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Adapting NGO business practices through collaboration to scale impact

Melbourne Development Circle

Tuesday, 4 September 2018 from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm (AEST)

Adapting NGO business practices through collaboration t...

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Ticket Type Sales End Price Fee Quantity
General Admission 04/09/2018 $25.00 $0.00

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How are governments, charities, NGOs and organisations successfully adapting their business models, leadership and professional practice to achieve impact?


How do we choose the right business practices that help maximise impact in the development sector? When does collaboration work and why does it fail? Is a merger right for my organisation or are there other effective ways of working?


MDC presents an interactive evening with Geoff Sharp, Associate Consultant of Collaboration for Impact, Zeah Behrend, Head of Strategy and Business Consulting, Save the Children and senior leaders who are walking the talk in collaboration to answer this pressing question that can change ‘business disruption and competition’ to ‘collaboration and integration’.


There is significant disruption in the landscape in which Australian development NGOs are funded and delivered. In Australia and globally, organisations are feeling the squeeze with shifting economic and political powers, whilst there continues to be significant growth in the sector. In 2016, there were almost 53,000 registered NFPs with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) and approximately 600 registered development NGOs in Australia with the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID), turning over nearly $122 billion - about 5% of Australia’s GDP.

The environment of limited resources and potential for duplication of actors in the sector, places extra pressure for organisations to find solutions to ensure they thrive through adequate funding, influence and resourcing, whilst pursuing significant social impact.

How can NGOs adapt their practice when business disruption and competition seem to be the new norm?

The need for change brings opportunity through collaboration – global trends in NGO business practices highlight many ways of forging alliances including formal mergers and acquisitions, co-location, joint ventures, and partnerships from within and beyond the sector. Consistent with the suite of characteristics of a healthy sector presented in the inaugural ACFID State of Sector report 2018, this provides a foundation for organisations to better work together to create a united sector to build collective action and system leadership.

Join the Melbourne Development Circle community in an interactive facilitated discussion with speakers that have found solutions in adapting their business practices to successfully achieve social impact. The collaboration continuum provides a framework for us to discuss what approach works best under what conditions.

This session will benefit NGO and social enterprise influencers, decision-makers and project managers and we invite you to share your experience to forge a path of collaboration. Participants will:

  • Connect with collaboration professionals in facilitated and interactive World Café-style discussion
  • Learn from a panel of senior leaders who have been ‘walking the talk’ in successful collaboration with positive change 



Facilitator: Geoff Sharp – Associate Consultant, Collaboration for Impact


As an associate with Collaboration for Impact, Australia’s leading organisation for learning how to respond to complexity through effective collaboration, Geoff has in depth knowledge and experience in creating cultures and communities of practice which embrace and speak the language of collective response and collaborative thinking.

Geoff has held various executive positions including CEO of United Way Ballarat, the Ballarat Foundation and Volunteering Ballarat, and has been key in convening and funding early collective impact and collaborative responses including mergers. He was also Co-Chair of the Central Highlands Child and Youth Area Partnership, a collective impact initiative of the Victorian State Government under DHHS and DET, and currently holds various advisory positions relating to community and professional collaboration.



Speaker: Zeah Behrend - Head of Strategy and Business Consulting, Save the Children

Zeah is the Head of Strategy and Business Consulting for Save the Children Australia. In this role she provides strategic and corporate governance support to the CEO and the Executive team. This includes providing strategic support and advice on partnerships, including mergers and acquisitions, with a range of organisations. Zeah previously held the role of Head of National Programs and Quality in Save the Children’s Australian Programs team. Zeah has over 15 years’ experience in program and project management, research, policy and consulting having previously work for the NSW and federal governments and as a social policy consultant.

Have questions about Adapting NGO business practices through collaboration to scale impact? Contact Melbourne Development Circle

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When & Where

City of Melbourne Bowls Club
Flagstaff Gardens
West Melbourne

Tuesday, 4 September 2018 from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm (AEST)

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Melbourne Development Circle

Melbourne Development Circle (MDC) fosters a culture of collaboration and knowledge­ sharing between people and organisations creating positive social, economic, environmental and cultural change.

We believe that via innovation and collaborative effort, the development sector can continue to increase its impact as a positive change agent within communities in Australia and abroad.

Our team of volunteers curate regular events which provide a platform for the Melbourne-based development community to share ideas, discuss topical development issues, and network in a relaxed environment.

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