Wednesday, May 16, 2012

When it comes to community organisations, small can be beautiful

By Peter Shergold, The Centre for Social Impact: “Last week at the Mount Druitt Community Hub I had the chance to participate in the launch by Western Sydney Community Forum of a valuable new Resource Handbook: ’Developing a Common Language’. Evidence-based, it is informed by a collaborative research project undertaken in partnership with the Westpac Foundation and the University of Western Sydney.

The Handbook is intended to assist small community-based organisations forge closer relationships with companies and corporate foundations. It sets out a clear framework within which both sides can establish their joint expectations by speaking a ‘common language’. In particular it is a useful guide to local associations on how to win support from business – not an easy task for the small and micro-enterprises that comprise so much of Australia’s not-for-profit sector. This is unfortunate. Whilst they may fail to meet the Treasury test of ‘economically significant’, small organisations are often vital at the local level. They deliver low-cost support and services to disadvantaged clients and in the process help to build the networks of social capital that create communities.”

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