Changing market forces are having a significant impact on the not-for-profit sector, starting with disability organisations. As the implementation of a National Disability Insurance Scheme begins, there is a real danger that many not-for-profit’s are not preparing themselves effectively for changing market forces.
A person centred approach means there is a real power shift and only those who are prepared to market themselves will survive.
While the focus for many organisations has been on how their internal structures will respond to the changes in the sector, it is the external market forces which are being largely ignored. Consider this, in the current environment the majority of families caring for someone with a disability are not cash rich. They are restricted to using a service where they can get a place with little flexibility to move or dictate the kind of service their child receives.
In the new environment, families will have the money. That presents opportunities for new providers to enter the market. An entrepreneur looking at a business opportunity can now look at the sector as just that, an opportunity. We are now talking about a market where there will be $1billion available. They will be able to come in, head hunt the best staff, build the best facilities and make a profit. All they need to do is become an approved provider.
So what is a not-for-profit to do?
Their biggest asset is who they are, but in many cases the brands are weak. For some it literally means a change in brand identity, but for most it is about dramatically improving communications and marketing. That means engaging all stakeholder audiences, from staff to the board, from current clients to potential clients, from government to private funders, and volunteers to suppliers.
The art of effective communications is not in delivering a message, it is in providing an emotional connect that is relevant to each audience. It is also about having a solid foundation in branding, which itself is so much more than just a pretty logo.
The reality for many organisations is they have underspent and under estimated the value of communications and marketing. By the same token, hiring a leading marketing professional is unaffordable (when you consider the cost of hiring, superannuation, holiday pay, having a sizable budget to match their sizable salary to keep them interested) and hiring part-time means you don’t have access (as well as encountering many of the same problems with a full-time staffer you are paying even more to have them engage in wear cooler chat and often attend meetings for no reason) and juniors carry a massive risk because they don’t have experience or the contacts to deliver.
Outsourcing is the best option. CommTogether has been established to service the communications and marketing needs of the not-for-profit sector and we particularly understand the urgent needs of those working with people with a disability.
We can also recommend NFP Recruitment, who operate on a similar model, they can assist with all your HR and recruitment needs. Have a look at their blog on ‘Staffing Demands‘.
When you consider how to address the impact of market forces initiated by the introduction of the likes of the NDIS, your communications and marketing needs to be at the heart of it. A strategic plan will be meaningless unless you have the communications and marketing to see it through.