It was great to be back face-to-face with people at the recent Connecting Up Conference. The Calxa team had an opportunity to talk to many sector delegates at the 2-day event.
As always, there were a lot of takeaway messages from the conference. The sessions were jam-packed with terrific content to give the Australian not-for-profit community information to incorporate into their future strategies.
Key Take Away from the Connecting Up Conference 2022
Have a look at my 3 key learnings from the conference.
Measuring Social Impact
As someone who has worked in the NFP sector for many years, I have often thought of this to be an elusive holy grail. So, why do you need to measure our impact? You might also generally know that you do great work but, what if your organisation is only working with one segment of your client base effectively and not with all the people who need the services. There are always so many challenges:
- Alternatively, how do we ensure we can provide qualitative evidence for a grant funding application?
- Do we have rigorous and substantiated evidence as proof of demand, quality of work etc?
- Is our work aligning with our strategic priorities and pillars?
A powerful presentation by Elizabeth-Rose Ahearn from the UNSW Centre for Social Impact provided a glimpse into tools and techniques that the Australian NFP community can use. Essentially, she discussed how to collect and analyse quantitative data quickly and easily and at no-cost. Consequently, this will free up valuable time and resources to use the quantitative data as a platform for qualitative analysis.
If you do nothing else, I would strongly encourage a visit to Amplify Online for more information.
Reporting and Regulatory Requirements
It was handy to chat with the team from the Australian Charity and Not-for-profit Commission (ACNC) at Connecting Up 2022. For charities of all sizes, it is always important to stay up to date with regulatory requirements. The ACNC team advised that there will be some changes coming to reporting requirements for the 22FY. Two key areas affecting us all:
- This includes reporting on remuneration to key personnel (including paid board members) for some organisations.
- They also indicated there may be some changes to charity size classifications. Something to follow with interest.
As a matter of interest, the ACNC does a regular podcast and monthly newsletter which you may find well worth subscribing to.
Importance of Embracing Technology
One thing that was evident from attending the conference after two years of workplace disruptions is the importance of making technology work for the sector.
As the saying goes, the one thing that is constant in life is change.
The pandemic has forced the NFP sector to implement systems and strategies to allow for remote working and flexible delivery to keep our people safe and to meet the needs of our client groups.
Attending the Great Reframe Session at the conference brought home the importance of using technology to work for us and buy us precious time to spend on quality human service delivery. I would encourage NFPs to find ways to automate things that detract from time spent on direct service delivery.
Pain points for NFPs where systems and technology can help:
- Measuring social impact from services delivered (Amplify Social Impact Online)
- Preparing regular financial reports (Calxa)
- Counting outputs and data for grant acquittals (CRMs \ Calxa)
Wrapping Up the Connecting Up Conference 2022
To finish off, I shouldn’t forget the Australian Not-for-Profit Technology Awards. Acknowledging organisations and individuals for their improved product and/or service offerings through technology.
It is fair to say the Not-For-Profit Technology Innovator of the Year Award was the most hotly contested category. So much that the judges awarded three winners in this category and commendations for the other two finalists. You can find a list of all the winners on the Connecting Up blog.
For now, I’m signing off from Stand 12 at the Connecting Up Conference 2022.
About the Author
Mandy Thompson is a seasoned leader in the not-for-profit sector in Townsville and North Queensland. Having held positions as CEO for organisations in the fast-paced child protection, homelessness and domestic and family violence sectors, she has proven her focus on sustainability through strong strategic management. You will find Mandy’s passions centred around board enablement and capacity building. She is of the belief that strong charities are built through excellence in governance. Joining the Calxa Team was a natural transition affording her the opportunity to nurture, coach and assist charities in their endeavour to improve their financial reporting.
With a background in public service, Mandy’s time as a civic leader in the Queensland Legislative Assembly, has given her a unique understanding and appreciation of funding channels. She loves to assist and support organisations to be successful with the complex juggling act of meeting the needs of client groups and funding bodies whilst maintaining the independence of not-for-profit organisations.
About Connecting Up
Calxa has partnered with Connecting Up in Australia, TechSoup in New Zealand and Charity Digital in the UK to provide reporting software donations to Not-for-Profit organisations. Through the alliance, Calxa makes available its Calxa Premier budgeting and cashflow forecasting software free of charge to smaller non-profit organisations that meet their eligibility criteria. Grassroot not-for-profits benefit
It is hoped this program will allow grassroots organisations achieve the same productivity increases as their larger counterparts – freeing up resources to be directed towards core services. Everyone expects NFPs to spend more of their resources on service delivery and less on administration. This is Calxa’s way of helping them realise this goal while still providing the reporting needed to achieve good governance. NFP organisations with turnover under $1m are encouraged to apply.