The National Strategy for NGO and Community Governance – project update
The first of our six workshops to design a national strategy for NGO and community governance was held in March - before lockdown - at the Philanthropy New Zealand office in Wellington. Led by PNZ chief executive Sue McCabe, with facilitation support from CSI’s Jo Cribb and Jade Tang-Taylor, this design sprint focused on the challenge of engaging the broader governance community in valuing community governance.
While the participants were from diverse organisations, connections were quickly established.
“One thing that stood out for me when people shared their relationship to volunteering and governance in their own lives, was a common thread linking our stories, and that was a connection to the actions of parents and grandparents,” says Michelle Kitney, chief executive of Volunteering New Zealand. “Volunteering was woven into the fabric of their lives, and something that was done as part of belonging to your community.
Kelly Dare, general manager of engagement at CreativeHQ says the sprint opened her eyes to the challenges that other people in different sectors are facing. “But it also made me, and I think all of us, realise that a lot of the challenges are similar - especially as it relates to NGO governance. In particular, issues of how we get people into the governance pipeline, how we encourage corporates to support governance roles for their staff and how we build a collaborative, supportive environment for NGOs across multiple sectors.”
The sprint conversations were anchored by a set of personas developed by the team. “We had caricatures representing the personas up on the wall to remind us who we were designing our actions for, community board and committee members,” Jo Cribb says. “It was a good way to keep us grounded in the reality of being on a community group committee, and to keep the diversity of the sector front of mind.”
Sprint participants were divided into two groups – a group which generated a range of ideas, and a challenge group. At the end of each day, the challenge group joined the sprint group to carry out a rigorous process of assessment and refinement of the ideas generated during the sprint.
“The challenge group proved to be a very important part of the process. The sprint team was encouraged to go big and all-encompassing in its thinking, but some of what was generated would have been difficult to implement. The challenge team tested the ideas and helped us focus them into forms that could be put into action,” Jo says.
Two ideas emerged with plans and momentum to put them in place; a social good campaign which highlighted the value of NGO and community governance to encourage people to step up into boards, and the development of an index for New Zealand organisations to benchmark their generosity in terms of giving to communities and supporting volunteers on boards.
A campaign to highlight the value and diversity within community governance was of particular interest to Michelle Kitney. “In getting a greater range of people to understand the value of NGO governance, we may need to change how we talk about it. We need to be able to talk about it in ways that are better understood by say the business sector.”
For Kelly Dare, the time invested in the sprint was an opportunity to contribute to the long-term strength of the NGO and community sector.
“I really believe in the work that NGOs do. Taking part in this programme was a way for me to give back to organisations and to take my development as a Governance Group chair seriously.”
Steering Group Members
Mele Wendt, MNZM
Mele Wendt has 17 years of leadership/management experience and over 20 years of governance experience. Her roles have included being a high school teacher, the founding pacific islands liaison officer and manager of the student recruitment office at Victoria University of Wellington, and then the executive director of Fulbright New Zealand for ten years. In the last few years, Mele has been doing a mix of consultancy work and governance. A certified member of the Institute of Directors, Mele currently serves on the boards of Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu Correspondence School and the Wellington Community Trust. She also currently chairs the Steering Group which is developing a national strategy for NGO/community governance. Recent past governance appointments include chairing Massey University's Pacific Student Success Working Group, and chairing the Pasifika Education Centre in Auckland. Mele is Samoan (Malie, Vaiala, Lefaga) and palagi (NZ, Britain), and lives in Wellington. In January 2019, Mele was awarded a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) for her services to governance, the Pacific community and women.
Francesca Ephraim is a Regional Advisor in the Capability Team at Charities Services. She also worked for the Charities Commission as an Analyst when it was established in 2008. Francesca has a Bachelor of Laws and extensive experience in the not-for-profit sector and is passionate about improving governance in the sector. Outside of work Francesca is a renovation queen and a garden ninja.
Yvonne has been the CEO of Auckland Community North and Development (ANCAD) for the past eleven years. ANCAD is one of the largest capability builders in Auckland around governance and management for the community sector. ANCAD was awarded the Massey University Business Partner of the year in 2019. Yvonne has extensive governance, management and operational experience and is a recognized leader in the NFP sector. She has a commitment to social justice and advocacy for the community sector. Yvonne is a graduate of the University of Waikato, majoring in Community Psychology and Sociology. In recent years she has continued her studies in entrepreneurship and business management at the University of Auckland Business School. She is a member of the Institute of Directors, Governance New Zealand and the International Association of Community Development.
Kate is Head of Community Investment at Rata Foundation. Rata Foundation is the largest philanthropic funder in the South Island. She has a background in both grant making and strategic funding both in New Zealand and in the UK. Kate has a strong interest in supporting grassroots organizations, and believes those are best placed to meet the needs of their communities. She has had a particular interest in supporting community sector governance, and has led Rata Foundations development of its strengthening the sector approach.
Sara Passmore is the Capability and Development Programme Manager at Te Tumu Paeroa, the organisation the supports the Māori Trustee in the administration of over 1,800 Māori land trusts. She is currently leading on a national, programme-level response to growing capability in Māori governance and land administration. Sara has a Masters of Business Administration from Victoria University of Wellington, as well as a Bachelor’s of Education and a Bachelor’s of English Literature. In her spare time she’s on the Board of Wellington Women’s House, a not-for-profit that provides accommodation for women experiencing homelessness; as well as the Humanist Society of New Zealand, a charity that promote human rights; and the New Zealand Guild of Agricultural Journalists & Communicators, a professional membership organisation that aims to have agriculture recognised for the major role it plays in New Zealand's export-oriented economy. She’s also currently working with past winners of the Ahuwhenua Young Māori Farmers Competition with the aim to from a charitable trust to promote career pathways for Māori into governance roles in the primary sector.
Prabha Ravi QSM, JP
Prabha Ravi is an experienced director and community leader with over 20 years of senior leadership experience in the education and arts industry in the private and public sectors. Prabha has travelled to over 45 countries promoting New Zealand education and representing New Zealand at conferences. She has over ten years of governance experience, especially in the not-for-profit sector. She currently sits on eight national and regional not-for-profit boards. She is the founder and director of Grow Consultancy Limited and Natraj School of Dance established in 2014 and 1999 respectively. She has been recognised with the Queen's Service Medal (QSM), the Hutt City Council Civic Honour award, and awards from ethnic councils for her contribution to dance and ethnic communities . In 2018, she was one of the Judges for the popular TV3 reality show The Great New Zealand Dance Masala. Prabha has been one of the Judges for the annual Hutt City Youth Awards since 2018 and in 2019 was one of the judges for The Hutt’s Got Talent competition.
Monica Briggs is Acting Chief Executive of the Centre. Monica originally joined the team to manage business development and partnerships. Monica has had a distinguished career in the public health and charity sectors with senior management experience. She was most recently the CEO of the YWCA Auckland where she created the National Equal Pay Awards and took the organisation out of a financial deficit position and into a surplus. Monica’s previous roles include National Education Setting Manager at the National Heart Foundation, and General Manager of the Auckland Regional Public Health Service (APRHS), where she held accountability for the largest and most complex public health provider in the country with over 200 staff. She has been deputy chair for the New Zealand AIDS Foundation and President of the Public Health Association of New Zealand. She currently sits as a board member on the Grief Centre. Monica works in areas which align to her values around empowerment and social justice and loves the energy and spirit of the not-for-profit, philanthropic and charitable sectors.
Holly has worked in the NGO sector for around 20 years, in both a governance capacity and operational roles. Holly has a vast range of experience on NGO governance boards, having previously served on the boards of Abbeyfield Waikato, Hamilton Dog Obedience, Computers in Homes Waikato and Te Whare Kokonga. She currently sits on the board of the Momentum Waikato Foundation and Free FM. Holly is the Chief Executive of Community Waikato, a capacity building organisation for community and social service organisations in the Waikato region. A key priority of Community Waikato is to build excellence in governance through providing training, resources and one on one advisory support.
Toni has had a range of governance roles since returning to Aotearoa New Zealand in 2008. Toni was appointed to the board of the Government Superannuation Fund Authority in 2009. After serving two terms, Toni sought to expand her knowledge of the not-for-profit sector and joined the Audit and Risk Committee of the IHC. Toni remained a member until an opportunity came up to join the establishment board of New Zealand Community Housing Funding Ltd. Toni has also served as a Deputy Chair of Te Tikanga Marae and is currently a Trustee of a Whānau Trust. Alongside these governance roles and a long career in banking and investment management, Toni recently decided to move to the Public Sector. She is a Principal Advisor in the Investment team at Te Puni Kōkiri and has responsibility for building investment related capability amongst whānau and communities, including Māori governance capability.
Susan Huria, Ngai Tahu ONZM
Susan has held board directorships with not for profit trusts and privately owned companies, publicly-listed, state-owned enterprises, a crown research institute and a wide range of Māori owned including currently Chairman of Ngāi Tahu Property. She is also a Director with the Royal NZ College of GPs, a Director of Connexis, Leaderbrand and a Trustee Construction Health and Safety NZ. She is
Chair of the Steering Committee ‘Growing Up in New Zealand’ – longitudinal study governed by UniServices and MSD. Susan is a Chartered Fellow of the Institute of Directors and has spent over two decades in governance roles.
Helga has worked over 15 years in not-for-profit organisations in the Netherlands and New Zealand. She is currently employed as the Research and Capability Improvement Manager at Cancer Society of New Zealand. As such she oversees the volunteer involvement at the Cancer Society and focuses on purposeful engagement of volunteers and valuing the volunteer contribution. She further champions the value of volunteering in her role as Chair of Volunteering New Zealand and actively advocates for inclusive and impactful volunteering in various settings including at governance and operational levels and informal settings.
Helga is an influential leader with extensive experience in building productive relationships. She is passionate about leading change through engaging, facilitating and collaborating with others to ensure we meet the changing needs of our communities.
Helga has a Master of Science (Physical Geography) and Master of Arts (Education and Communication) with the University of Utrecht (The Netherlands).
Delane Luke has joined the National Strategy for Community Governance steering group as a youth representative. Delane is of Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Rarua, Te Rarawa and Ngāti Maniapoto descent, and he works for Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu as the Lead for the Rangatahi/Youth strategy. A key focus for the strategy is to create more opportunities to expose rangatahi to governance training and development as the leaders of tomorrow. As a member of the steering group, Delane aspires to create an environment where rangatahi voice is valued and recognised in decision making. His previous experience in this space includes being part of the decision panel for Ruia, a collaborative funding partnership between Rātā Foundation, Te Pūtahitanga o te Waipounamu, Ngāi Tahu and Ministry of Youth Development. Ruia is designed to support rangatahi wellbeing, intergenerational leadership, succession planning and cultural development.
Delane’s journey of honouring Te Reo and Te Ao Māori began, and has been nurtured, at home. He is a graduate of Kohanga Reo and attended Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Whānau Tahi and St Thomas of Canterbury. His interests include Te Ao Māori and rangatahi-focused initiatives. He played rugby league in 2019 at a representative level last year for the New Zealand Universities team.
This exciting collaboration between the Centre for Social Impact (CSI) and community organisations is swinging into action. The first of six workshops to design the strategy will be held in Wellington on 11 and 12 March.
“Each of the workshops will take two days and each will focus on just one of the six outcome areas identified for the strategy,” project manager Dr Jo Cribb says. Jo wrote the 2019 report on NGO governance from the Superdiversity Institute and CSI that identified the need for strategy. Following the launch of the report, a steering group was formed to support the kaupapa, and a project scope was taken out to funders. The initiative attracted the support of Auckland Council, Foundation North, Rātā Foundation, Grant Thornton, and the Department of Internal Affairs.
“Each of these organisations saw the value of investing in the development of a strategy that would improve governance in a sector that generates an estimated $20 billion in annual income, and which delivers so many services to communities throughout the country.”
Content for the strategy will be generated by people from across the motu with NGO and community governance experience.
“We put a call out at the end of last year for volunteers with an interest in governance of not-for-profit organisations and the community sector to participate in workshops around the six outcome areas identified for the strategy,” Jo says. “We were looking for a range of experience, from people who are involved with local sports clubs, environmental groups or social service agencies, through to people with experience in governance in regional or national organisations.
Over 80 people volunteered from across Aotearoa, and all have been invited to be part of the process. The workshops are taking the form of design sprints. Each sprint will draw on design thinking to define the problem and create and test actions. The combined wisdom of the sprints will be included in the national strategy.
The first sprint, which will focus on engaging the broader governance community in valuing community governance, is being facilitated by Philanthropy New Zealand CEO, Sue McCabe.
For steering group chair Mele Wendt, the first sprint will provide an insight into the collective wisdom of a group of NGO governors.
“People involved in NGO governance in various sectors rarely have a chance to come together to share their experiences. The process of developing the strategy provides a unique opportunity for us to learn from people who invest so much of their own time to help New Zealand’s NGOs deliver for their communities.”
Steering group member Toni Kerr says the chance to participate in a multidisciplinary approach for such an important kaupapa is very appealing.
“We are looking forward to working alongside whānau and community focussed organisations.”
A principal advisor at Te Puni Kokiri, Toni sees a connection between the NGO and Community Governance strategy work, and work being done by TPK.
“At Te Puni Kōkiri, we’ve recognised that building capability can be a key enabler, particularly in the area of “grassroots” governance that is characterised by limited resources, high barriers to accessing funding and is not well served by current governance models.
As such there is considerable alignment with the objectives of the project to deliver a governance solution that is relevant and meets the needs of whānau and communities.
An outline of the outcomes from each sprint will be available through the CSI website. A draft of the national strategy, based on the content generated through the workshops, is expected to be completed in the second half of this year.