Each year McCrindle releases the Australian Communities Report containing research-based insights to help the not-for-profit sector understand the Australian giving landscape. We recently had the privilege of interviewing not-for-profit leader Daniel Flynn, the Co-Founder and Managing Director at Thankyou, a social enterprise whose purpose is to ‘bring consumers a product choice that exists for one purpose only; to help create a world where not one person lives in extreme poverty.’

In our interview, we spoke about a number of topics relating to charities and not-for-profits. Here were some of his key insights.

Building trust is a journey

In a time of decreasing trust in societal institutions, personal connection is key to engagement. Australian givers are trusting of organisations with which they are personally connected. More than four in five Australian givers (84%) definitely/somewhat trust the charities/not-for-profits they personally support to use their money wisely. Daniel shared with us the importance of building trust, and that ultimately, it is a journey that takes time.

“Like any relationship, rebuilding trust in any capacity takes time. I think there’s got to be clarity around what a true north looks like and true north should hopefully solve the issue at hand. Then you go on that journey together. The journey has to be transparent, open and vulnerable otherwise I don’t think trust can be rebuilt.” – Daniel Flynn

Avoiding mission drift

All organisations, whether for-profit or not-for-profit, are susceptible to mission drift. It is the commitment to the mission and purpose, however, that allows organisations to succeed. At a time when opportunities may become available for charities/not-for-profits to partner with commercial organisations, it is important that organisations first and foremost stay true to their original mission. To stay true to the mission, the mission must first be clear and simple. It needs to be well-understood throughout the organisation and decisions need to be made in alignment with it. Daniel reminds us that it is OK to say no to a partnership opportunity if it does not align with the organisation’s mission.

“One of my big concerns is that, at times, control comes from where money comes from. I don’t love the reality of that, but I think what we’ve noticed is we have to be really careful not to have mission drift, because you’re about to get more money, or access to more people through the corporate partnership. The amount of times we’ve had to say no in our 11 years shocks us and would shock many people.” – Daniel Flynn

Leading the change

The charities/not-for-profit sector largely exists to lead change. This may be change for justice, the environment, the alleviation of poverty or the building of community. Whatever sphere you may find yourself in, continue to lead change, continue to speak for those who don’t have a voice and make a difference in our communities.

“Anyone who works for a not-for-profit knows that sometimes you get knocked down and then you have to get up and go again, at times this could quieten the voices but I think we need to lead change, speak up boldly and strongly, and in that process we do that with humility and vulnerability.” – Daniel Flynn

Download the Australian Communities 2020 report