Community organisations struggling

ComVoices logoMEDIA RELEASE, issues 15 Sept 2014.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE.

The majority of community organisations recently surveyed report they are under severe pressure.

The survey, conducted by community sector network ComVoices, highlights the high level of frustration and urgency being felt by those who deliver services, says group Chairperson, Peter Glensor. 311 organisations completed the survey.

“Most report they are doing more work than ever for less money, they are struggling to retain qualified staff, they see threats to traditional collaboration, and a few are facing closure.”

Glensor says there is huge frustration with both Government and philanthropic funding contracts and competitive funding models.

“Community organisations are concerned that competitive funding models are changing the collaborative nature of our sector.”

“Organisations also experience a lack of understanding from funders—both government and philanthropic—about the administration and infrastructure needed to support service delivery,” he says.

Other significant survey findings were:

  • 75% have more work than 3 years ago – but fewer than 40% have more staff than 3 years ago.
  • More than 80% are doing more work than specified in contracts – 60% doing up to 25% extra, and 17% doing more than 50% extra
  • 40% were unable to offer any wage increases in the last 3 years
  • 6% report they are facing closure in the short term, because of financial pressures
  • 60% are not prepared to speak out publicly

In the lead up to the General Election, he says ComVoices has circulated Communities Count 2 spelling out the priority issues for the community sector to government and other political parties.

“We have consistently received feedback from community organisations that they are finding it increasingly difficult to make ends meet,” he says.

“Early in July we held a well-attended meeting which reinforced those concerns, and we wrote to a number of Ministers asking for dialogue on the issues.”

Based on these very concerns, he says, ComVoices conducted a survey questionnaire of community organisations.

“The response was immediate and massive – 311 responses in only 8 days.”

“We have since also convened a meeting of community sector umbrella groups, who confirmed that the survey results echo their experience and that of their members.”

Glensor says it is crucial that practical actions are taken to address the immediate financial pressures.

“In the longer term, we are calling for a new approach to funding of service delivery, to ensure value for money, while preserving a truly collaborative culture, which is essential for most community-based service delivery.”

ENDS

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