This week I received a paper which has questions being asked by Bridget Frame about the financial viability of our community sector, which so often supplies the glue which connects parts of our society which would fail without their presence.
Here’s what Bridget wrote:
As we in the third sector sit around various Zoom calls talking money, can we ask whether our organisation actually NEEDS the money as opposed to wants. Over the past twenty years we have allowed organisations to put costs in to support our community aspirations (or perhaps just the aspirations of the board). Have we professionalised what volunteers used to do? Will spending a dollar with us get a better community return than the organisation down the road? Can we think as a part of the ecosystem and not as individuals?
Moving forward, there are some good questions which we as communities should discuss.
- What do we want the government to enable our organisations to do? Why is the partial funding of particularly social service organisations considered OK? If our groups are delivering great results which achieve community priorities at a relatively low cost, why should they have to fundraise?
- How should the things we expect to be funded be funded? What’s the role of community in all of this?
- How should we consider community asset ownership?
- What do good community funding arrangements look like? Who is a part of these conversations? How do we ensure our organisations are accountable to the communities they serve?
- Why has the ecosystem evolved in the shape it did and how can we consciously shape it going forward?
I will get Bridget to come and speak to the Tuesday Club on this topic. The City Council has a responsibility to lead these sorts of discussions.
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