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What’s in store for the third sector?

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What are your predictions for the third sector?

It will be a year of challenges for the not-for-profit (NFP) sector, and some opportunities, but as we have seen over time, a strong NFP sector connected to the community it serves is sustainable.

There are real opportunities in the new social finance market, with Federal social enterprise funds, as well as new opportunities to access loans to help build an asset base. The diversity of funds available to the sector is growing and will help with sustainability and new thinking – we will see new models of NFPs taking up both the challenges and the opportunities.

The much welcomed pay equity outcomes for the social and community services sector will place pressure on parts of the NFP sector and on government.

Population growth and other demographic changes will continue to challenge the sector to work in different places and work differently to keep responding to the changing needs.

What will be the big announcements for the sector in 2012?

1. Progress nationally with the Australian Charities and NFP Commission
2. The new NFP Compliance Portal – easy access to the information you need about local, Victorian Government and Federal licences and regulations
3. The outcomes of the Equal Remuneration Wages Test Case.

What is the most important thing for a NFP to do?

The most important thing for a NFP is to manage the organisation well – be clear about the mission, align the strategic directions and priorities with this mission, monitor the budget, ensure staff are supported to deliver services responsively and professionally, and explore new technologies as a way of supporting the overall aims of the organisation.

I would recommend associations keep an eye on the outcomes of the Equal Remuneration TEST Case and monitor outcomes of the Australian Charities and NFP Interim Task Force consultations.

Do you work directly with any NFPs?

The Office for the Community Sector (OCS) works with NFP organisations when developing resources or seeking input to how best to provide support or solutions to identified problems, such as consulting, running pilots, trialling new approaches and seeking information.

The OCS team works with numerous NFP organisations and with the many peak organisations that represent the various segments that make up the NFP sector, including welfare, arts, sport and housing. Some of these NFPs include VCOSS, VicSport, the Arts Industry Council, Community Child Care Victoria, Kindergarten Parents Victoria, the Association of Neighbourhood Houses and Learning Centres, ACEVic and many more.

What are the OCS plans for 2012?

The OCS has many exciting plans for 2012 including:

  • Developing a tool to support organisations with board and governance
  • Delivery of the Victorian Government’s Common Funding Agreement in 2012. Every Victorian government department will use the same agreement when providing funding to NFP organisations
  • Providing the NFP online compliance portal as a single access point for all information about Federal, State and Local Government license and regulatory requirements
  • Working with the Department of Human Services to collect data about the NFP workforce which will help inform both the sector and government about workforce development needs
  • Exploring how best to ensure that the NFP sector is aware of financing opportunities available and helping to build partnerships around shared interests.

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