In a recent report Australian not-for-profit organisations shared their stories on practices their organisations have adopted to stay healthy.

The Australian Scholarships Foundation and McKinsey & Company collaborated in research undertaking in-depth discussions with more than 100 leaders across the sector, an organisational health survey of 37 not-for-profit sector organisations with 4 500 respondents, and targeted sector-level analyses. The outcome is the report: Building from the purpose: Unlocking the power of Australia’s not-for-profit sector.

The report shared six stories from Australian not-for-profit organisations that have integrated new practices and behaviours into their teams making them more robust organisations. The stories include:

Barnardos Australia – Vision building

The research findings show that one of the characteristics of great purpose-driven organisations is having a clear purpose and meaningful values, communicated across the organisation. Australia’s NFP sector is world-class in this dimension ranking 89% above the benchmark on creating a shared vision.

The Barnardos Australia case study looks at how they created their vision and values statements with staff to support the organisation. Read more.

Goodstart Early Learning – Talent growth commitment

60 percent of the organisations we surveyed in the research scored above the global median on system-shaping practices, only 40 percent did so in operational excellence. Only 35 percent were above the median when it came to practices required for talent growth and performance management.

The Goodstart Early Learning case study looks at how by focusing their efforts on frontline leadership skills they are building a healthy organisation. Read more.

Access Care Network Australia – Investing in operational excellence

The research shows that many not-for-profit organisations report significant gaps in operational excellence. Fewer than
half of organisations surveyed meet the global median for creating the standards and processes that
drive operational discipline in execution.

Access Care Network Australia CEO Ricki Smith explains how operational discipline starts with culture. Read more.

Generation Australia – Engaging partners to scale

60 percent of organisations surveyed are above the median in shaping the system in which they operate. Most have strong practices in beneficiary focus and partnerships, but efforts to drive and scale deeper innovation are not consistent across the sector.

Generation Australia shares how important partnerships are to system shaping. Read more.

Cape York Partnership – Talent growth and execution excellence

Only 40 percent of organisations are above the median on execution excellence and operational discipline, with many employees seeking greater emphasis on efficiency. The report highlights that organisations need to see operational effectiveness as critical to the delivery of social impact at scale.

Cape York Partnership‘s CEO Fiona Jose shares their growth story. Read more.

ClimateWorks Australia – Cross-sector experience and shared ownership

Understanding a system involves understanding all the people, issues and events that interact in that environment. Shaping the system builds on understanding the system; it requires being involved in defining the problem, and implementing good solutions that continually update and change as the system evolves.

ClimateWorks Australia‘s CEO Anna shares how internally they focus on cross-sector experience and shared ownership to support their mission. Read more.

*About this research – The Australian Scholarships Foundation collaborated with McKinsey & Company for this research. The research was based on McKinsey’s Organisational Health Index (OHI)’ diagnostic tool. McKinsey have used the OHI with 2000+ organisations (6 million+ responses) globally over two decades. The OHI measures how ‘healthy’ an organisation is. How it aligns around mission and strategy, executes with excellence, and renews itself to sustainably achieve its aspirations.

Findings are based on 4,000+ OHI survey responses across 37 prominent Australian social sector organisations. Also sector CEO roundtables and in-depth case studies on non-profits who are out-performing, even in the current environment.


Sharing stories to support organisational health

We’d like to share more insights like these to help improve not-for-profit staff capabilities and support organisational health and growth. If your organisation perform well at one or more of the three key capabilities this latest report has highlighted (talent growth, execution excellence and system shaping) we would love to hear from you. Please contact us if you are open/willing to share some of your insights and lessons with others in the sector.

Read more of our insights on not-for-profit capability building here.