Positive Impact,
Positive Return on Investment.

Accountability Now can help you make better use of your resource, your energy and your finances.

VisionToday’s Problems

No matter your cause or profession, in this ever changing world, we need to constantly ask ourselves; how can we reduce harm, do more good, and maintain a healthy bottom line?

The balance certainly isn’t easy. But the real problem is that these questions aren’t being asked enough, and people and organisations are not being accountable for the impact that they have, and most importantly can, make on society.

This may seem like a strong statement. However, there are some key points that help to further illustrate the point:

1.The market dealing with social challenges is super-saturated
New Zealand has more than 97,000 organisations working to alleviate some of New Zealand’s most pressing social challenges. I call these social profit organisations. They are charities, NGOs and other not for profits. They represent a $1.6 billion industry in grants, donations and service provision. Demand for the services of these organisations is growing, while their funding is dropping due to a super-saturated market where competition for funds is high.
2. All sectors are facing new challenges and pressures including increasing choice and deceasing funds
New Zealand businesses have been supporting social profit organisations and their communities throughout the decades. However, in this new landscape of increasing choice, proposals and pressures like decreasing funds, knowing where best to invest support is a challenge. This means that businesses are tending towards distributing smaller amounts that don’t always support the financial sustainability of the receiving organisations.

This challenge is not just isolated to businesses. Parts of the Government and Trusts and Foundations that have traditionally supported social profit organisations, without requiring much or any evidence of the results they expect to achieve in return for their funding, are also going through a significant re-evaluation of their “giving” approaches. Trusts especially are increasingly adopting “an evidence-informed approach” to make grant-making more effective. This involves commissioned research, inviting expressions of interest and undertaking a more rigorous evaluation of applicants.

This has left many social profit organisations, especially the 90% of this sector that relies on volunteer labour to operate, stuck in “survival mode”; unable to upscale, grow and react to the challenges presenting in a new environment.

For small businesses specifically, the challenge of supporting social profit organisations is focused on the big picture need when the demands of day-to-day business are so challenging. How do you strike a positive balance between the important and the urgent, the short-term and the long-term and focus on growth and making any giving sustainable, when staff and the bills need paying?

Public Sector funding is also evolving, with a higher focus on accountability. For example, The Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill could result in a much tighter definition of the role of local government, with new restrictions on local authorities’ ability to raise and spend money, and possible withdrawal of local government from social and community engagement. Large grants are no longer a “given”.

3.There is an increasing need to measure improving outcomes of investments
With an increased need to measure the improving outcomes; this means a big change for social profit organisations needing funding. Upon application for funds, organisations will need to be talking, right from the very beginning, about the outcomes the funding will have and how they will be measured.

As such, social profit organisation’s resources need to be invested into establishing methods for measurement and evaluation and into building capacity. Those that deal principally with activities that have subjective outcomes, such as improvements in well-being, will need to work even harder.

It is a fact of life that things that are easier to measure are more likely to be counted. However, the prize for those that are able to build capacity, show leadership and place sustainability at the heart of their long-term strategies will be those that survive and thrive into the next decade and beyond.

4.There is a need for more sustainable giving, and accountability for the positive impact needs to be shared by funders and recipients
Businesses and funders that succeed in finding new and sustainable ways to give; those that make accountability part of the DNA of their organisation, will see a return on their investment, socially, environmentally and financially.