There are significant challenges that forward thinking for-purpose leaders were already needing to traverse, ranging from global macro trends around trust in the sector through to increasing frustrations about an inefficient and overcrowded domestic charity sector. In a world changed forever by the COVID-19 pandemic some of these issues have been further highlighted, while new challenges have also emerged.   

 The opportunity for sound and connected leadership to guide their organisations and its stakeholders through these challenges is greater than ever.  We reviewed the expectations placed on the shoulders of for-purpose leaders todayHow do they best address their organisation’s ‘why?’ and make sure they have the tools and resources to deliver. The role of fundraising and stakeholder engagement in its broadest form are essential in ensuring for-purpose leaders take informed strategic decisions for their organisations.   

To meet these and other current challengessector leaders must look beyond being organisation centricMeeting the needs of beneficiaries alone to achieve organisational purpose is not enoughFor-purpose leaders who are future focussed must adopt strategiesbe donor centric while being committed to building teams that are capable and lead organisations that have the capacity to meet these new challenges 

Committing to donor centric fundraising is urgent and important. The strategy to keep overheads low by not investing in fundraising talent, developing and supporting teams to work together or inspiring innovation may only see organisations and teams survive, rather than thrive Surviving is not enough! Organisations cannot fulfil their mission by just surviving. Meeting the organisations purpose and fulfilling its mission is about your peopleyour donors and other benefactors, such as your volunteers and sponsorsas much as it is about your beneficiaries, those your organisation is committed to serve. Leaders who commit to guide their teams and build authentic relationships with their donors will be successful in meeting needs of those they serve.  

Addressing the challenges and focussing on future sustainability.

The challenges brought about by a global pandemic heightened the need and the opportunity to consider collaboration in its broadest form. Collaboration enables individuals or organisations to work together to achieve a common purpose. This goes beyond individual departments.

In times of change co-creation is a necessity. Disruption is a reality.

Co-creation opens up the co-innovation process and leads to engaging a wide range of stakeholders who are not normally involved. Co-creation refers to designing a product, service or process by providing opportunities to work together, get input from leadership, benefactors, beneficiaries and cross-functional teams and other collaborating partners working together from idea creation to development.

The result of co-creation is inspiring co-innovation. Co-innovation involves teams working together in partnership, knowledge sharing and committing to shared value creation for the greater good. Driving positive societal change is at the forefront of co-innovation.

Building sustainable futures

Adversity brought about by the global pandemic and impending economic uncertainty will impact organisations in different ways. Change is inevitable. But change also brings about opportunities for organisations who are led by forward thinking leaders who embrace change. Those who have the ability to innovate, pivot and be agile have already seen success. For-purpose sector leaders have a real opportunity to look within and seek the future that their organisation wants, to fulfil its purpose. Building capacity and capability will provide organisations the best chance of being sustainable.

Organisations building capacity to embrace change effectively.

Change is sometimes difficult and uncomfortable. Understanding the rate of change, it’s impact – positive or negative – and the organisations’ ability and pace to integrate change are important considerations. Building resilience, understanding and trust within teams, bringing in additional resources and expertise where needed and providing the required time will provide the best opportunity to implement change more effectively.

Building capability is improving the knowledge and skills of the team

Organisations may have the capacity but lack capability to implement the desired change. The capacity to change and developing team capability to succeed is dependent on the organisational leaders’ capability to inspire and embrace change. Technical ability and/or seniority are not sufficient in change management. Strong change leadership is essential to navigate unchartered territories into the future. Building capability across teams is a key consideration for sector leaders who embrace change.

The time is now, to step up and take charge. Building capability within the teams by enhancing their knowledge and skills through training and development, and by creating a platform for knowledge sharing and collaboration will in fact increase the capacity and sustainability of organisations.

A commitment to building sustainable organisations

Leaders who commit to inspire innovation can confidently embrace challenges and failures. They dedicate the right resources, encourage collaboration and commit to developing and retaining their teams. They are donor centric, encourage strong committed relationships with donors and are dedicated to measuring success and improvement. Great leaders will invest in the right resources and invest in strong stakeholder relationships that are so vital for organisational sustainability.

Historically, sustainability was only about financial stability. Today, Sustainability is not just about financial health or stability. It is also about having the necessary resources to meet needs and be responsive to change in the long term.

Sustainability is about

  • service continuation, which depends on the organisations ability to continue to be relevant
  • have capable teams
  • have the capacity to meet needs
  • have committed donors, volunteers and supporters
  • be financially stable which includes donations as well as revenue generation and income.

For organisations to continue to be sustainable, organisations must have defined impact goals while focussing on financial goals and explore complimentary income streams – philanthropy and impact investment where suitable. A commitment to collaborate, co-create and co-innovate and develop business models that are financially viable are an important part of this journey. Understand and appreciate a strong team culture that encourages shared passion and values. A commitment to processes that encourage cross functional teams working together and have a commitment to drive those relationships will be important.

The global pandemic and the pending economic crisis have refocussed the attention of for-purpose leaders on the uncertain environment that organisations are operating in. The changes are unexpected and unpredictable.

For organisations to be sustainable, a commitment to looking at new ways of operating in a world changed forever is a given.

A commitment to sustainability is the key to success. 


Talk to us today about transforming your organisation with collaboration, co-creation and co-innovation.

New Zealand
Clive Pedley:    T +64-9-215-3626      M +64-27-248-4371         |       Iyanthi Wijayanayake :    T +64-9-215-3624      M +64-21-618-363 

Nigel Harris :  M  +61-407-628-605

Email :