Survey: "increasingly fragmented, under-resourced and over-worked community sector"

Image: Hannes Grobe

ComVoices have released results of a survey which highlights the high level of pressure being felt by NGOs delivering services.

The State of the Sector Survey: Snapshot 2014 was sent to all ComVoices umbrella groups in response to growing feedback organisations are unable to make ends meet.  311 organisations completed the survey, which found an "increasingly fragmented, under-resourced and over-worked community sector."

The survey aimed to take a current snapshot of:

  • Organisations within the community and voluntary sector
  • The work they deliver
  • Who they are funded by
  • Their resourcing and capacity, and
  • The financial viability of their organisations.

Major findings included community organisations coping with bigger workloads and less staff, a frustration with both Government and philanthropic funding contracts and competitive funding models, and significant financial pressures resulting in an inability to offer wage increases and the possibility of closure. Organisations also felt concerned that competitive funding models were changing the collaborative nature of the sector.

Survey findings include:

  • 75% have more work than 3 years ago – but fewer than 40% have more staff than 3 years ago.
  • More than 80% are doing more work than specified in contracts – 60% doing up to 25% extra, and 17% doing more than 50% extra
  • 40% were unable to offer any wage increases in the last 3 years
  • 6% report they are facing closure in the short term, because of financial pressures
  • 60% of organisations were not prepared to speak out publically about the issues they are facing.

The 311 responses were received in the eight days the survey was open, which ComVoices Chairperson Peter Glensor said indicated the survey questions raised issues of significant concern to the sector. The majority of responses were received from social services and disability groups, and a significant number from mental health, youth, public health, aged care and education groups as well as housing and migrant and ethnic groups.

Peter Glensor said, "In the longer term, we are calling for a new approach to funding of service delivery, to ensure value for money, while preserving a truly collaborative culture, which is essential for most community-based service delivery."

Media:

Community organisations struggling, Press release: ComVoices, 15.09.2014

Image: Desiccation-cracks hg by Hannes Grobe. Licence: Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.5).