Community organisations often have an acute need for professional development, yet lack the financial resources to secure it. The fact was recognised by Ruth Greenaway, Training and Communications Coordinator for North Shore Community and Social Services (NSCSS), Auckland: “We know that issues like governance, media management, fundraising, strategic planning and capacity building are areas of high need for many, particularly smaller, community agencies.”
NSCSS has come up with a solution: Five Good Ideas, a series of workshops providing professional development at an affordable price to community groups in Central Auckland and the North Shore. It provides monthly workshops ten times a year, at a cost of just $20 per participant including lunch and resources.
Between 20 and 50 representatives from community organisations attend each workshop, meaning the series reaches over 300 people a year. Topics range from employment law, fundraising strategies and reporting for outcomes through to sourcing web office applications and managing conflict.
In 2013, NSCSS worked with other branches of the Council of Social Services to take its workshops to new areas of Auckland, reaching Parnell, Waiheke Island and Pukekohe. NSCSS further extended its remit by delivering five new workshops to explore issues in depth over a four-hour period, with material tailored to smaller groups. In 2013 those workshops addressed measuring board performance, managing an organisation’s IT, running a successful planning day, making the most of digital communications, and capacity building.
The Tindall Foundation has more than doubled its annual donation in order to back this extended programme. We support capacity building and the promotion of best practice for community and voluntary organisations; Five Good Ideas gives key skills to help achieve those goals.
Our support has helped to pay for facilitators, resources, venue hire, advertising and catering – and thereby to keep workshop fees low. Without such support, acknowledged Ruth, “it would not have been easy or attractive to so many community organisations, as the cost would have been prohibitive.”
Feedback from participants in Five Good Ideas has emphasised the value of hearing new ideas and the practical applications of the resources provided. Commented one attendee: “It made me think about what my organisation could do better. I can’t wait to use the handouts!”
For Marlene Walker, Administrator of Hestia Rodney Women’s Refuge, Five Good Ideas “is such a good offering. They fit in to the time available and deliver on the information in a succinct way.” The expansion of the series means that many more good ideas will be affordably conveyed to community organisations across Auckland.
For more information contact:
Ruth Greenaway, Training and Communications Coordinator