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Saturday, 10 December 2016

2016 comes to a close - Summing up the nonprofit sector and what we can look forward to from OPTIMUM NFP in 2017.

For all of you involved in the nonprofit sector, 2016 has been a very challenging year, and every indication is that 2017 will probably be more of the same.

Activity in the political and economic sphere has seen the sector coming to grips with what it all means for their own organisation. 
  • The ongoing roll-out of the NDIS has seen a  myriad of responses, ranging from thoughts of risk and downside through to opportunity and expansion, whilst responding to the financial sustainability challenges associated with a previous supply-driven model moving to a generational-change demand-driven model;
  • The ongoing children abuse Royal Commission has seen many organisations tighten their risk frameworks to ensure such obscene activities are not part of their culture, and for those caught up in the findings, an in-depth look into their own organisational mirrors in order to introduce fundamental change;
  • The strengthening of the ACNC has seen a degree of confidence introduced into the sector with regards a range of  compliance issues;
  • Changes to Australian Disability Employment frameworks has seen many in this aspect of the sector revise their current business models, in line with similar challenges in the disability services sector;
  • Ongoing reforms to residential aged care has seen organisations in this sector review their own business models to address long-term sustainability challenges;
  • An industry-wide focus on governance within the sector from wide-ranging sources that have resulted in many organisations in this sector carefully looking at what they currently do as compared to what they perhaps should be doing, especially with regards risk management, financial management, and board structure and development.
OPTIMUM NFP has been heavily involved in many of these nonprofit issues and over the 2016 period has further involved itself with many such organisations undertaking projects such as:
  • Transitioning Incorporated Associations to Companies Limited by Guarantee;
  • Organisation-wide strategic planning activities using a bottom-up approach to develop and launch strategic plans
  • Mentoring executive team members;
  • In-house board governance workshops;
  • Change management planning;
  • Structuring boards with new non-executive directors
  • Conducting public Action Learning Question Programs
  • Delivering 4 post-graduate units at the Australian Institute of Management MBA course, including 1 in Strategic Organisational Change and 3 in Managing Financial Resources
2017 will continue the challenges for the nonprofit sector, as well as bringing new ones, to which the sector will once again be challenged to consider innovative ways of moving forward. The confused nature of public policy will no doubt add to these challenges, in a very unhelpful fashion.

OPTIMUM NFP is looking to 2017 with a continued sense of anticipation and optimism, whilst also being realistic in recognising that many nonprofit organisations may face substantial risk if they fail to grasp and implement the governance and strategic planning frameworks that they must seriously consider.

During 2017, OPTIMUM NFP will be focused on the following activities:
  • David will be completing his PhD studies at Macquarie University. This has been a long but personally rewarding journey (commenced in late 2010). Currently there are three papers that have been published in international peer reviewed journals, whilst a fourth paper is currently under review. My fifth and final paper is currently being prepared for submission. The papers, by title, have included:
    • "Action Leanring Intervention as a Change Management Strategy in the Disability Services Sector - A Case Study", published in the Action Learning Action Research Journal
    • "A Longitudinal Qualitative Case Study of Change in Nonprofits", published in the Journal of Management & Organization
    • "Applying Grounded Theory to Investigating Change Management in the Nonprofit Sector", published in Sage Open
    • "Planned Organisational Change Management - Forward to the Past? An explorative literature review", currently being considered for possible publication in the Journal of Organizational Change Management
  • Applying the findings in the PhD research, OPTIMUM NFP will be launching a consulting service that seeks to ensure that nonprofit organisations can undertake an organisation specific change readiness analysis which will outline potential challenges within their organisation that can be addressed prior to changes being implemented, thereby increasing the likelihood of successful change outcomes. The service will be launched during the fist quarter of 2017 and is called the 'CARC' program - Culture Assessment for Readiness of Change, and uses the outcomes of the latest nonprofit specific research derived directly from David's PhD. Watch out for the launch announcement.
  • During 2017, OPTIMUM NFP in conjunction with Action Learning International, will launch a further public Action Learning Question Program, which has been critically acclaimed and continues to be supported by the Australian Institute of Management Business School. This will be further expanded as purpose-designed in-house programs for larger nonprofit organisations. Keep an eye out for the program dates.
  • In mid 2017, OPTIMUM NFP will leverage its success in executive team mentoring through the launch of its "Manager Development Groups" which utilise Action Learning as a key process in leadership development. Look out for the formal announcement of these.
OPTIMUM NFP will of course continue to focus on its strengths in delivering consulting input into Strategic Planning and Governance.

2016 has been a very busy year. 2017 is going to be an exciting year as OPTIMUM NFP continues to build on its skills and expertise in delivering new and innovative services that will continue to add value to nonprofit organisations, ensuring that the focus on organisational sustainability remains a key deliverable in all our consulting assingments.

I would like to thank my clients for allowing me to be part of their solutions during 2016 and I look forward to being able to adding further value to their organisations in 2017.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Healthy, Prosperous and Safe 2017.

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