For over ten years, the Australian Institute of Company Director’s Not- for-Profit Governance and Performance Study (NFP Study) analyses the challenges facing boards and directors across the sector, and they now have a dashboard to share key results.

Key findings include:

  • 84 per cent of respondents reported making a profit or breaking even.
  • 35 per cent used their financial reserves to fund operations.
  • 77 per cent said their organisation is mostly, or highly effective, at achieving its purpose.
  • 95 per cent of respondents reported service delivery had changed post-pandemic.
  • 81 per cent reported they were more cautious with client safety than required by governments.
  • 81 per cent of respondents are concerned about the strength of the Australian economy.
  • 82 per cent said the sector need more financial help from government.

Changes expected in the next 12 months

The report notes substantial increases are expected for the not-for-profit sector in the year ahead in areas including:

  • ‘innovation’ (17%),
  • ‘total volume of service provided’ (17%),
  • ‘capital investment’ (16%) and
  • ‘client numbers’ (16%).

Also high on the agenda in both the survey responses and the focus groups were the changes regarding workforce, this includes workforce development, remote working, and changes in staff numbers.

There is also a strong recognition that there are not sufficient workers to take on roles across all sub-sectors, but particularly aged care and disability services.

“There’s been a greater level of board involvement at an

operational level. The meetings are longer, and the reports are

longer as all board members need to be across the issues.”


The next 12 month priorities for not-for-profit boards included the following:

AICD – Not-for-Profit Governance and Performance Study 2021 – Priorities for the year ahead

About this research

The Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) partnered with Piazza Research Pty Ltd to conduct the Not-for-Profit Governance and Performance Study 2021.

  • Survey design and data collection – The 2021 questionnaire was designed to keep a
    level of continuity with last year’s survey with some alterations and updates where needed.
  • Sample design – The AICD Membership database was the sampling frame for the survey. The survey was sent to all members and a screener question was used to filter not-for-profit respondents non-executive directors. There are approximately 22,000 NFP members on the AICD
    database and 1,978 responses to the survey.
  • Focus groups – In addition to the survey, Piazza Research conducted focus groups with NFP non-executive directors across Australia, exploring issues related to this survey.

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