CCA eNews Spring 2019
Dear CCA Members and Friends
I read this week that in the run up to the elections in Canada, that Imagine Canada (the CCA equivalent in Canada) is calling for the next Canadian government to put the 170,000 strong social purpose sector onto its productivity agenda and to give charities a seat at the policy table.
Imagine Canada has crunched the numbers and identified a looming “social deficit” - the difference between the demand for services that social-purpose organisations provide, and the resources available to deliver those services - that’s expected to hit $25 billion a year within a decade.
We do not yet have the number for our own looming social deficit, but anyone working in the Australian charities sector knows we are living one, and that it’s only getting worse. We also know that charities are somewhere out there on our Government’s radar (we have our first ever charities minister), but that we are not on their productivity agenda or heard in the policy arena.
That’s why the recent conversation between more than 30 leaders from the CCA network and our charities minister, Senator Zed Seselja in Sydney was so important.
Assistant Minister for Finance, Charities and Electoral Matters, Senator Zed Seselja joins CCA Chair Tim Costello, CEO David Crosbie and more than 30 leaders from our network in conversation - thanks to James Toomey, David Pigott and Mission Australia for hosting an important conversation.
Our purpose was to engage the Assistant Minister for Finance, Charities and Electoral Matters with sector issues and to support him to champion the sector’s role and value. Collectively and with outstanding leadership in the room, I believe we did that.
A global climate of anxiety, a retreat into tribalism and the trust deficit in our institutions framed the conversation in Sydney. Leaders well made the case that a more inclusive society is a more productive society calling on the Minister to champion the value of the sector and to enable our work. There are four clear opportunities:
- Reduce red tape.The Minister said he is making red tape reduction a priority, focusing initially on the ACNC (including the Government’s response to the ACNC Review), DGR reform and looking at fundraising reform.
- Build trust and champion the sector’s achievements and contribution. Leaders asked the Minister to drive a more positive discourse that celebrates the achievement and contribution of the charities sector, counter-punching the broad brush stain and erosion of trust that comes with every headline grabbing negative story about an individual charity doing the wrong thing.
- Value and invest in capability. Sick to death of ‘admin costs’ as a proxy measure for charity performance, leaders want capability valued and supported. It’s well known that high performing businesses invest in their people, their leadership development, their systems and their resources. Somehow it’s different for charities?
- Change the language. Charities are acutely aware of the human cost of policy discussion that treats people as a ‘burden’ or a ‘problem’, an ‘us’ or a ‘them’. Language and perspective needs to change, and there is a real productivity gain to be realised through valuing individuals and their potential.
Finally, the conversation turned to the deficit in planning for the future of our sector. Where do we want the sector to be by 2030? What are the challenges? How will we face them? CCA believes we cannot afford to wait any longer and with the help of Susan Pascoe and CCA Chair, Tim Costello we are starting work on a process to develop a blueprint for the sector, with the sector.
As always, we thank our Members for enabling our work and for their support and involvement. And as always, we extend an open invitation to leaders and organisations in our sector that are interested in the future of our sector. Please consider joining CCA . Add your leadership to our collective voice and our collective strength. Deb can provide further details and we look forward to talking with you.
CEO Community Council for Australia
CCA Policy News
Towards a 2030 Blueprint for Australian Charities
Australian charities are facing many challenges, not just in terms of funding and effectiveness, but also in adapting and responding to a wide range of rapidly changing environments and emerging issues.
For some time CCA has been concerned that the charities sector lacks any plan or strategy for its future. Time and again we make ad hoc investments in building capacity in various areas within the sector, but only rarely are these investments informed by a broader vision of the challenges facing us over the coming years and where we want Australian charities to be in 2030 and beyond.
Having already convened a small group of sector leaders, CCA is delighted that Susan Pascoe has agreed to join CCA Chair, Tim Costello and David in co-chairing a meeting in Melbourne to begin work on designing a process that can ensure a charities sector plan has real impact.
The discussion in Melbourne later this month will begin a journey. If you are keen to discuss this work, please contact Deb.
Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) Review of the Performance of the ACNC
CCA made a submission to the ANAO Review of the Performance of the ACNC and met with the ANAO to discuss our submission.
CCA said that the first five years of the ACNC have been remarkably successful and set the standard internationally for what a charities regulator can and should be. We also expressed concern about the impact of the loss of management and leadership skills at the ACNC over the last two years; the decline in the provision of value-add information to researchers, policy makers and the charities sector; and that despite good progress in the first five years, the promised Charity Passport is yet to be a reality.
CCA would like to see the ACNC more actively engaged with the sector, producing more reports, supporting more research, expanding the Charity Passport, recruiting high quality and experienced senior staff to broaden the leadership team, and being more accountable to Parliament and the public for its own performance. We would like the ACNC focused more on being a good regulator and less on new projects like creating a marketplace for donors.
Pre-Budget Submissions to the 2020-2021 Budget
Pre-Budget Submissions for the 2020-21 Budget close on 20 December 2019 and can be made here: https://consult.treasury.gov.au/budget-policy-division/2020-21-pre-budget-submissions/
CCA is preparing a submission with the support of our members.
Disappointment, again, from the latest opportunity to #fixfundraising – with the issue not making it onto the agenda at the latest meeting of Consumer Affairs Ministers. Summed up here by Pro Bono News: Charity leaders slam continued inaction on fundraising reform.
On the positive side, Assistant Minister Seselja has since been involved in a number of roundtables on fundraising reform. CCA participated in the Melbourne roundtable hosted by the Governance Institute of Australia. We will continue to work with the #fixfundraising coalition and the Minister. The solution is available via Australian Consumer Law. We just need the political will federally and across our states and territories to make it happen. Our friends at Not for Profit Law are doing a great job at leading the #fixfundraising coalition and keeping tabs on progress here: https://www.nfplaw.org.au/fundraisingreform
Impact Investing - making it happen
CCA was delighted to launch Impact Investing – Making it happen at the Coact National Conference in Brisbane.
The report offers 12 recommendations to assist charity leaders and Boards that are grounded in practical experience from across the sector and from intermediary experts at the forefront of making deals happen.
CCA thanks Life Without Barriers and our panel partners Social Ventures Australia, Social Outcomes, Koda Capital, NAB and PwC Australia for collaborating with us on the national series of CEO forums that underpin the report.
The report also carries recommendations for government. As David wrote in Pro Bono News - Impact investing – Tokenism and words no longer enough- the Australian government has put its toe in the water of impact investing but we’re falling behind countries like the UK and Canada where governments have made significant investments to support the market.
The release of Impact Investing – Making it happen attracted media attention around Australia, including television, some 50 radio interviews and press. A sampling:
Impact investing to boost charities sector, Investor Daily, 14 June
Can teaming up with finance groups save your charity? Pro Bono News, 12 June
‘Impact investing’ could be the answer for ACT charities’, Radio 2CC, 12 June
It Takes a Village - Education is everyone's business
The It Takes a Village – Education is everyone’s business campaign has highlighted the many different ways we can all play a role in valuing and supporting education. Theme weeks have celebrated the role of charities, extended family, carers, business, playgroups, music, sports, grandparents, volunteers and mentors.
Our case studies have reached more than 100,000 via social media and can be viewed here: Meet the Village
Since our last newsletter, the Big Issue has run full page features in two issues; the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia has pushed three radio pieces out to their national network; the Monaro Post has run the story of Chris, a local young person that pursued his dreams on the world stage thanks to the support of mentors and the local community; and the New Daily featured an Opinion piece by Tim Costello and Sean Barrett (Origin Foundation) on the big role that business has in helping our kids dream big and stick with school.
CCA CEO David Crosbie has written on the educational divide between metro and regional Australia in Pro Bono News, Placing a value on learning - the great divide in Australia and this week spoke with ABC Radio's Australia Wide about the latest statistics that show young people in rural, regional and remote Australia slipping through the cracks of educational opportunity at two and three times the rate of their metro cousins (Listen from the 6:34 mark).
#ittakesavillage Education is everyone’s business.
CCA in the News
Our saving grace, Pro Bono News, 26 September: David writes that to be effective, you have to say no to some things, give yourself permission to not do everything, and to not do everything you do well.
Placing a value on learning – the great divide in Australia, Pro Bono News, 12 September: David writes that where you live and the postcode of the school you attend will have a significant impact in determining your opportunities. We need to start addressing the educational bias that limits opportunities for people living in rural and regional Australia.
Charity leaders slam continued inaction on fundraising reform, Pro Bono News, 30 August: David says it was clear the concerns of the charity sector around red tape were of little importance to many of the consumer affairs ministers.
“Apparently it is okay to impose a dog’s breakfast of dated dysfunctional regulations on charities, ignore the national congestion busting agenda, and ensure millions of dollars and countless hours of time continue to be wasted by charities jumping through inconsequential administrative hoops that have long outlived their usefulness.”
“The actions of these ministers will perpetuate their irrelevance and ensure most charities do not comply with the current ineffectual and unenforceable fundraising regulations.”
Charities are critical to Australia’s future prosperity, Pro Bono News, 29 August: David writes that this week a new report and a respected senior public servant have both highlighted that social inclusion is a key to future growth in prosperity in Australia. Social inclusion is not just part of the work of charities, it is the reason many charities exist. It is time charities get a seat at the table.
Hoping for a bureaucratic miracle? Don’t hold your breath, Pro Bono News, 15 August: David writes that the Consumer Affairs Forum is not a group that is likely to drive significant change in fundraising regulation across Australia.
How good is New Zealand’s budget?, 6 June - New Zealand has shown how government can shift from previous budget practices to focus more on measures that reflect the reality of people’s lives. If we are to achieve the Australia we want, Australia needs a wellbeing budget. It can be done. What are we waiting for?
Our work is made possible by our members. If you are not already a member and would like to support a strong, independent voice that can speak up on issues that affect the future of our sector, please contact Deb on 02 6198 3435, Deborahs@communitycouncil.com.au
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