Australia’s Not for Profit Sector Gets on Board with Innovation

By Andrew Heaton

(image via Live Litigation)

The charity and not-for-profit sector in Australia is getting on board with innovation, with a new report showing that the level of innovation being undertaken within the sector is on the rise.

Based on survey responses from 1,409 managers and professionals within the not-for-profit sector in which each of the respondents was asked to indicate their level of agreement with the statement on a scale from zero to ten, the GiveEasy Innovation Index measures the innovation performance of the sector against eight critical ‘vectors’.

It found that overall performance rose from a score of 58.3 out of a possible 100 in 2016 to 62.5 in 2017 – the highest level thus far in the survey’s history.

It found that innovation performance was increasing across all sectors, with performance being highest in internal collaboration, innovation focus and external collaboration.

The report outlines a number of examples where organisations are embracing innovation to improve their services.

Cure Brain Foundation, for example, is using social media and search monitoring tools in order to learn about what the brain cancer community is talking about and searching for.

This data enables them to design programs and content based upon the specific needs and behaviour of their target community.

Cerebral Palsy Alliance, meanwhile, have implemented a three-pronged innovation strategy based around an internal capability for innovation in service development, Australia’s first disability-focused start-up accelerator (called Remarkable) and a research arm.

The report also found that:

  • Almost half of all highly innovative organisations reported income growth compared with the previous year
  • The most innovative NFPs look most frequently to frontline staff, management and volunteers for innovative ideas.
  • Organisation size barely matters when it comes to innovation, with innovation performance being broadly consistent across all organisation sizes surveyed.
  • Barriers to innovation included inadequate funding, high implementation costs, lack of a clear innovation strategy and a lack of senior leadership in driving change.

GiveEasy Chief Executive Officer Jeremy Tobias said the importance of clear innovation strategies cannot be underestimated.

“In the next 5 years, moving from merely understanding innovation to having a defined and effective innovation strategy will separate the winners from the losers in the sector,” he said.

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