Innovation

Disruption in the NFP sector: How to innovate and take action

It’s fair to say the third sector is experiencing disruption in waves. From mobile donations, online fundraising, and awareness via social media, audiences are exposed to more ways to donate than ever.

And the number of charities in Australia is doubling every decade.

Competition is high and innovation is key.

Many charities and NFP organisations are risk averse, but the only risk in this current climate is standing still. As the sector is disrupted by technology, increasing competition, and changing donor behaviour, it’s the actions we take that break through and deliver impact.

Here’s a few hot tips from industry leaders at last week’s Third Sector Expo in Sydney on how we can innovate for a stronger community.

  1. Engage millennials in new ways.

YGAP is a special case of millennial engagement. YGAP is a youth-run initiative. The way they engage with young people is the way they would engage with their peers. But there’s lessons in what they do for all NFPs.

Elliot Costello, founder of YGAP, was in conversation with his dad Tim Costello, former CEO of World Vision Australia at Third Sector Expo.

His vision for millennial engagement is simple: “To build effective ways for young people to engage, it’s giving them a voice.”

Many young people aren’t in a financial position to donate. They want to do things, and their level of engagement in charities they support is critical.

  1. Steal ideas from the corporate sector.

The corporate sector has innovated with technological disruption long before the third sector. We can learn from this, and apply ideas as the market becomes increasingly competitive.

Greg Sam, CEO of Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS), runs one of Australia’s most trusted charities. He was quick to acknowledge, that despite their strong reputation, the NFP sector is moving into a competitive market. One that requires a new approach.

We get stuck in the way it’s always been done. Of course, traditional ways of fundraising are essential, but we must keep innovating to ensure sector sustainability.

“[It’s] time to encourage innovation by breaking down sector and industry silos,” said Lisa Grinham, CEO, Good2Give.

  1. Donors and funders expect outcomes.

We’ve heard this time and time again – outcomes measurement is essential for any organisation in need of donations or funding from philanthropists or corporates.

“How can you sharpen your case?” asked Lynn Kraus, Managing Partner, Sydney, EY.

STREAT Melbourne is a social enterprise supporting homeless youth. They recently won EY’s Social Entrepreneur of the Year, because to their organisation, the impact of their programs matter. To those they serve, to their supporters, to their investors.

  1. Heart is at the core of what you do.

In the everyday, we forget the crux of our work: our mission.

Lead with your mission, said Greg Sam from RFDS, it’s your key value proposition.

We have to remember why we started working in the Not for Profit sector in the first place. Tim Costello recalls his time as CEO in the sector, and said there’s a clear difference in the third sector from other sectors, because “The third sector is the love sector.

“You don’t do it for power, you don’t do it for money, you do it for love.”