Improving your financial sustainability - webinar

30 June 2020

Are you just surviving or are you starting to think differently in order to position yourself for financial sustainability and success?

We know it’s difficult at the moment, with funding being the #1 concern for many people; which is why our most recent webinar, How to Thrive and not just survive, focused on how you can (re)position your organisation for success. 

Tim Jones, The Grow Good Guy, joined us for the second of our three-part 'why you need to think differently' webinar series on Monday 29 June. During the webinar, Tim: 

  • Offered ways of thinking differently in order to position yourself for financial sustainability and success
  • Challenged traditional ways of thinking about funding, including analysing the charity business model
  • Discussed B Corporations, impact investment,  and social enterprise for the physical activity sector

You can view the full recording and read the summary notes below. 

Tim Jones is The Grow Good Guy. He’s a specialist trainer and coach who helps people and organisations define their big-picture purpose and grow positive change in the world. His business is one of the founding B Corps in New Zealand and he’s also the B Corp Ambassador for New Zealand.

He has worked as a General Manager for Kilmarnock Enterprises, Head of Sales for CoGo and has run hugely successful training events for organisations such as Meridian Energy.

He has a deep understanding of purpose-driven business and how to scale a business whilst maintaining the mission. Beyond that, he brings extensive experience from work he has done in the Not For Profit and social enterprise sectors. He is able to see both sides of the profit fence and help you integrate doing well and doing good effectively.

This webinar is designed for leaders across the whole sector including:

  • Sport (Boards, CE & GM)
  • Recreation
  • Schools
  • Universities
  • Council
  • Other Providers

Watch the recording 

Key Messages

  • Looking at not just words associated to change but the systems to help trigger ideas/realisations to reflect on your organisation and bring clarity in modern world on way forward.
  • B-Corporations – represent emerging group of companies that are using the power of business to create a positive impact on the world and generate shared and enjoyable prosperity for all

What are mission-drive organisations, social enterprises and b-Corps?

  • The traditional model has been at one end of this spectrum you have charity; so fully about trying to solve a social/environmental problem that has been identified. Then typically at the other end of the spectrum you have business.
  • In every major western democracy the only thing a business needs to do is to make more money this year than it did last year, and promise to make as much money as it can next year so that the shareholders/owners can maximise their financial return.
  • It’s been this binary state of do-good, or make money.
  • More recently, B-Corps have been going since 2013 (approx.). They were coming from the business side of things – thinking what if business could operate in a way that didn’t just look to make as much money as it can. It still aims to make a profit, but also considers what you do with the profit that counts.
    • Can you re-invest that back into your staff? Can you be a better corporate citizen?
  • Social enterprises come more from the charity sector
    • The working definition is you have a mission that you’re here to achieve
    • You have to be trading – you can’t be reliant on funding; there has to be a business-type enterprise
    • 50% plus of your revenue/profit needs to be going back into the mission.
  • B-Corporation is a for-profit businesses that has been independently verified to prove the positive social/environmental impact that they’re making whilst operating a business
  • B-Corps and social enterprise can have a little bit of overlap. All sit on a spectrum along with charities. 

How can we understand and apply this to the sport sector? What does monetising the sector look like in this context?

  • Typical example is a charity adding a café somewhere and monetising it.
  • The Op Shop is the original social-enterprise ideal.
  • Consistent funding is the biggest headache for charities
  • There is a perception from big business that charities may be poorly resources, not understand business, and don’t maximise money
  • The ultimate ideal is how do you create something where you are trading everyday and every dollar that you’re selling is creating positive impact on the other side of the ledger? That’s the holy grail to aim for.
  • Two key parts to it
    • How do we monetize effectively?
      • What is the unique skillset that we can sell effectively and do that really well?
    • How do we make sure that we’re making impact?
  • There’s an interesting argument to say that the monetization of sport maybe hasn’t worked out that well. Eg. Rugby struggling to pay players. Can’t have TV money and people in the stadium.
  • Like any enterprise/business, if you have something that has a value to a person or a group of people then you can sell it.
    • Basis of sales – if I have something that has value for you, and you have money and are willing to pay for it, let’s exchange
  • For the sporting world
    • Community run organsiations – run by volunteers.
      • Would parents pay higher subs if it was clearly articulated the value you were going to offer in terms of the skills their child would develop – such as team skills, resilience
      • The value of a coach teaching a child to get back up after a mistake and continue to try – that has value for a parent
    • You need to be able to really articulate the value of the thing that you’re offering, beyond just the obvious.
      • Be aware fo the wider value you offer
      • Be clear in communicating it
      • Understand what it is people are looking for right now
    • Often in sport we can look at the product we’re delivering, but what are those transformational benefits that people are going to be getting from being engaged in the game.
      • How can we get better at selling this product, rather than just the fact of getting people out on the field?
    • Interesting parallel between business and sport:
      • Business looks to sport for lessons on how to be better at business
        • Why aren’t we doing that at a more individual/micro-level?
      • This concept that it isn’t necessarily about winning the game, it’s the idea that each week you get to come back and play the game. And each week you’re getting better at playing the game, and each week you’re learning these micro lessons about how you can be a better ‘player’ , but that’s not just you being a better hockey player or swimmer, it’s actually you just being a better human.
      • Those skills are so transferable.
    • There are loads of problems that are out there, just in Aotearoa NZ we have a lot of social challenges hitting us all at once.
      • Teaching kids how to play sport well, and not just the tactics of how do we score a goal, but teaching them the ideals of resilience, of mindset, of working with your team, of realising that you have a place to play in thise team; there’s so much you can unpack there that’s of so much value that is not overtly recognised.
        • Equally it’s hard to sell that stuff

Could you expand on the notion “that charity has been popularised for centuries as a noble cause” but real change requires influencing social drivers to ensure charity is not needed in the future?

  • Charity – no money, fundraising, do good
    • Has this clunky, old way of doing this perception
  • The challenge with a lot of charities is they create a co-dependency of; I need you to still be not in as good a position as you could be, because if we solve this problem, there’s no job left for me
  • Whereas coming from the business side of things, the business angle on it would be; here is a problem, how do we fix this problem? And ultimately, how do we fix it fix it so that it’s no longer a problem?
    • On the way to fixing it, how do we ensure that we’re sustainable?
      • That’s the big mindset shift that charity needs to go through.
    • Kilmarnech enterprises are an example of doing this.

How do we influence this change? Of ourselves and those people that we’re approaching?

  • What is the social/physical/environmental challenge that you’re looking to solve?
    • Know what the problem you’re solving is
      • Allows you to be really clear on how you present this to people
    • For sport, get clear on what are some of the social challenges that you’re helping to fix?
      • Because there’s value in that
    • Then have to know, how are you doing that? How are you solving that problem and are you actually being effective?
      • Increasingly, funders/people are wanting to know specifics about the outcomes that you’re delivering on
    • NZ has the most number of charities per capita
      • Means there’s a lot of competition and duplication
      • What accountability is there in the charity sector against the outcomes we’re delivering on?

Is collaboration between organisations an opportunity to increase revenue/sustainability?

  • Quite often, the ego is bigger in the “do good” sector, than it is in the corporate sector.
    • The corporate sector is generally more ruthless around – If we combine with them, do we do this better? Do we want to do better? Yes. Ok let’s collaborate.
    • In the ‘do good” sector, it seems like individuals want to be the one to solve this problem and aren’t as willing to let others help them solve it.
  • There has to be an element of letting go and working out – how do we be more effective?
    • How can we create more impact with less resource?

How do we transition the not-for-profit mindset to the for-profit mindset? What do we need to know?

  • Reframing your mindset from not-for-profit – because that mentally tells us that we’re not going to make money. Instead consider the concept of “not-for-loss”.
    • Aim to make as much money as you can, because the more money you make, the more social good you can do.
  • If you get the money, you can do the good.
    • As long as you’re getting the money in an ethical, sustainable manner and you’re spending it in a good place, it needs to not be a barrier.

What factors do we need to consider in order to make change, and long-term, sustainable change?

  • Being more creative and take more risks are things people can and need to do.
    • Be willing to have a go, and going big
  • Get really clear on the purpose, why are we doing this?
    • What is the impact that we are making?
    • That will help you try to do the best you can, find new ways of doing things.
  • Beyond what the sport delivers, get really clear on the value that you’re offering to communities, societies.
  • Be clear on how much money you actually need.
  • Start thinking about what is is that you’ve got that you can offer your social community, local business community in terms of the skills that you’ve got and how you can go about monetizing them.
    • Take small risks. Give something a go. Test and see how it goes.
  • If you keep doing the same thing over and over again and expecting something different, that’s insanity – Einstein
    • Like with Gaming Trusts – The social impact of gambling is massive. Are you robbing Peter to pay Paul? Is that the best way you could get your money?
  • What’s the greater cause of what we’re doing in the whole industry? Why should we not be afraid to sell our sport, and the benefits it offers more?

What should sport and active rec be thinking about in regards to impact investment?

  • The concept behind impact investment is people with money are increasingly more willing to invest in projects and activities where there is the opportunity for a financial return; but they are willing to take a lower financial return if you can prove the social and/or environmental return that your project will deliver.
  • Think about the broader positive benefits of getting kids involved in sport – eg. Reduced crime rates, better connected communities – and attach a monetary value to that
    • Allows you to go to other funders and groups
      • Police, Ministry of Social Development
    • It’s looking at the non-financial impact you can make and trying to put a value to that.
      • Application of human/social capital

What might an Active Rec organisation building themselves around the social enterprise concept look like?

  • Facilities/fixed assets are a great place to start. If you have a building/facility that’s under-utilized, what other community groups can you collaborate with to increase your own income.
  • If you have a couple coaches, what other kind of coaching could they be doing?
    • How do you plug and play your core offerings into other parts of your community/society where you could monetize it?
    • And you’re telling the story still of what impact that money is making.
  • Think about – what services/utilities have you got? And if someone gives you money for that, what other impact are they contributing to?

What are you seeing as the changing needs of our communities and societies? Why do we need to think differently?

  • One of the biggest challenges is disconnection. Increasing rates of social isolation – down to the way we build our cities and suburbs. There’s a real lack of real community cohesion.
    • Offers an opportunity around sport to help with that social cohesion and identity in local communities.
    • Particularly with kids. The internet generation – how can sport help them feel tied to something bigger to encourage them to engage in physical activity?

Do you have examples for volunteer-based charities for how these concepts can be applied?

  • Maybe that’s part of the challenge? How do we get away from a volunteer-dependent sector?
  • Can we look at volunteers as a resource – the experience that volunteers get from volunteering – and trying to sell that concept

Catch up with Part 1: The Economy and Change

How will COVID-19 effect the NZ economy, what will the impact of this be regionally, and why should the physical activity sector care are just a few of the questions Brad Olsen, Senior Economist at Infometrics, discussed in Sport Wellington's latest webinar - The Economy and Change: Why we need to think differently. 

View recording and key messages

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