Show download pdf controls
  • Straight from the source – October 2019

    Eleven years ago, the unimaginable happened when my younger sister succumbed to cancer. When diagnosed, we commenced a journey many before us have travelled and unfortunately a journey many after us will experience. When you go through a devastating experience, it’s amazing how a support network materialises before you. It’s truly a reflection of the goodness within the human spirit – supporting one another in the time of need.

    It’s no surprise then that I said ‘yes’ when asked to join the OTIS Foundation Board. OTIS is an NFP offering women with breast cancer, including their support group, free short-term breaks from the challenges of living with the disease and its treatment. Last year alone, over 1,000 women had the opportunity for respite in Australian properties generously gifted through property donors and supporters of OTIS. For this reason, it’s been a great honour and privilege to have run the large scale fundraising activities. It also allowed me to navigate red tape in a predominantly volunteer-based business. And herein lays the point of my story.

    While NFPs are generally not characterised as a business, they share many similar challenges and features! Like all businesses, NFPs are established for a purpose. The distinguishing difference is that NFPs do not operate for the profit of members. This does not mean NFPs run at a loss or are poorly organised. While it’s true the majority of NFPs in Australia are small, there are many very sophisticated and organised NFPs.

    Before joining the NFP Centre, like many, I assumed most NFPs relied predominantly on volunteers. So imagine my surprise when I uncovered that NFPs employ over 10% of the Australian workforce! Did you know one third of all FBT revenue comes from the sector? It is also humbling to acknowledge I thought all donations were tax deductible! It is now of course second nature that only a deductible gift recipient (DGR) is entitled to receive tax-deductible gifts. Some other habits are a little tougher to break – such as dissociating the term ‘DGR’ from the dedicated gift registry I referred customers to at David Jones as an undergrad!

    The varying roles and experiences I have with the NFP system are each as important as the next:

    • As a donor I am thankful I can claim a tax deduction when I donate to a DGR.
    • As a patron I am comforted by the fact that NFPs are held to account and operate for purpose.
    • As a beneficiary of the many services provided by the sector and the people who serve our community I am grateful.
    • As an administrator I apply the law in a fair manner and assure integrity in the system.
    • And finally, as a leader I am passionate about making a difference and continuing to strengthen our capabilities so NFPs can get on with what they are purposed to do – to deliver valued services that benefit us and our whole community.

    Jennifer

    Last modified: 25 Sep 2019QC 60184