The not-for-profit sector is a wonderful part of the business community, full of people who work with true heart and soul to deliver outcomes to their members.
One not-for-profit organisation had engaged a new CEO who inherited a business model that had fallen apart from previous mismanagement. Also, he didn’t have much of a team left to work with.
With members across Australia in rural, regional and urban areas, the CEO had to get the organisation into shape as quickly as possible to meet the requirements of the government funding that was administered to the business.
Assessing the situation
We were engaged to work with the CEO to assess the situation and come up with a practical plan that would sort through current issues and put long-term efficiencies in place, without spending a fortune.
To assess the situation fully, we worked on site to:
1. Recruit a team with the skill sets required to fill the missing links. This included recruiting people to:
- deliver programs to members across Australia
- manage the membership base and marketing aspects of the business
- help with policy (part-time)
- support the CEO with daily operations.
2. Restructure the existing team by:
- reviewing their current roles and changing their positions where required to match their skill sets with business needs
- asking what support the team needed to better fulfill their roles.
3. Review the financial position, including by asking:
- what reporting mechanisms are in place and how could these be improved? What financial reports are prepared for the Board and government funding body?
- what was the budget saying against where the money is going? Does the budget require a full overhaul to improve transparency?
- are there opportunities to save money in some areas to free up funds to spend in other areas to achieve better financial outcomes? When was the last time the business reviewed supplier and corporate contracts?
- is the current finance officer using their full financial intellect? How can the business better use the finance officer’s skills to improve organisational transparency?
- is the organisation ready for its annual audit? If not, why not?
4. Redesign how programs are delivered by:
- conducting a review of programs and how they could be delivered better (with the assistance and guidance of the team)
- reviewing past attendance and feedback forms to determine what information members wanted and needed against what was being delivered
- redesigning program content to align with member expectations and to meet government funding body requirements
- assessing if previous programs delivered achieved the required number of attendees and outcomes and recommending other locations.
5. Rebrand and marketing by:
- freshening the existing brand with a more corporate flavour while maintaining the business’s core essence
- updating marketing collateral and promotional products, including those used at events
- implementing the social media strategy formally approved by the Board to increase the presence to members in rural and remote communities
- increasing the organisation’s presence by presenting and attending at major conferences across the country—12 across the calendar year
- updating all internal and external templates in line with the brand refresh.
6. Reformat communication processes by:
- changing the organisational structure and reporting lines to take the pressure off the CEO with day-to-day operations, freeing the CEO to focus on more strategic agendas
- simplifying Board reports to make it easier for Board members to assimilate information quickly
- implementing weekly team meetings so each team member was free to voice concerns, issues and/or wins, and for management to present information that had an impact on the team
- implementing updated employment contracts and job descriptions so everyone was clear on their roles, responsibilities and expectations.
Recruiting, restructuring, reviewing, redesigning, rebranding and reformatting any business takes time and commitment from everyone involved—internally with the team and externally with government agents, suppliers and other affiliated organisations. But the results can be big.
Results, all in 12 months
- overhauled IT services, saving approximately 75% in fees and reducing staff downtime
- reviewed supplier contracts, saving approximately 25% across the business.
- increased membership by 22% in 10 months
- created one redundancy due to a restructure, saving staff costs
- overhauled all governance processes, procedures and reporting measures to the Board
- reviewed and implemented all corporate policies and procedures
- finalised budget for the following financial year
- improved communication so team members understood what was happening, how changes impacted on them and how they can play a part in achieving desired outcomes
- implemented new customer relationship management system resulting in more accurate data and reporting mechanisms
- built strong working relationships with internal and external stakeholders, including government departments
- initiated and implemented new branding and a marketing and communication strategy (including a strong public relations component)
- implemented a 12-month event calendar, including 12 national forums across the country, 12 exhibitions at external conferences, and a bi-annual national conference
- increased staff morale, with individual team members feeling more valued.