4 events in three weeks


Tom DawkinsIt’s going to be a busy second half of August.

A few events for your consideration:

Next week my workday organisation, the Inner North Community Foundation, hosts Tom Dawkins, social entrepreneur and crowdfunding specialist, co-founder of Start Some Good (Dream Big, Raise Funds, Do Some Good) Director of the Australian Changemakers Festival and before that Social Media Director at Ashoka: Innovators for the Public, the world’s leading organisation supporting social entrepreneurs with a presence in over 50 countries.

Tom has a wealth of experience in identifying, articulating and enacting good ideas for social change, and a great perspective on fundraising and developing support.

Come and hear him at a free impromptu PLuGIN at the Inner North Community Foundation on Thursday 29 August at 10am (Level 2, 192 -198 High Street Northcote).

Please rsvp to info@innernorthfoundation.org.au as seating is limited.

At the end of this week and early next week, the Australian Women Donors’ Network hosts Colleen Willoughby, often described as is described as the ‘mother of giving circles in America’ in Melbourne and Perth.  If you are quick you can catch her tomorrow 21 August in Brisbane.   Colleen will be giving a fundraising masterclass, philanthropy masterclasses and talks on collective social impact.  It is my understanding she was one of the inspirations behind Impact100 WA and its southeasterly neighbour, Impact100 Melbourne.

The Australian Communities Foundation is gearing up for their annual Philanthropy and Ethics Debate at the Melbourne Writers Festival on Sunday 1 September. Panellists include Mary Crooks from the Victorian Womens Trust, (ozphilanthropy reviewed the 2010 and 2011 events.)

and finally, Monday evening 2 September, the Maimonides Society (Swinburne Philanthropy Alumni) presents Catherine Brown, Chief Executive Officer of the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Fund at Westpac’s BT Centre Level 24, 367 Collins Street at 6pm.  Incidentally, Catherine has a wealth of knowledge on community foundations, and developed the community foundations handbook that many of us used as an essential reference in early days of development.

So much to do, so much information so much to learn, . . . .

Hoping to see you at some of these events.

Sharon

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Bermuda Community Foundation


myra

Dr Myra Virgil (Photo by Akil Simmons)

Just a shout out to my colleague, Myra Virgil, who went through the Senior International Fellows Program with me last month – congratulations on your story highlighting the establishment of the Bermuda Community Foundation in the Royal Gazetteonline.

The article is by blogger and writer Jessie Moniz who has graciously granted me permission to give you a teaser.  Thanks also to editor, Jeremy Deacon.

“Dr Myra Virgil is using lessons learned from a prestigious American grantmaking fellowship to create an organisation that will provide an enduring source of funds for local charities — many of whom are currently locked into a life or death struggle for survival due to the current economic climate.

Read the rest of the article here.

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A tale of two community foundations


 

new-york

Once upon a time there was a community foundation dedicated to a large vibrant and bustling city (let’s call it Gotham).  Its focus was on supporting the wishes of donors in their philanthropic goals through donor advised funds (donors advise where they would like their gifts to go).  The community foundation was established 90 years ago, and over time had accumulated large assets, all the while supporting the intentions and interests of their many donors.

The city also grew, and in time, one of its boroughs was in itself large enough in population, that in any other situation it could have been considered a city itself (yet it remained a borough, one of five).  brooklyn-bridge

People in the borough felt that they needed more specific support for their community, and that they had a particular identity of their own, their own community spirit, and a desire to focus their work within their own geographic boundaries, and to have more say and direction in where philanthropic funds were being directed.  So, just a few years ago they set up their own community foundation, but instead of just putting funds where the donors told them to, they set up “fields of interest”funds like  Arts for All,Caring NeighborsCommunity DevelopmentEducation & Youth Achievement, and Green Communities after exploring where the needs of the community actually lay, and invited donors to contribute specifically to these areas.

One of the questions which has been the source of recent  impassioned discussion , has been about what the role of philanthropic organisations, particularly community foundations, really is.

Should donors who have money be able to dictate what social needs should be addressed, simply because they have money? Does this give them more authority in determining the future direction of our communities?  As one of my colleagues says, donors are not elected, they do not have a mandate to create policy, so how is it that they can wield such power over our communities? (even if this is for the perceived good of the community).

Or should the community and community need be the driving force for philanthropy – in that the needs and problems should be identified first, and then the means to address and resolve them?

Bernadino Casadei from the Italian Association of Foundations believes that people have a moral imperative to give and that this is what makes one human, and that his role is to facilitate philanthropy, while remaining neutral in the distribution of philanthropic largesse.

Another view is that the needs of the community must be paramount, and the absolute starting point for any discussion about giving and philanthropy.

This is all particularly interesting for me, as the community foundation where I work started with an idea around community need (particularly employment), while our next door neighbour community foundation, has a donor focussed approach, highlighting parallels between the fable this post started out with (albeit on a much smaller scale).

Is one approach better than the other? What is the role of philanthropy?  How can we balance two seemingly diametrically opposed starting points in order to work better, and perhaps more collaboratively?

This is of course, just a simple exploratory exposition of some of the ideas flowing around me at the moment, which will require deeper reading, discussion and thought.

It would be great to hear your thoughts on this, as it seems to speak to a key question of what is the role of philanthropy, particularly in a community foundations setting.

tbc . . . .

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Senior International Fellows in Philanthropy


Image A little quiet lately as about to embark on some professional development at the City University of New York’s Graduate Center, Center for Philanthropy and Civil Society.  They run a Senior (as in old(er)) International Fellows Program for people in the community foundations sector and take only 6 or 7 participants each year (all from outside the US), so I will be joined by colleagues with vast and varied experience from Bermuda, Italy, Czech Republic, South Africa, India and New Zealand.

It’s four weeks of seminars, site visits to not for profits and philanthropic leaders here, as well as the development of a paper which will hopefully be relevant and useful to our own organisations.  I’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime – there are a couple of things happening you should try to get along to – such as Kevin Murphy (who will be the keynote speaker at the Philanthropy Australia AGM on 16 April) – from the Council on Foundations and president of the Berks County Community Foundation, but will also be speaking at an event hosted by the Australian Communities Foundation at Macquarie 101 Collins Street Melbourne on 16 April at 6pm, on Global Giving and the Australian Leadership Challenge:Global Trends, Local Challenges, Better Giving – together with another international guest speaker Roberta d’Eustachio of Ambassadors for Philanthropy,  Hosted by Simon McKeon AO, Executive Chairman, Macquarie Group, Melbourne.  RSVP to Australian Communities Foundation.

Another event which may be of interest is being hosted by the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation in early May and of course, not being at my desk -I don’t have the details on me.  It’s not the Lady Mayoress’ Garden Party – so if you think you want to find out more, give them a hoy to ask about it (even if I suspect it might be invitation only).

That’s all for now,

Let me know if things are coming up which might be of interest to others and I will endeavour to record them.

best

Sharon

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Philanthropy, Old, New and Enduring


Chris Baker

Dr Christopher Baker

Last week I attended a forum entitled Philanthropy, Old, New and Enduring presented by Swinburne University’s Asia Pacific Centre for Social Investment and Philanthropy in conjunction with O’Keefe and Partners. 

Julie Johnson, Managing Director at O’Keefe Partners, presented on giving trends research which they undertake annually, evaluating changes in performance and perceptions from not for profits.  It was apparent from much of the information presented that perceptions are radically different to performance and I don’t know how valuable that is in practical terms when one is trying to implement a fundraising plan. But what was quite interesting was to see that corporate sponsorship had increased in 2011 – 2012, and differences in donor segmentation.  By that we mean – who are the most philanthropic amongst us as ranked by age.  The research presented indicated that people aged 40 – 59 are a new part of the population who are giving now, joining the 60 – 74 year olds, and that their charitable emphasis is on social and family welfare and education (which probably reflects where they are in their lives and their focus on family).

One key change in perceptions which I did find useful, was in the challenges faced by not for profit organisations.  Apparently, for the first time, charitable competition is a key factor, or something that organisations are taking into consideration, joining issues such as the economy, acquisition costs (ie costs of fundraising) and the global financial crisis.

The good news is that the research indicated there will be growth in the philanthropic landscape in the next 3 -5 years with an increase in the giving pool, and that people want to put money where it will make a difference, but also want to see accountability and transparency.  Key motivations seem to be wanting to invest in society and making it a better place.

Dr Christopher Baker from Swinburne then spoke on his research on Inheritance and Charitable Giving, which involved a long search into Victorian probate records from 2006 to see where, if any, charitable bequests were being made.

The data showed that inevitably, immediate family are the main beneficiaries of wills and that 9/10ths goes to children.  Only 1 in 20 wills make a charitable bequest which make up 1% of the total value of the testamentary trusts, and the wealthy do not give more proportionally than the less well off.

The data represents a snapshot of the intentions of people who were mostly born before 1930, giving weight to Dr Baker’s assertion that he has concluded that “it is indeed older people who tend to die” and therefore people who had a particular life experience including living through the depression, World War II and the norm of nuclear families. Dr Baker points out that in 2006 Australia had experienced its 15th consecutive year of growth in net wealth (with 55% of wealth held in houses and 70% home ownership), so that when these over 80 year olds passed away, they were mostly relatively comfortable and their children would arguably be in their 50s and no longer necessarily economically dependent (thus perhaps leaving space for a charitable bequest without this being to the detriment of the family if only one had thought of it at the time of amending/updating one’s will).

Probate is a record of personal assets held at time of death and excludes superannuation.  Apparently there are 35,000 deaths each year in Victoria.  Of the probate records sampled by Dr Baker, out of 1700 final estates (with no surviving spouse) 91 bequests were made to charities and 75% of the records viewed were of estates less than $500,000.  The value of total bequests studied was $11 million, but the typical – ie median bequest was $20,500.  Dr Baker’s studies showed that smaller estates left a larger proportion to charity.  However, he notes that the probate data under-represents the very wealthy who may well have other vehicles for investment (such as trusts etc) outside their personal estate.

What was interesting is that 80% of estates of people with children left nothing to charity, but people without children were 10 times more likely to leave a charitable distribution.

A national study (excluding Queensland*) will be undertaken by Dr Baker next year, and it will be interesting to see if there are state differences.

As an aside, Include a Charity is a new campaign aimed at increasing people’s awareness about making charitable bequests and providing more information to financial and legal advisers.

The session ended with a short panel discussion.

Does your organisation have a bequests strategy?  On the basis of this data, one might be discouraged from even considering chasing bequests – is it too hard? or is it a blue-sky opportunity?

How do you feel about bequests in your own situation?    Is an argument for “giving while living” a contradiction of the benefits of giving through bequests?

Let me know what you think – I look forward to your comments.

* Apparently the Queensland Government has denied a request to waive search fees on probate records for Dr Baker’s research, so they will be excluded from the study.

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Season’s Greetings


for those of you who know I love both classical music and flashmobs. . . . . . and to all my ozphilanthropy readers, a happy new year.

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Philanthropic Investing in Aboriginal Women & Girls


effective-philanthropy

Guest post by Carolyn Munckton

Last month, I had the great pleasure of attending the AMP Foundation’s launch of an outstanding new research report called The Best of Every Woman:  An Overview of Approaches for Philanthropic Investment in Aboriginal Women and Girls.

It’s a long title and a reasonably long read (hence it’s taken me a while to write this blog piece), but it is worth it for current and potential funders of Indigenous programs and organisations.

The research report was put together for the AMP Foundation by leading philanthropy research consultancy Effective Philanthropy.

The facts and statistics on the challenges and disadvantage faced by Aboriginal people in Australia are stark and confronting.  The report includes a lot of this illuminating detail that shows how Aboriginal people are the most socio-economically disadvantaged group in Australia.  “Many families and communities are caught in a cycle of poverty, with poor health, high levels of single parenthood, low education, high rates of unemployment, low incomes, poor access to essential services and high levels of involvement in the justice system.” 1

The Best of Every Woman report advocates investing in programs to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, who can then act as catalysts for social change in their local communities.

This is powerful stuff and also pretty obvious.  Maybe I’m biased because until recently I was a board member of the Australian Women Donors Network and was involved in getting the network established. For the past four years, I’ve been helping to spread the word about the need for philanthropic investment in women and girls to overcome disadvantage and to fulfill the potential of women and girls.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women play a critical role in leading improvements in the health and wellbeing of their families and communities.

The report presents a number of case studies that demonstrate this.

The AMP Foundation should be congratulated for commissioning this report to determine how social investment might best support Aboriginal woman and girls.

As well as discussing the challenges that Aboriginal women and girls can face the report importantly identifies a framework for philanthropists and policy-makers to identify programs that can support the next generation of Aboriginal women and girls to reach their education, career and life aspirations.

Key findings of the report include:

  • A non-linear education pathway is common amongst Aboriginal women.
  • The availability of culturally appropriate childcare has an important role to play in an Aboriginal woman’s decision to defer taking up further study or work.
  • Facilitating access to information and networks can have a significant effect.
  • Supporting and strengthening cultural identity is important.
  • Leadership support and growth capital could drive future successes.

There is plenty of detail in the report that will help funders better understand the current barriers for Aboriginal women and girls and the potential they have to achieve and create positive life outcomes for themselves, their families and their communities.

The report identifies the types of programs that can support Aboriginal women and girls to overcome the barriers and importantly, the key success factors that can be used when designing, funding and/or delivering those programs.

The report’s Foreword has been written by Professor Kerry Arabena, Director of the School for Indigenous Health, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University, who also spoke at the Melbourne launch that I attended.  Professor Arabena said that young Aboriginal people are positive about the future and have moved away from seeing themselves as disadvantaged and are ready to take advantage of Australia’s profound opportunities.  She was extremely positive about the potential for change and she urged the audience to take the opportunity to affect and support this change.

I think the next generation of philanthropists and philanthropic funders will accept this challenge and tools like The Best of Every Woman report will guide and support the change.

Effective Philanthropy consultants Regina Hill and Louise Doyle have done a great job in pulling all of this research together and consulted with a wide range of organisations and people involved with delivering programs and services to Aboriginal people right across Australia.

There are a number of philanthropic trusts and foundations that currently fund Indigenous programs and many of these were also consulted.

This report will be very useful for current funders and for those who want to get involved and help make a difference.  It is a daunting area of philanthropy and one were mistakes can easily be made.  This report can be used to inform future program design, funding and delivery so that support for Aboriginal women and girls can effectively contribute to social change and improvements for many Aboriginal people – men, women, boys and girls.

[1] The Best of Every Woman, page 23

About Carolyn Munckton

Carolyn was an inaugural board member of the Australian Women Donors Network (2009-12) and recently became a director of the Inner North Community Foundation because she loves the idea of local people supporting their local communities.  She has so far waded through two units in the Masters of Social Investment and Philanthropy at Swinburne University.

You can find her semi-regular thoughts and readings on philanthropy and fundraising in Twitter handle @carolynmunckton.

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Giving Circles and Impact100 WA


James Boyd from artsupport Australia was the guest of Swinburne Philanthropy Alumni at the final Maimonides Society event for the year.

James has been involved in the establishment of Impact100 WA which is a giving circle based on the 14 highly successful Impact100 giving circles in the United States, originally established by Wendy Steele in Cincinatti in 2001.

James gave a highly entertaining presentation which clearly posited the benefits of giving circles – as opposed to donor circles – and how to set them up successfully to ensure sustainability. While Impact100 WA is only in its first year, James spent some time last year as one of the winners of the 2010 FIA Perpetual Scholarship visiting and studying giving circles in the US.

James stressed that some of the language is interchangeable – collective giving groups or collaborative giving groups – but that the importance is on them being giving groups and not donor groups – with the main difference being that they are set up by people who choose a cause – not a cause or a not for profit which then mobilises its donors.

Here’s the giving circles guide for dummies which James shared with us which you might find amusing and instructive: How to start a Womens’ Giving Circle, aka the Barbie video.

From James’ interviews and study in the US it was clear that while giving circles are more popular with women (participant gender ratio is 80% women to 20% men) there are several other common attributes to successful giving circles:

they have at least 5 participants
an agreed minimum donation amount and time frame
clear decision making processes on how to distribute to agreed charities
money in/money out – ie the giving circle does not create an endowment – gifts are spent in the year they are pledged
the circle is donor driven – not cause driven or fundraiser driven or organised by a charity or not for profit.
encouragement of donor participation and education
a social element
formality varies depending on size.

James spoke about Colleen Willoughby from the Washington Womens Foundation and how their ideal was to mobilise womens’ interests to give them knowledge about their community. That group now has 500 donors contributing $2000 each which gives them $1,000,000 to distribute each year. Their keys to success: donor education, learning and leadership. They make very few grants of less than $100,000 because they want to see real impact within their community. This highly professionally organised giving circle was contrasted with the Portland Giving Circle which has 12 women who contribute $500 each. They give one grant of $6000 to a women rising out of poverty in Portland through the Portland Community Foundation – and have now created an alumni of the women they have supported. Although organised in a more ad hoc manner, the impact on the community and benefits back to the women donating through their satisfaction and pride in participating are equally valuable.

Giving circles demonstrate other long term benefits such as a high number of members contributing additional funds to programs supported, high percentage of giving circle donors participating in not for profit boards, high level of support for charities’ fundraising efforts, pro bono support and increased volunteering through their experience of close engagement with the organisations supported through the giving circles. In addition members share their learnings through speaking engagements on community issues, philanthropy and giving.

James talked about both intrinsic and extrinsic advantages of giving circles:
power by numbers – they make you feel like a major donor as you are part of something bigger
they create an engaged, enhanced and shared giving process
enable less wealthy people to be involved
informal and flexible
create enriched community involvement
&
can support “risky” projects
suit hard economic times
are ideal for rural or remote communities
create scope for advocacy
appeal to men and women
success breeds success
they bring new money to the philanthropic sector.

While there are many models for giving circles, ranging from the very large to the very small, some of the key elements remain the same:

Some of decisions needed to be made in setting up a giving circle include:
What do you want your impact to be – and where do you want your impact to be?
What causes are you interested in?
What size do you want to aspire to?
What are your short and long term objectives?
What is the donation level? (hint – most common in US is $1,000 with the average being $2,500)
What is your communications strategy?
What’s the giving process – ie through a central point or directly to the non profit
What is the application process, assessment process, reporting process for recipients?
What is the circle’s commitment to education and social engagement?
Are there admin costs? What will they be?
Workload – how much and who will do it?
Sustainability – the big question.

Impact100 WA determined a cause area – youth at risk, and used this as the hook to find more donors to join the circle. There is an emphasis on equality of all members, so people who might contribute more dollars still only have one vote when it comes to determining recipients. Impact100 WA decided to incorporate as an entity, but not to seek DGR, so they have all funds directed to the Australian Communities Foundation which then provides tax deductible receipts to all donors.

This year Impact100 WA distributed their first $100,000 to an organisation which made it through from 28 applications and a several tiered shortlisting process. According to James, the keys to success for Impact100 WA are: leadership, visible impact, member equality, 100% distribution of funds, education and learning, professionalism and excellent communication.

Seri Renkin also presented on her experience of being part of a giving circle, initially through Social Ventures Australia‘s Angel Network, and then through an informal extension of this. Seri’s group targeted financially independent women wanting to support women, children and young people in Victoria. Her group of ten participants contribute $5000 per year and have had to evaluate how they can create impact and support organisations without being a drain on them. They initially undertook a large amount of due diligence and research, but realised they were being overanalytical and have now moved to a more flexible approach. They particularly wanted to invest in capacity rather than programs. Seri spoke with great passion of their commitment to social change, the importance of evaluation and reflection, the need to understand how far your money is going, and the impact it makes on the sector.

Both Seri’s and James’ examples demonstrate that great impact can come even from smaller contributions – in passing Seri mentioned a local group which contributed funds towards an air conditioner so that women in a prison could spend more time making tee-shirts, (which they enjoyed doing), in a room which had previously been overheated and thus restricted the amount of time they could spend there.

Another example of a giving circle is the Awesome Foundation, also based on an international model, where ten people contribute $1,000 per year and have an open process for applications from an “awesome” project. Still growing strong in Melbourne, their most recent grant has been recently awarded to a project alleviating street poverty in Burkina Faso.

Further reading:

What do you think of giving circles? Are you aware of any that work in a different way? How likely would you be to join one? What do you think the drawbacks might be?

I look forward to your comments.

Sharon

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Not for Profit Summit – keynote speaker Debra Allcock-Tyler


Debra Allcock-Tyler photo from Civilsociety.co.uk

I heard the most amazing speaker last week at the Not for Profit Summit presented by the Office of the Community Sector in the Department of Planning and Community Development at Geelong.

Debra Allcock-Tyler is the CEO of the Directory of Social Change in the UK which has “a vision of an independent voluntary sector at the heart of social change”. Debra gave two keynote addresses, the second of which I will report on here.

The theme was around Big Society in the UK. Debra began by describing this policy idea as being like hay. “Good ideas get fed to the horse and what comes out the other end is . . . . .”

Debra spoke about three planks of Big Society:
1) Localism
2) Reform of Public Services
3) Community Engagement

Localism
In the UK, power has been devolved to local authorities, and in the new scheme of things there is a right to challenge. What this means is that not for profits can tell local authorities that they would like to tender to provide various services, but that then the tender process becomes highly bureaucratised, and the successful bidders are usually private contractors.  Debra’s highly amusing yet sad example of this was of a neighbour whose house backs onto a sports oval which has fallen into disuse and disarray.  The neighbour went to the local council to see if she could obtain a grant to buy some materials to enable her and some local volunteers clean up the space (ie wheelbarrow, whipper snipper, protective clothing, rubbish disposal).  The council thought this was such as good idea that they decided to clean up all the local sports areas, but under EU procurement rules, this needs to go out to tender. 

So it ended up that a commercial contracting firm was employed to come in every now again to mow and tidy, thus losing the local investment, community engagement and care which would have ensued should the neighbour have been able to organise this as a community activity for her particular sportsground.  The policy thus ends up with outsourcing, and not with local people, whereas if the funds had been provided as a grant, this would not have been the case.

Public Service Reform

Debra is of the view that governments think improvement is about making things cheaper, but if you drive down price you are driving down quality.  If the government is constantly seeking to reduce costs this ends up “marketizing” the public services.  The example cited was the Work Programme. This involves private contractors hiring charities to take on their more difficult cases in work placement, as the private contractors are more interested in only dealing with the cases which they can get through efficiently and quickly (and cheaply). The response from the charities involved in having the more difficult cases thrust to them is that they may not be able to see out their contracts, as they don’t have the resources to adequately support those client who need the most care and time. I know this is sounding terribly dry, so I apologise for not having managed to convey the delight, humour and wit of Debra’s speech. What she was trying to do I think was to convey a warning to us here, to be very wary of potential changes in public policy in this area.

Debra was particularly scathing of the voluntary sector (as she calls it – we would call it the not for profit sector) in colluding with government in allowing the outsourcing and tendering processes to occur, rather than calling for grants. Another example she gave was where a contract might have been awarded to ABBS.co.uk (a bunch of blokes with shovels) to clean up the canal, rather than allowing local volunteers to be engaged through the Friends of the Canal, and build their sense of community and ownership. (further research tells us that the Friends of the Canal are now in full swing – and across all of England).

It is important, Debra stressed, for the voluntary sector not to collude and only apply for money through tenders as if that were the only way to get funding. Her view is that this would not lead to long-term outcomes – because sometimes the not for profit sector organisations get distracted from their core mission and purpose in chasing the tender money trail. Debra reminded us to always go back to the core:

Who are we? What we are here to do? Who do we want to serve? What are our values and vision?

Debra also made some rather pithy comments about social investment (which I have been meaning to write about for some time and promise to do so soon). This is basically where charities are able to borrow funds in order to carry out their mission (and must repay them). Why, for goodness sakes? asks Debra, should the not for profit sector, which has been so good at not being in debt (compared to the private sector and the government) be encouraged to go into debt, at a time when there is too much debt? (a very interesting take on it).

Debra disagrees that the voluntary/nfp sector should become more like business (after all didn’t business pretty much stuff up the economy?) and she warned against colluding (that word again) with the idea that the not for profit sector is unprofessional. On the contrary, she stated that governance is much stronger and more rigorous in the voluntary sector. Debra also spoke briefly about the Great Giving Campaign which also aims to move away from the idea of handouts, but the acknowledgement of generously given gifts, particularly as grants and foundations provide the most sustainable form of income in the UK for the voluntary sector.

With a final nod to the ACNC, Debra spoke highly of the UK Charities Commission, saying how welcome it was there, and not a body to be feared. It is completely independent of government, is there to protect the public, and is a good body.

Debra concluded with an apt quotation from George Bernard Shaw:
This is the true joy in life, being used for a purpose recognised by yourself as a mighty one. Being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as I live it is my privilege – my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I love. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no brief candle to me; it is a sort of splendid torch which I’ve got a hold of for the moment and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.
from Man and Superman 1903.

Debra is also the author of It’s Tough at the Top and Pleasure and the Pain (no fibbing guides) I am recommending these, as I think they will be fun reads for managers and leaders.

Debra reminded us that we don’t have to succumb to external pressures based on government policy where things really don’t make sense and don’t benefit not for profit organisations or their beneficiaries/clients. If you do get a chance to hear her another time when she is hear I would make an effort to do so.

Thanks to the Office for the Community Sector for including her in the Not for Profit Summit line-up.

What do you think about the potential for Big Society taking hold as part of the political agenda here? I look forward to your thoughts.

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