Building capacity of the community sector
Community and voluntary organisations make a vital contribution to improving the quality of life in communities throughout New Zealand, but many do not have the resources to develop robust and effective organisational systems to help them meet their strategic goals. Organisations need good quality support and information so they can focus their efforts on delivering services and contributing to their communities.
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The most powerful community and voluntary organisations are those that have sufficient resources, information and skills to meet their own objectives and influence other bodies, such as government.
While not a funding provider, the OCVS has collaborated with a range of organisations to develop resources to build the capacity and capability of community organisations. In a time of economic recession, this collaboration and co-operation has become even more important for everyone in the community and voluntary sector and within government.
The OCVS is currently involved in the Generosity Hub, which is helping to build the capacity of community organisations by inspiring individuals and businesses to give time, money or in-kind donations.
The OCVS supports the work of people in government and the community and voluntary sector to build the capacity of the community sector.
Key support needs of frontline non-profit organisations
In 2004, the British Home Office identified the following areas as key support needs of frontline non-profit organisations:
(eg: increased ability to make choices about which tools are right for them and easily access support and advice)
Workforce development and leadership
(eg: a greater range of accessible, professional development opportunities, with increased take-up of learning opportunities and qualifications by voluntary and community sector workers)
Information and communication technology - ICT
(eg: affordable and reliable support models in place with user-friendly and relevant ICT advice)
(eg: board members need direct access to accurate and helpful information and development)
Recruiting and developing volunteers
(eg: there is a need for effectively-marketed and high-quality volunteering infrastructure reaching, recruiting and placing a great diversity of individuals, coupled with improved volunteer management)
Funding voluntary and community sector activity
(eg: diversify income, demonstrate increased skill in contract negotiation, increase asset ownership and become more effective at fund-raising).
The needs of New Zealand's frontline non-profits are likely to be very similar.
Capacity building ideas and initiatives....
Social finance and social enterprise
Social finance and investment has been substantial overseas and and is often a catalyst for social enterprises. It is still relatively undeveloped in New Zealand, but interest has grown in recent years.
Keeping It Legal E Ai Ki Te Ture
The OCVS and the New Zealand Federation of Voluntary Welfare Organisations (NZFVWO) jointly produced Keeping It Legal E Ai Ki Te Ture as a starting point for people in voluntary and non-profit organisations who want to know about the laws that may affect them.
The resource includes information relating to volunteers and health and safety, and can be used as a tool in developing risk management strategies.
Keeping It Legal E Ai Ki Te Ture was launched on 5 December 2005. Nearly 40 workshops to introduce Keeping It Legal E Ai Ki Te Ture were conducted around New Zealand in the first half of 2006.
The resource was updated and reprinted in June 2006, and more than 8,500 copies have been distributed freely to community organisations.
Keeping It Legal E Ai Ki Te Ture will be updated online as laws change.
The NZFVWO and the OCVS evaluation of Keeping it Legal E Ai Ki Te Tureincluded analysis of website statistics and data on distribution of the hard copy resource, and an online survey, which was completed by 271 individuals in the middle of 2008 (see below for a copy of the report).
Free printed copies of Keeping It Legal E Ai Ki Te Ture (for those with no or slow internet access) are now out of stock, so please use the resource online or print your own copies from www.keepingitlegal.net.nz.
OCVS worked with Family and Community Services (FACS) in the Ministry of Social Development on a project to investigate what practical support and information was available to help groups run their organisations.
As a result, the Managing Well: resource for community and voluntary organisations was published in August 2005. This catalogue lists over 120 written resources, websites, newsletters, manuals and information sheets, as well as a directory of relevant organisations. It is updated online at CommunityNet Aotearoa, with new links added as they are identifed.
Sections in Managing Well include financial management, funding, governance, human resource management, information systems and technology, the law, and professional association and umbrella group listings.
Community Resource Kit
In October 2006, the Community Resource Kit was published by Family and Community Services (FACS) in the Ministry of Social Development and the Department of Internal Affairs, with input from OCVS and the community and voluntary sector.
The Community Resource Kit is designed to help small or emerging community and voluntary groups, especially those setting up or undergoing some kind of change. It’s also useful for advisors, community workers and resource people working with these groups.
Sections in the Kit include:
- organisational structures
- financial management
- raising funds
- record keeping
- information technology
The Digital Strategy
The Digital Strategy was launched in May 2005 to ensure all New Zealanders benefit from information and communications technology (ICT) at work, at home, at school or in the community.
Digital Strategy 2.0, launched in August 2008, introduced a number of new projects such as Connected New Zealand and the Digital Content Innovation Cluster. It also expanded successful initiatives, such as videoconferencing and teleworking, the Aotearoa People’s Network and the Community Partnership Fund.
The Digital Strategy is about making sure New Zealanders have the confidence and capability to use technology and are connected so they can make the most of the digital opportunities open to them.
In April 2008, the Minister for Communications and Information Technology announced support for the formation of a new participant-led Digital Development Forum (DDF) and a Digital Development Council. The core role of the DDF will be to provide a co-ordinated voice and recommendations on strategic priorities to the Digital Development Council and to the Government.
Resources for museums, sports clubs and community groups
National Services Te Paerangi at Te Papa, the Museum of New Zealand, works in partnership with museums, iwi and related culture and heritage organisations to enhance the museum services provided to their communities.
The National Services office has produced a user-friendly series of He Rauemi Resource Guides that cover topics such as governance, management, planning, collection care, exhibitions and other public services, customer service and relationships with communities. Included in this series is a guide called Working with Volunteers.
Improving workplace productivity
The Department of Labour has led work to help New Zealand lift its productivity. Case studies include several non-profit organisations (such as Auckland City Mission, Outward Bound and the Claud Switzer Memorial Home).
You can invest in your community partners through secondments of staff with useful expertise, where they work in the non-government organisation for a set period. Alternatively, a non-government organisation staff member might be seconded to government to gain particular skills or experience that will be beneficial to the community.
The Department of Internal Affairs administers the Community Internship Programme, which might be able to assist your secondment opportunity.
Tangata Whenua, Community & Voluntary Sector Research Centre
The Research Centre was established to "contribute to the strengthening of the capacity of the tangata whenua, community and voluntary sector through research".
The first major project of the Centre has been the development of a web-based research Clearing House for the sector. The clearing house offers free access to research, promotes a code of practice for researchers, connects people to research, allows groups to find researchers, and has the potential for email lists, virtual conferences, and a 'how-to' section, etc.
Some special features of the site include Maori metadata standards, which make it possible to use Maori terms to help search for bilingual or te reo resources online; creative commons, which gives the authors copyright but allows the protected use of resources by others; and a 'Wiki' approach, which allows collaborative work.
Anyone can register in the Clearing House, and then "frolic in the clearing" - to Flag, Rate, Link or Comment on any resource that the Clearing House holds. This process helps verify the validity and quality of resources.
The Community Sector Taskforce
Established in 2003, the Community Sector Taskforce is an independent body of community representatives working to develop the relationship between government and the sector.
Te Wero - Action Group (Māori)
Te Wero, or Action Group (Māori), was established in 2003 to improve the way government agencies engage with Māori organisations. Members of Te Wero came from the public, businesses and community organisations.
Te Wero began its work by reviewing relationship documents developed by government agencies and Māori organisations. Following this review, Te Wero:
- developed case studies of effective relationships between government agencies and Māori organisations
- organised Hui Arotake (review meetings) to confirm that the case studies were a true reflection of those effective relationships
- produced a final report to outline the conclusions about good practice, which could help to improve relationships between government agencies and Māori organisations.
A final report was presented to the Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector in 2004. The report noted that many relationships between government agencies and Māori organisations were progressing well and made recommendations on how new and existing relationships could be put on a firmer footing.