting rules for not-for-profits

Not-for-profits will need to revise their approach to assessing income following the introduction of new accounting standards. The changes affect assets and volunteer services received by organisations for much less than "fair value". Find out more.

PAT'S TIPS: Seeing the big picture crucial to your survival

ICDA's executive director and head of training, Patrick Moriarty, has seen the best and worst of not-for-profit governance. Here are his thoughts on the challenges facing the sector this year. Plus: Watch his video now.

#GivingTuesday: Aussie, NZ giving campaign goes global

Australia's first giving platform GiveNow has been appointed as a regional leader for the global #GivingTuesday movement, just days before the fundraising service hits a $100-million milestone.

AGONY UNCLE: Paws for thought before blowing the whistle

Our Community's Agony Uncle, Christ Borthwick, deals advice on what to do when receiving gifts from charities.


Our Community's Thinker-in-Residence dives into the recent Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry and explains how will affect the community sector.

FUTURE 500: High hopes for scholarship winners

The first of our Future 500 Governance Leadership Scholarship winners have been announced. All the applicants showed great commitment to their causes, all of them driven by a passion for a purpose beyond profit.

ENTER AND WIN: NFP governance survey to build knowledge

The survey and resulting report will create a snapshot of key issues affecting the boards of not-for-profit organisations across Australia from the viewpoint of directors and senior staff. Complete the survey for your chance to win a prize bundle valued at $1080.

MEET THE TRAINER: How Lisa's ear for harmony is helping NFPs

We spoke with Our Community's latest addition to the training team, Lisa Jennings, about her involvement in the community sector, her passion for music, and what she loves about being in the classroom with community directors.

DIRECTORS: Good governance again in the spotlight in 2019

Former ACNC commissioner Susan Pascoe, now chair of the Community Directors Council, is well versed in the challenges and opportunities facing the community sector. She looks at what lies ahead for NFPs in 2019, and predicts a renewed focus on governance.

DIPLOMA WINNERS: Future leaders scoop up scholarships

A new generation of Australian not-for-profit leaders are on the cusp of gaining fresh skills, networks and credentials after winning a place in the first round of the Future 500 Leaders scholarships.

OPINION: Stop blaming politicians, start getting active

If the existing structures aren't working for you, then it's up to people to join a movement, or start something themselves, writes Our Community's Denis Moriarty.

RESEARCH: Study seeks to arrest fall in grassroots leaders

South Australian research has put a microscope onto the leadership of "grassroots associations" to find out what can be done to arrest the decline and to maintain vital organisations that provide critical social connections. Find out more.

GRANTWRITING: Don't hate me, I'm a grantwriter

The founder and director of Grant Professionals, Robert Palaricciotti, spoke to Grants Management Intelligence about how grantwriters are helping to improve the grantmaking industry.

ALAN SCHWARTZ: Introducing the Universal Commons

Leading Australian philanthropist Alan Schwartz is tackling one of the hardest challenges the planet faces: to put a true value on the social and natural capital of the world, including health, literacy, trust, clean water and biodiversity. Here's how.

SECTOR HELP: Introducing the Future 500 Leaders program

Up to 500 people from across Australia have the opportunity to win a part- scholarship to study for the Diploma of Business (Governance) thanks to the Trawalla Foundation and Our Community’s Institute of Community Directors Australia (ICDA).

CHRISTMAS: Give the gift of giving

Our Community's Thinker-in-Residence Chris Borthwick explains why donating to charity beats unwanted gifts at Christmas.

CULTURE SHOCK: Why Aussie game is just not cricket

The explosive review that picked over the toxic culture linked to Australian cricket's shameful ball tampering affair has laid bare the risks for leaders who think, "It can't happen to us".

MEASURE THIS: Funders the key to evidence-based practice

Our Community's chaos controller Kathy Richardson examines a future where there are proper incentives for using evidence, and where the dollars follow.

GARY BANKS (AO): What happened to evidence-based policy?

The past decade has seen a major decline in the use of evidence-based policy, and Prof Banks delves into why with reference to Humpty Dumpty, JFK and 'The Castle'.

RADIO WAVES: Tune in to the power of community

If anyone doubted the power of community to connect us, keep us healthier, and battle disadvantage, they'd need look no further than community radio.

ANALYSE THIS: Free tech tool for NFPs released

Not-for-profit directors wanting to know more about the performance of their organisations should be aware of a new free workplace analytics tool.

REACHING OUT: How to use your 'social connectors'

An Australian study into the role of these special individuals has described the incredible resource and potential they represent, particularly when it comes to engaging with people in the community whom services find the hardest to reach.

CHILD SAFETY: Action must follow national apology

While the apology was an important moment in Australian history, it will be the actions to safeguard children from abuse that matters most, writes Moores principal Skye Rose

#GIVINGTUESDAY: A wave of giving starts right here, right now

Community groups in this part of the world had the chance to be the first to get on board a growing global giving trend dubbed #GivingTuesday.

FUNDRAISING: Social media campaign is just gut instinct

Australian charity AusEE - which helps those with a rare gut disorder - is among organisations involved in the #GivingTuesday buzz. AusEE president Sarah Gray says the volunteer-run organisation relies on supporters to keep its work going, and runs several campaigns each year, using social media to get the message out.

WHAT'S NEXT? The future of grantmaking

Our Community's "chaos controller" explains how the Australian Institute of Grants Management (AIGM) and its sister enterprise The Innovation Lab are helping drive grants innovations such as automated shortlisting, AI-driven classification, smart maps and an outcomes engine.

GROWING UP: Greening Australia's culture shock

How Greening Australia reinvented itself, going from a bloated, self-interested and often dysfunctional not-for-profit to one with a powerful environmental agenda to save the world.

FINANCE HELP: Watchdog to tackle rip-offs

The head of the new Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA), which starts business on November 1, has promised easier access for the most vulnerable needing help with finance disputes.

PAY RATES: Reaction to entitlements ruling

A recent Federal Court case has sent shock waves among employers by allowing a casual employee to claim permanent employee entitlements even though he was paid a higher casual rate.

COMMENT: Culture is key to healthy community organisations

Companies, charities and community organisations that haven't yet been hauled over the coals should meditate on the word "yet", writes Our Community's Denis Moriarty. | Culture special report

NEED SUPPORT?: Taking your pitch from mediocre to memorable

A convincing pitch is a powerful tool you can use to unlock opportunities, form relationships with investors or volunteers, attract funding, and inspire new audiences.

GOOD PRACTICE: Good culture starts at the board table

Culture can make or break an organisation. Is your board doing all it can to create a good organisational culture?

SPELL IT OUT: Our Community's culture? Read the Manifesto

How Our Community's workplace "Manifesto" helps foster a good culture.

REGULATIONS: Whistleblowing law shake-up is "imminent"

Blowing the whistle on trouble could be the best thing you ever do for your organisation. Find out why.

AWARDS: Being treasurer is more than a numbers game

There's more to not-for-profit treasury than numbers, explains Suzana Vlahovic, one of four community treasurers awarded in the 2018 Commonwealth Bank Not-for-profit Treasurers' Awards.

EVENT WRAP: Board members aiming higher after conference

Community directors are better equipped to crack the code when it comes to regulation, data, culture, media, finances, legal challenges, their internal politics, and much more, following ICDA's recent conference in Melbourne.

LEGAL THREATS: Avoiding scandal by promoting good culture

Changing your company culture may help you prevent sexual harassment and child protection failures in the workplace, according to Moores principal lawyers Catherine Brooks and Skye Rose.

KEYNOTE: How Susan Pascoe sees the future for NFPs

Community directors face an unprecedented burden of increased regulation, decreased funding and low community trust, according to the former commissioner of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission, Susan Pascoe.

ACNC REVIEW: Sector welcomes findings

Thirty recommendations from a wide-ranging review into the operation of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) have been largely welcomed by the social sector following their release last month.

GOOD DATA: Why not-for-profits must do data better

Dr Lucy Bernholz, a world-recognised thinker on digital and data trends, and a specialist in helping not-for-profits manage digital assets better, says groups must improve the way they handle data, in the interests of keeping our civil society strong.

COMMENT: Reef grant is hardly gold standard

The Federal Government's close to half-billion dollar grant to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation isn't exactly best practice writes Thinker-in-Residence Chris Borthwick.

POLITICS: Libs turmoil gives sector new minister

ACT Senator Zed Seselja has been appointed the Federal Government's new minister responsible for charities and not-for-profits, the sector's sixth since 2013.

LEADERSHIP: Keenan Mundine on Indigenous leadership

There are many different paths to community leadership, but probably none so rarely travelled as the one taken by Keenan Mundine who went from a childhood on the Block in Redfern, to speaking on criminal responsibility to an audience at the United Nations.

DIVERSITY: The critical need for disability leadership

Christina Ryan, CEO and founder of the Disability Leadership Institute, has been examining what "disability leadership" is and how to use this information to combat the fall in Australia's global business rankings.

NEW SYSTEMS: DSS to revamp grants for families and children

The Federal Department of Social Services (DSS) is expected to make major changes to its $217 million annual grants programs aimed at families and children.

COMMENT: When is a charity not a charity?

Chris Borthwick, our Thinker-in-Residence, takles Tony Abbot's codemnation of the ACNC investigation into Catholic Education Melbourne, and asks the question "When is a charity not a charity?" and the equally important question, "When is a beard not a beard?"

DONATIONS: Community donors keep giving as others cut back

While the national trend in giving is facing a slump, donations through Our Community's donations platform, GiveNow, are at an all time high. The GiveNow team provides some insight into why and how they're fighting against the dip.

LEADERSHIP: If ethics is so obvious, why is it so hard?

Most not-for-profit leaders aim to set - and expect the people in their organisations to practise - high standards of ethical behaviour, but experts in the field of human behaviour and management say humans are irrational and tribal, and getting them to behave in a particular way isn't always easy.

VIDEO REPORT: What makes a good community leader?

What makes a good community leader? We asked the question of former Australian Human Rights Commission president GillianTriggs, US education pioneer Mary Gentile, political commentator Jamila Rizvi, animal rights advocate Philip Wollen, social researcher Hugh Mackay, and economist Nicholas Gruen, as well as several articulate delegates at our recent Communities in Control conference

DIVERSITY: Why diversity makes good sense for NFP leaders

A highly effective board should be representative of the community, or stakeholders, it exists to serve. This makes sense, right? You need people who understand the needs and wants of your organisation's stakeholders to effectively govern your organisation. And, gender diversity should be the easiest for your board to tackle.

RESOURCES: The trouble with good leadership

Our Community's Thinker-in-Residence Chris Borthwick cites Caeser and a recent CEO's meltdown in examining what not to do when trying to be a better leader. Plus, tap here to see more resources we have for NFP boards.

FINANCIAL HEALTH: Survey reveals treasurers' weak points

Top not-for-profit treasurer Sinead Glennon says treasurers must pay more attention to policies, risk management, cash management and planning, or they could be risking financial trouble.

LEARN TO LEAD: Inside the Australia Council's program

The Australia Council for the Arts - the federal government's arts funding and advisory body - provides specialist training for a nominal fee to selected upcoming and experienced arts leaders in a program that takes just 50 candidates per year. So what's involved?

SHARING THE LOAD: How to do more (with more)

In this article from the respected Nonprofit Quarterly, these US experts examine a highly effective way to more effective work with the same - or even less funds - while also reducing the stress on your organisation. (Reproduced with permission)

COMMENT: Thai caves rescue shows power of community

When disaster strikes, it is human nature that drives us to rush to the rescue, but it is good organisation that gives a rescue mission every chance of success, writes Our Community's Denis Moriarty.

ANALYSIS: The twin foundations of leadership

The Ethic Centre's Dr Simon Longstaff says good leaders may need to cope with unpopularity to challenge "unthinking" actions.

FINANCE: Top treasurer's advice, plus a chance to win

Top not-for-profit treasurer Sinead Glennon says treasurers must pay more attention to policies, risk management, cash management and planning, or they could be risking financial trouble. Plus enter the Treasurers' Awards now and win $5000 for your organisation.


OPINION: ASIC levy stems from a state-federal mess

ATO ADVICE: Tree planting is now less taxing

CROWDRAISERS: Charity sleep-out shoots for the stars

OUR CONFERENCE: Why it's time to put Communities in Control

GOOD BUSINESS: Our Community "Best for Community", again

LGBTQI+ LENS: Why our data scientists are chasing rainbows

VIDEO: Abuse survivor tells why this child safety toolkit is a must

DATA THREAT: NFP cyber attack highlights data dangers

WOMEN'S BUSINESS: The role of gender in winning grants

FREE DOWNLOAD: Equip yourself with our child safety toolkit

FREE POLICY: Improve your complaints process

PARTNERSHIPS: What are your legal options for collaboration?

PRO BONO POWER: Partnerships power free legal help

RISE OF THE MACHINES: Dangers of data on autopilot

POWER IN UNITY: Cooperate to propagate

KEYS TO CHANGE: Jocelyn's mission to end family violence

SHARE THE SPACE: Co-locate to collaborate

THEY SAID IT: How to make collaboration work

DATA: Astrophysicist turns to the grants universe

STUNNING: The Geelong Project's collaboration breakthrough

COMMUNITY: Backyard sessions bringing people together

SECURITY: How to manage passwords in your organisation

CROWDRAISE: Fundraising tool gives people the power, for less

COLLABORATION: Community Directors Intelligence tells you how

PARTNERSHIPS: The Impact Assembly's change agenda


CONNECTIONS: 50 hot tips for finding the right business partner

VIDEO: to boost directors' credentials

SECTOR TRENDS: The big issues for not-for-profits

ON ADVOCACY: When it's time to speak out

HELP SHEET: The 12 rules of advocacy

STAND STRONG: Why advocacy is crucial for not-for-profits

DATA FOCUS: New not-for-profit chief's advocacy warning

CHARITY SHAKEUP: So what do US tax changes mean for us?

PEOPLE POWER: How GetUp grabbed your attention

ADVOCACY TOOLKIT: How to change a law

THINKING AHEAD: Our Community House announced

TALENT: Meet the Community Directors Council

ETHICAL DECISIONS: Get help with a free independent helpline

GREAT QUOTES: Mobilising the grassroots to create change

ADVICE: How to communicate with clout

CHILDREN: How Royal Commission into child abuse affects you


DATA DRIVE: CLASSIE system has new bells and whistles

BOYCOTT: Why Our Community wants Oz Day date to change

ORDER OF AUSTRALIA: Unrepresentative, uncaring, unchanged

TAX RULING: Decision less taxing on directors' decisions

SOCIAL IMPACT: Airbnb turns to community groups

MEET THE TRAINER: Patrick Moriarty

HELP SHEET: Eighteen tech tools for the 2018 not-for-profit

FIRST PERSON: Random Hacks of Kindness

HEALTHY COMMUNITIES: How are your community's Vital Signs?

MAPPING SOCIAL COHESION: We're still sticking together, just

FUNDRAISING: Why loyalty is such a powerful motivator

GLOBAL: Community groups the frontline of inequality fight

GOVERNANCE: Community directors' scholarships open doors

RESOURCES: IT help - free, discounted, donated

FUNDRAISING: Spread the load to build financial sustainability

ADVICE: Top five financial questions for not-for-profits

RSL's finance battle a lesson for us all

SUSAN PASCOE: Top regulator joins forces with Our Community