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September 11, 2014

Doing better: be strategic with your resource allocation

Executive Director’s note from Issue 9, September 2014.

Olivia Hilton

I love my job! Strange to some but true. I get to work with people and organisations that, like me, have loftier aspirations than simply making money. It’s a cliché, but most of us in the social sector are here because we want to make the world a better place.

But I can see that good intentions are not enough. As it stands, we are wasting a whole lot of money and a whole lot of effort. And so my purpose is all about helping organisations and funders in the social sector get crystal clear on their purpose and then work out how to get money flowing to the right things to actually solve problems.

Until we get smarter about what and how we use our resources, we are going to fail the very people we are trying to help, no matter how good our intentions.

This issue is full of articles about how to make the best use of our resources.

Michael Traill, SVA CEO, details that while there are signs that the sector is getting smarter about how capital is allocated there is still a long way to go. Specifically, funders are often short term and unwilling to invest in improving organisations; and are often seduced by the new start-ups and are unwilling to keep backing success. The article, Investing in social change addresses these challenges and highlights ‘bright spots’ of improvement.

The Movember case study exemplifies smart funding in action. Four years ago, Movember chose to develop a strategic plan to address quality of life for men living with prostate cancer. The plan would guide its investment (and that of others) rather than simply providing grants to organisations. With SVA Consulting, Movember carried out a complex planning process engaging stakeholders and developing a shared perspective on the outcomes. Movember then facilitated the collaborations to achieve those outcomes.

Working towards a desired goal requires both a clear plan and leadership. This is highlighted in the first of a series of articles on how organisations are adapting to reforms in the disability, aged care and housing sector. Sydney-based JewishCare has implemented two strategic plans over the last six years to respond to both internal and external challenges – with great success.

Finally, we share the myriad of benefits that organisations realise after conducting an SROI analysis especially when managing scarce resources. We emphasise how social purpose organisations can develop deep relationships with corporates and revisit our six step process to find, engage and steward major donors.

Food for thought. As always I hope we inspire you towards smarter practices for a better Australia.

Olivia Hilton
Olivia Hilton
SVA Consulting
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