Have your say on the future of the NFP sector

Posted on 06 Nov 2023

By Greg Thom, journalist, Institute of Community Directors Australia


Interested parties are invited to map a better future for the not-for-profit and charity sector.

The federal government has released an issues paper as the next in creating a Not-for-Profit Sector Development Blueprint.

First announced in October 2022, the Blueprint will guide government reform and sector-led initiatives to better support and connect with communities.

The issues paper has been produced by the Blueprint Expert Reference Group (BERG), representing 10 leading community service organisations.

  • Matt Gardiner, CEO, 54 reasons
  • Cassandra Goldie, CEO, Australian Council of Social Service
  • Kasy Chambers, CEO Anglicare Australia
  • Catherine Liddle, CEO, Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care
  • Mark Pearce, CEO, Volunteering Australia
  • Mary Ann Baquero Geronimo*, CEO, Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia
  • Toby O'Connor, CEO, St Vincent de Paul Society National Council of Australia
  • Jeff Smith, CEO, Disability Advocacy Network Australia
  • Ian Hamm, Chair of the Board of Directors, First Nations Foundation
  • Chris D’Souza**, A/g Group Manager, Department of Social Services

The government said that by commenting on the issues paper, organisations will be providing valuable input on a vision for the NFP sector’s future and what needs to be done to make it a reality.

“The NFP sector is powered by people. A vision for its future and priorities for action will be strengthened by your contributions. The Blueprint Expert Reference Group invites your comments, reflections and ideas.”
Blueprint Expert Reference Group.

The issues paper explores eight areas identified as key priorities for NFPs and government:

  • Measurement, outcomes, and quality of services
  • Police, advocacy, communications, and engagement
  • Philanthropy and volunteering
  • Governance, organisation, and legal environment
  • Leadership and staff development
  • Government funding, contracting and tendering
  • Information technology, communication, and marketing
  • Leveraging assets and social finance

The Department of Social Services will continue working with the Community Services Advisory Group (CSAG) to further develop the NFP Blueprint.

CSAG established the BERG, who are scheduled to meet again on November 8, to develop a sector led NFP Blueprint as a “roadmap to boost the sector’s capacity to support and reconnect Australian communities.”

Foundations for a stronger sector

Key NFP sector qualities identified by the Blueprint Expert Reference Group (BERG):

Screenshot 2023 11 03 142713

Charities Minister Andrew Leigh said the NFP Blueprint would be an important way for the sector to ensure their views are heard by government.

“Charity and community-based organisations, and their volunteers, are critical to the social fabric of Australian communities,” said Mr Leigh.

“They help to improve the lives of many of those disadvantaged in our communities.”

Mr Leigh said the NFP Blueprint was closely linked with the government’s commitment to double philanthropic giving by 2030.

“The Productivity Commission’s inquiry into philanthropy will explore ways for more Australians to be involved in philanthropy and strengthen Australia’s philanthropic culture.”

“Charity and community-based organisations, and their volunteers, are critical to the social fabric of Australian communities.”
Charities Minister Andrew Leigh.

In a recent interview on Sky News, Mr Leigh highlighted the important role fulfilled by the sector in society, with charities accounting for almost a tenth of the economy, more than a tenth of employees, and millions of volunteers.

“They do so much in our community for the environment, fighting poverty, bringing the community together through arts and sport,” said Mr Leigh.

Despite this, he said the sector had been under a lot of pressure in recent years, particularly from the former federal government which moved to curtail organisation’s ability to advocate.

The NFP blueprint in contrast would “help the helpers,” by bringing together experts and consulting with the NFP sector.

“We want a more vibrant civil society in Australia. It's good for the democracy and it's good for our community as well.”

Submissions to the issues paper can be lodged until December 20.

Charities blueprint at OC House
November 2019: Community Directors Council chair Susan Pascoe, met with more than 30 not-for-profit and charity leaders from across the country at Our Community House in Melbourne, to help set the agenda for the new charities blueprint.

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