Reforming Our Not-for-Profits

Over the last 40 years, most of our large not-for-profits have changed beyond recognition. Most were formed by parents, residents and passionate citizens meeting in church halls or around kitchen tables. Everyone was a volunteer. Consultants were unheard of. In most cases, goodwill and mutual aid were the only resources on tap.  

Today, most of our large not-for-profits have been captured by their managements. From credit unions to church agencies, disability services to housing associations, family support services to youth groups, the story is the same. In the name of risk management, economies of scale, and appeasement of public funders, not-for-profits have been transformed into mini-corporates.

Parents, consumers and volunteers will still be acknowledged from time to time in Annual Reports and Newsletters, but in reality, today's service delivery corporates neither need 'amateurs' nor want them.

A revolution is needed in our not-for-profit sector.

It is not too late to change this culture. To a large extent, our boards, committees, volunteers and donors over the last 30 years have lacked the confidence to challenge the managerial take-over. Many have acquiesced against their own instincts, lacking support, mentors and external advice in challenging the managerial direction. On your own it's hard. But together, all things are possible.

If you've been concerned about the managerial takeover of a not-for-profit important to you, we'd like to hear from you. Tell us your concerns. The chances are that we will know of others with similar concerns about the same organisation.

Tell us your thoughts and ideas for turning things around. This might involve writing up your agenda for change and sharing it with others; it might involve approaching others to exercise a leadership role in turning things around; or it might involve putting yourself forward for election to a board or committee in your not-for-profit. In any case, we want to hear from you.


Here is our 4 Step Process for putting yourself forward and making a difference:

1. Tell us your concerns about a not-for-profit that is important to you. We will try to connect you with others wanting change in the same organisation.

2. Find out the process for election to your board or committee at its AGM this year. (Dates, eligibility to nominate and vote, forms to be completed).

3. Encourage a friend to put themselves forward for election to your board or committee, and/or put yourself forward. We will publicise your goals and agenda for change, and seek support from others.

4. Complete the nomination process, which will usually require a proposer and seconder for your nomination (sometimes more than two). Contact us if you don't know of a proposer and seconder in your organisation - we may be able to help.


Complete this online AGM Expression of Interest Form to tell us your views on organisations you believe need a leadership challenge. Tell us too if you want to put yourself forward for nomination, or if you want to support others who are nominating.

Remember, word of mouth and personal connections are the most important tools we have in reclaiming our community organisations.

CLICK HERE to express your interest or tell us your thoughts. We want to hear from you.


Vern Hughes
0425 722 890