Our Community news

Our Community News

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.

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

Update: Our Community's Managing Director discusses the new extortionate ASIC levy first imposed, then exempted, on charities registered with the ACNC.

ATO ADVICE: Tree planting is now less taxing

Tax law is fiendishly complicated, so one small country Victorian not-for-profit organisation went straight to the top to help its members to understand it.

CROWDRAISERS: Charity sleep-out shoots for the stars

South Sydney Christian charity Georges River Life Care raises money each year for its domestic violence support services, but in 2018 it ramped up its efforts with GiveNow's latest peer-to-peer fundraising tool, CrowdRaisers.

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

Australia's progressive leaders, thinkers and doers converged in Melbourne for the Communities in Control conference, a two-day event aimed at fighting inequality. Read our conference wrap

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

For the third year running, Our Community has been honoured in the annual B Lab list of companies that set the gold standard globally for how business can be a force for good.

LGBTQI+ LENS: Why our data scientists are chasing rainbows

Our Community's Innovation Lab is doing its bit to "grow the pot of gold under the rainbow", crunching the data to help improve the flow of funds to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex groups.

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

An abuse survivor has backed a new partnership that has delivered this free and essential resource to community organisations. DOWNLOAD NOW

WINNERS' VIEWS: Best responses from our Grants survey

This year's Grants in Australia study is set to generate the most detailed insights since we started doing these surveys in 2006, if these winning responses are anything to go by.

DATA THREAT: NFP cyber attack highlights data dangers

A CYBER attack in which cyber criminals threatened to release the details of 8000 clients of Family Planning NSW - including those seeking help about contraception and abortion - has highlighted the threat to other not-for-profits, as well as the new laws that require them to notify authorities about data breaches. Here's the latest guidelines.

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

Our Community's latest data science project combines two of our passions: grants and gender equity. We set out to find out whether an applicant's gender would affect the result of their application for funds.

FREE DOWNLOAD: Equip yourself with our child safety toolkit

Amid 409 recommendations following the royal commission into instiutional child abuse, we've produced a guide, checklists and sample policies to make child safety easy. Download it now. It's the right thing to do.

FREE POLICY: Improve your complaints process

Eleven leading national peak bodies working in the charity and not-for-profit sector, including Our Community, have released guidelines to significantly improve how charities handle complaints.

PARTNERSHIPS: What are your legal options for collaboration?

Not-for-profit-law experts Moores say collaboration could be the answer for organisations that are reluctant to merge but still keen to reap the benefits of partnerships.

PRO BONO POWER: Partnerships power free legal help

Not-for-profit legal centres on opposite sides of Australia are making the most of partnerships with big legal firms to get better results for their clients.

RISE OF THE MACHINES: Dangers of data on autopilot

So what are the implications of automatic assessments when it comes to deciding who gets the estimate $57b worth of grants funding each year? Data scientist Joost van der Linden investigates.

POWER IN UNITY: Cooperate to propagate

If your organisation is made up of good people who always do what's right, then when other organisations tell you they need help, you co-operate with them. Our Community's managing director Denis Moriarty explains in the latest Our Community Matters

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

DESPERATE women and their families facing the worst times of their lives have people like Jocelyn Bignold to thank for giving them hope, but they are also the people who drive her to do better.

SHARE THE SPACE: Co-locate to collaborate

Co-working spaces are popping up across Australia, from Cairns to Perth, their popularity exploding alongside freelancing and digital technology. So what exactly makes this kind of workplace different from a serviced office? From the April edition of Our Community Matters

THEY SAID IT: How to make collaboration work

If we want to make a difference, if we want to overcome disadvantage, if we want all Australians to share in the prosperity of this country, then we've got to do some of these things, says Professor David MacKenzie, who joins a group of experts and leaders who have their say about collaboration that works in the April edition of Our Community Matters

DATA: Astrophysicist turns to the grants universe

Galaxy formation? That's nothing. Try understanding the impact of grants. Dr Paola Oliva-Altamirano, an astrophysicist, astronomer, and specialist in the creation of galaxies over billions of years, has turned her attention to something harder - data science for the social sector.

STUNNING: The Geelong Project's collaboration breakthrough

How a small city slashed homelessness, boosted school results and became a model for the world through collaboration.

COMMUNITY: Backyard sessions bringing people together

Community spirit is brewing in the backyards of Kensington, Melbourne, and the neighbourhood is growing together and giving back.

SECURITY: How to manage passwords in your organisation

Our Community's Alex McMillan provides tips on how to prevent the problem of stolen passwords, and how to react if your passwords are compromised.

CROWDRAISE: Fundraising tool gives people the power, for less

GiveNow's latest tool lets individuals and groups create their own pages for fundraising.

COLLABORATION: Community Directors Intelligence tells you how

We've spoken to legal and academic types, change merchants, not-for-profit movers and shakers, scrutinised case studies, and dipped into our library of resources to bring you this dossier all about how collaboration will help you survive tough times, and perform better. (ICDA member publication)

PARTNERSHIPS: The Impact Assembly's change agenda

Collaboration between community, not-for-profits, business, government and philanthropy is the only way we'll solve our biggest problems, the chief of a social enterprise dedicated to joint effort says.


We it down for a chat with SmartyGrants principal trainer, Gina Cirillo, and learn what zoos, maps and online grants managements systems have in common.

CONNECTIONS: 50 hot tips for finding the right business partner

We dip into the Our Community library of resources to bring you this useful extract from More than Money: How to get money, resources and skills from Australian business.

VIDEO INTERVIEW: Council meets to boost directors' credentials

Following the first meeting of the new Community Directors Council, Chair Susan Pascoe says she envisages that under the guidance of the eminent 11-member board, ICDA will become a "beacon" of good governance for community directors. Here's why.

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

Advocacy, mergers, finances, regulations, the NDIS, the mission and more: we asked some key sector players, including Susan Pascoe, Jocelyn Bignold and the experts at Moores, what's on the top of board agendas right now.

ON ADVOCACY: When it's time to speak out

Your organisation may not be into advocacy at the moment, but sooner or later something's going to come up that needs fixing. When something's not all right, at whatever level, it's time to speak out, writes Our Community's Denis Moriarty.

HELP SHEET: The 12 rules of advocacy

When you're ramping up your advocacy efforts, ensure you're following a few key pieces of advice to keep your campaign rumbling.

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

The Community Council for Australia's David Crosbie says not-for-profits and charities must resist any attempts to erode their power to advocate for change, because community-minded groups taking their mission seriously need to use every tool they have to achieve those goals.

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

ACNC Commissioner Gary Johns warns not-for-profits that their ability to advocate has limits, and explains how he'll use data to allow "the market" to decide which groups flourish.

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

US charities stand to lose billions from changes to US tax laws on deductions. What would the effect be here?

PEOPLE POWER: How GetUp grabbed your attention

We spoke to GetUp's Impact Director, Kelsey Cooke, for the inside track on the organisation's campaigning successes, and how you can follow suit.

ADVOCACY TOOLKIT: How to change a law

Our thinker-in-residence takes you step by step through the process of changing a law in Australia, and how to influence this process

THINKING AHEAD: Our Community House announced

Our Community team up with social investors in a new project set to accelerate social impact in Australia.

TOP TALENT: Community Directors Council a boost for good governance

Ten top not-for-profit advocates and thinkers join Susan Pascoe as formation members of the Community Directors Council.

ETHICAL DECISIONS: Get help with a free independent helpline

The Ethics Centre's Ethi-Call provides around-the-clock access to tools to help you make ethical decisions. Here's how.

GREAT QUOTES: Mobilising the grassroots to create change

A taste of the high-energy panel session from the 2017 Communities in Control Conference in which top activists share their secrets.

FUNDING INSIGHTS: About our 2018 grants survey

The Grants in Australia 2018 survey is designed to generate powerful insights into who is winning grants and why. Here's how.

ADVICE: How to communicate with clout

Lynne Haultain explains why communication has become "absolutely critical" for not-for-profits, and offers advice on how to get a message across.

CHILD SAFETY: How Royal Commission into child abuse affects you

Moores' lawyer Catherine Brooks helps not-for-profits come to grips with the Royal Commission's final report into institutional child sex abuse.


We chat to actor-turned-trainer, Richard Edge, about what he's learned about community organisations in the short time he's been with us. And, who'd play him in Hollywood.

DATA DRIVE: CLASSIE system has new bells and whistles

The newest release of Our Community's data taxonomy CLASSIE incorporates feedback received by grantmakers. Here's the latest updates.

BOYCOTT: Why Our Community agrees it's time to change the date

Our Community has joined the chorus of Indigenous, community and business leaders urging the Australian Government to change the date of Australia Day.

ORDER OF AUSTRALIA: Unrepresentative, uncaring, unchanged

Denis Moriarty responds to Honour a Woman in their recent push for the Federal Government to introduce gender targets into the Australian honours system.

SAVE THE DATE: Communities in Control Conference

Prominent thinkers, doers, and activists of all kinds, including Stan Grant, Annabel Crabb, Phillip Wollen, Kathy Kelly and Hugh McKay, tackle inequality at our next Communities in Control conference, May 28-29. Register now.

TAX RULING: Decision less taxing on directors' decisions

Community directors can breathe easier following a significant tax ruling brokered by Our Community's Institute of Community Directors Australia (ICDA).

SOCIAL IMPACT: Airbnb turns to community groups

Airbnb's new social impact experiences offer an opportunity for guests and visitors to interact with locals and gain access to people, places and activities they could not find on there own. Read to find out more.

MEET THE TRAINER: Patrick Moriarty

We spoke to the man behind many of Our Community's training courses, to find out more about his training style, experiences and thoughts.

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

If you're running behind 21st-century tech, make 2018 the year you catch up and get on top. There's a truckload of useful apps and platforms to help your community group work more smoothly and efficiently.

FIRST PERSON: Random Hacks of Kindness

Random Hacks of Kindness is a conglomeration of technologists and community-sector professionals whose mission is to design tech for good. Alex McMillan attended their "hackathon" in Melbourne last month to find out what they're all about.

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

Understanding what's really going on in your community is perhaps the most important thing you can do before you step in to help. Here's how community foundations are showing the way forward with Vital Signs reports.

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

A landmark report into Australia's social cohesion shows that while Aussies are still a tolerant and welcoming bunch overall, they're increasingly turning their backs on politicians, asylum seekers, minority groups and the looming environmental threat.

FUNDRAISING LESSONS: Why loyalty is such a powerful motivator

The latest figures on giving reveal how important it is to nurture the loyalty of your supporters, whether they're volunteers, donors or future benefactors.

GLOBAL BATTLE: Community groups the frontline of inequality fight

Leading US philanthropist Mae Hong says the world's political turmoil is a wake-up call for the community sector, who as the "guardians of good face a battle like no other to hold the line against powerful forces eroding civil society.

GOVERNANCE: Community directors' scholarships open doors

One of the latest students of the Diploma of Business (Governance), awarded a scholarship under a community leaders program, says the course has "far exceeded" her expectations.

RESOURCES: IT help - free, discounted, donated

Here's where not-for-profits can access discounted, donated or free software, hardware and training.

FUNDRAISING: Spread the load to build financial sustainability

You're a mission-focused organisation, and your mission is long term. Your funding and your funding strategy should focus on the long term as well. The long term has to cover good times and ad times. You have to be able to survive both droughts and floods. Diversify with the seven pillars.

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

Knowing how to assess an organisation's finances is something that many people without accounting degrees struggle with. David Sharpe, director of advisory and consulting at Generate, helps answer your questions.

RSL's finance battle a lesson for us all

Knowing how to assess an organisation's finances is something that many people without accounting degrees struggle with. David Sharpe, director of advisory and consulting at Generate, helps answer your questions.

SUSAN PASCOE: Top regulator joins forces with Our Community

You probably already know Susan Pascoe has joined Our Community as the inaugural chair of the Community Directors Council. But we thought you'd like to know a bit more about her!