STRONGER TOGETHER: The Heart of Community—The True Value of NFPs and Social Enterprises

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Last updated: 22/04/2024

"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya discusses the profound impact and transformative power of not-for-profits (NFPs) and social enterprises in Australia, highlighting their significant contribution to the economy and society.

By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea

Tanya O'Shea, IMPACT Community Services Managing Director

As Managing Director at IMPACT Community Services and a dedicated advocate for community welfare and progress, I've had the privilege of serving on multiple boards dedicated to enhancing the fabric of Australian society. From the Queensland Alliance for Mental Health (QAMH) to Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ), and as an ambassador for the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS), I've seen firsthand the transformative power of not-for-profits (NFPs) and social enterprises.

Australia is fortunate to have a vibrant ecosystem of NFPs and social enterprises tirelessly working towards addressing societal challenges and fostering positive change, generating $190 billion in revenue and employing 10.5% of the workforce, according to the Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC). This constitutes a substantial segment of Australia’s economy and community.

Working with NFPs and social enterprises provides a unique opportunity to align passion with purpose. Social enterprises, in particular, resonate with those seeking to create positive change while pursuing their professional endeavours, offering a chance to channel energy and talents toward lasting benefits for the community.

NFPs and social enterprises are often recognised for their inclusive and collaborative nature. Thriving on diversity of thought, expertise, and experience, these organisations cultivate a rich tapestry of ideas, driving innovation and effectiveness.

The sense of fulfilment from working in this sector is unparalleled. Every contribution, no matter how small, has the potential to make a profound difference in someone's life, whether it's providing vital support services, championing environmental sustainability, or promoting community resilience.

Beyond the satisfaction of knowing you're making a difference, there are opportunities for personal and professional growth. You'll gain invaluable experience, expand your network, and develop skills that are transferable across various industries.

So, to all the young people reading this, driven by a desire to make a meaningful impact, I say: ‘Get involved. Embrace the endless opportunities within the not-for-profits and social enterprises sector. Let your passion ignite change and your actions inspire others. Whether you're a budding entrepreneur, a skilled professional, or a passionate advocate, there's a place for you in this sector.’

And to established leaders and professionals, I urge you to mentor and support the next generation of changemakers. Share knowledge, experiences, and resources to empower them to lead with integrity and compassion, cultivating a new generation of leaders committed to a more just and sustainable future.

By engaging with NFPs and social enterprises, you become part of a larger movement—one driven by compassion, empathy, and a shared commitment to social justice. Together, we can tackle some of the most pressing issues facing our world today, from climate change to mental health stigma to the current cost of living crises, with courage, determination, and resilience. Together, we can create a world of which we can be proud, now and into the future.

Please note: This website may contain references to, or feature images, videos, and voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who have passed away.

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