News

  • 27 Mar 2017 10:40 AM | Shayne Morris (Administrator)

    You’ve probably heard of grants in the context of academia or community building: An organization offers a sum of money to any individual or group that promises to pursue a project, an idea or a program within certain parameters. Receiving a grant has traditionally meant spending hours researching details that justify your need for the grant, writing a detailed proposal that outlines how you would use the grant money and then waiting and hoping you’re chosen to receive the grant.

    But, grants aren’t just for academics or community planners. Did you know that associations are using grants to encourage seasoned professionals to continue their professional development or to help young people interested in their industry find internships?

    During our session at the 2017 Great Ideas Conference, we presented three ways your association can leverage grants funded by industry or vendor partners to strengthen your membership: use them to draw in new members, to encourage professional development, and to support the sponsors who fund them.

    Use grants to bring in new members

    It can be financially difficult for professionals in your industry to become dedicated members if they cannot experience firsthand the value of being a member due to the financial cost. With many companies operating on lean budgets, money for association dues is not always available. If it is available, some professionals may have a hard time convincing their supervisor or accounting department that association dues are a wise investment in their professional skill set.

    At the Florida Society of Association Executives, membership dues grants specifically for professionals in the field of association management grew out of a recognized need to help people who still need financial assistance diving in to the association community. Some might have changed careers mid-life and deserve some support as they learn about their new field and strive to network and become more comfortable in it. Others may be looking to get more involved in their professional association and to further their own development. FSAE takes funds from one industry partner and applies them toward a new member grant that covers membership dues for one year plus one registration to their annual conference. This new member grant has opened the door to greater association involvement for many eager association professionals.

    “After experiencing FSAE for myself, I eagerly volunteered to serve on the marketing committee to help plan and promote the 2017 conference and am happily paying to renew my membership. I am thrilled to be a part of this truly inspiring group of creative and innovative individuals!” Lonnie Parizek, MHCA

    Another membership grant that helps draw in more members is a young professionals-only grant that grew out of a need voiced by a task force made up of these professionals. They vocalized to the association board that many young professionals want to join and become involved an association but don’t have the funds from their company or individually to cover conference fees and associated travel expenses. Having the chance to apply for conference attendance funds would encourage more of their peers to actually become engaged members of FSAE. The association created an application for this type of foundation-funded grant and saw young professional involvement at the conference, through year-round committees, and on the Young Professionals task force grow. Encouraging more young professional involvement early on in their careers helps ensure that FSAE’s future leadership will be strong and sustainable.

    “I am grateful to the Foundation for allowing this opportunity for our young leaders to be seen in a more professional way.” Amanda Bowen, 2016-17 FSAE Young Professionals Task Force Chair

    Use grants to encourage professional development

    Another way to apply industry partner funding through grants is to designate it for professional development programs. After a few years of not distributing all the donations given to its foundation because of lack of interest in traditional professional development certificate programs and seminars, the Georgia Society of Association Executives researched what its members really wanted when it came to financial help. The answer? Assistance funding internship positions. Its member organizations, who are associations and association management companies, really wanted to attract more college students and young professionals to the field but couldn’t compete with the handsomely paid internships other industries offered.

    GSAE quickly reorganized its member grant program to focus on funding paid internships among its members. Organizations that had at least one GSAE member on staff could apply for money to be used to pay for an intern for a summer, a semester, or a year. A job description for the internship must be submitted with the application and must show that the intern would do work integral to the organization’s mission and vision, and not just make coffee or file paperwork. The organization must share in the cost of the intern as well, so that the organization would be just as invested in the intern and their potential future as a full-time association professional as GSAE.

    During the 16 years GSAE’s internship program has been around, dozens of interns have thrived at association management companies and associations, and many have chosen to continue working full time in the association field after their internship ended. At the same time, the program has helped out the very same members who fund it by returning their donation to them in the form of extra help for organizations that want to grow their staff but must do so in small financial increments. GSAE’s internship grant program has become a way to introduce students to the field of association management while grooming future members.

    Use grants to support the sponsors who fund them

    Members and member organizations aren’t the only ones who belong to associations. Industry partners and sponsors who belong to associations for access to potential customers and to give back to the professionals who patronize their business deserve to benefit from the money they routinely give to bolster the industry on the local, regional, or even national level.

    When businesses donate money for grants, they often expect recognition and certain benefits in return. They want brand exposure, access to your members as potential clients, the chance to build goodwill with the association and its members, the opportunity to give back their industry, and the chance to nurture existing client-member relationships. Donating to an association’s grant fund is a tangible way for businesses to give back and show support for members. It’s up to your association to fill in the other benefits. Recognize your grant sponsors every chance you can. Bring them up on stage at your events. Thank them for their support in your publications and on your website. Consult with them about new grants you could create aimed at specific audiences they want to meet and nurture.

    Consider taking some of the money they invest in your association and invest it right back in them. The Georgia Association of Convenience Stores did just that when it learned that many of its members, who own and operate convenience stores across the state, wanted to upgrade the outdoor lighting at their stores but couldn’t easily bear the cost. GACS secured a $450,000 block grant from the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority and redistributed this money to members who applied for their newly created lighting retrofit grant project. Having this extra cash allowed many c-store owners to enhance the lighting (and thus the level of safety) at their gas stations, which boosted their business and their profits by encouraging more motorists to stop at their stores at night.

    Grants can potentially add a lot of value to your membership offerings by making membership benefits more accessible to more people. Use grants to invest in all segments of your membership. By doing so, your association will open doors for more fulfilling careers in association management, build a stronger membership value proposition, retain more members, and turn existing members into brand ambassadors for your causes.

    This article was originally sourced from Association Adviser

  • 27 Mar 2017 10:27 AM | Shayne Morris (Administrator)

    While associations are staffed by some pretty amazing, skilled, intelligent people, even the most strategic, forward-thinking multitaskers need help completing a project sometimes. Sometimes an association just needs an extra set of hands to complete a project, and sometimes they need a specialized skill set that no one on staff has yet.

    Enter third-party service providers and vendors who can help associations achieve their goals in areas from advocacy to finance to events. Our February/March reader poll asked readers:

    For what type of project are you most likely to work with a third-party vendor?

    Responses clustered into two camps: technology and communications.

    If you’ve worked on updating your membership database or association website, you’re likely aware of how helpful a vendor who is well-versed in current IT structures and systems can be. With technology changing as rapidly as it does, the cost of working with an IT vendor usually pays for itself in the long run in terms of improved efficiencies and time-saving systems set up for your association.

    Similarly, if you’ve taken on a refresh of your association’s entire communications portfolio, you’ll appreciate the external perspective an outside vendor can offer. Communications consultants, public relations firms and publishers can conduct audience research, suggest a data-based brand refresh and in some cases take on the majority of the publishing process, thus freeing up your staff’s time to focus on other mission-critical areas of your association’s operations.

    Says Liz Richards of the Material Handling Equipment Distributors’ Association about their partnership with Naylor, “We were just looking for a print publication, and it has gone worlds beyond that.” Naylor provides magazine, website, video and social media services for MHEDA.

    Another area where association-vendor partnerships can benefit membership is events. More specifically, industry vendors looking to give back to your association or to a particular category of professionals, such as students, people new to the field or seasoned professionals looking to take the next professional step are often eager to fund grants that will help individuals in these categories bear the cost of attending professional development programs or events. Kelly Clark and Hester Ndoja offer more details about this topic in their discussion about using sponsored grants to strengthen your membership.

    This article was originally sourced from Association Adviser

  • 27 Mar 2017 10:18 AM | Shayne Morris (Administrator)

    Women have a tremendous amount of spending power, ranging from $5 trillion to $15 trillion in the United States alone. They account for 85% or more of all consumer purchases, from new homes and cars to food and healthcare. Women even drive vacation decisions for their families.

    The power women wield with their money doesn’t stop at consumer goods and services, either. It seems there’s quite a gender gap in charitable giving, with women more likely to reach into their purses for a good cause.

    A Look at the Statistics

    In almost every situation, women are more likely to give—and give more —than men. In fact, in the latest studies, boomer and older women gave 89% more than men of the same age. Women of all demographics are influencing philanthropy in new ways and use their clout to change the way funds are raised and distributed. And, as the boomer women experience the largest transference of wealth this decade as they inherit from parents and spouses, this trend should only continue.

    The reason? Studies show that, because of the way they’ve been socialized, women tend to be more empathetic than men. That ability to understand what less fortunate people are going through often translates to their relationship with charitable giving.

    Because of that empathy and the need to feel they’ve made a real difference, female-deciding households are more likely to give to youth and family services charities, like emergency relief, homeless services, food assistance, and legal aid. Men, however, are less likely to give to these organizations, and more prone to giving at higher levels to sports, adult recreation, veterans’ aid, and civil rights organizations.

    What Prompts a Donation?

    Studies show that men give to maintain the status quo or to serve their interests, while women give to help the less fortunate or to promote social change. It’s the message that reaches the giver; men want to hear that their donation will better their environment, while women are driven by knowing they’ll make a real difference.

    Men may also be more likely to give in situations where there is a competition or someone to impress. This often becomes obvious in charitable auctions, where bidding against another reflects on the depth of the wallet. This doesn’t mean that men don’t have noble intentions. It’s simple biology. Basic competitiveness is evolved and related to testosterone. The way competitiveness is displayed, though, depends on the context.

    Flipping the Switch

    While women give more in almost every situation, there is one occasion where the numbers flip: in workplace charitable giving, where women tend to give less, and less often than men. It may be that men in the office feel the need to support their employer or impress with higher donations, or that women simply prefer to give to charities of their own choosing rather than ones selected by their employer. Aligning workplace charitable causes with women’s interests could result in more giving.

    One thing is clear: Non-profits and other charitable organizations would benefit from understanding how gender comes into play – particularly with charitable donations.

    This article was originally sourced from Business 2 Community

  • 27 Mar 2017 9:40 AM | Shayne Morris (Administrator)

    My company set up a new social media strategy at the beginning of the year. Indeed, we felt that our previous configuration no longer corresponded to our new business ambitions and wanted to bring more freshness to our networks.

    6 QUESTIONS TO REVIEW OUR SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY

    To do this, we asked ourselves the following questions:

    • What messages do we want to share?
    • What resources should be allocated to our strategy?
    • What are the profiles of our community?
    • What type of content to share?
    • What KPI’s follow?
    • When to publish?

    This last issue, which is our topic of the day, is one of the key success factors of a social media strategy. Even if your posts are tailored to your audience, they will underperform if you do not publish them at the right time.

    Based on this assumption, we have carried out several test publications on our accounts and measured their performance. Then we crossed these statistics with the data of the clients we manage, in order to determine with greater precision the best moments to publish on each social network.

    LINKEDIN, THE ALLY OF YOUR INBOUND MARKETING STRATEGY

    First of all, let us explain why we have prioritized Linkedin in our reflection. Unlike Facebook or Twitter, the timeline of the social networking professional is, for now, lighter and therefore more readable in terms of the amount of information. Even if this tends to change, on Linkedin you are not forced to multiply the publications to be visible. Sharing has a much longer lifespan than on other networks. It is common to see a publication several times, from the moment it reaches a certain level of interactions (like sharing, comments).

    Aware of this strength, we automatically integrate Linkedin into the social media strategies we develop for BtoB activities, whether they are buying space or publications targeting organic traffic.

    In addition to the visibility offered by Linkedin, this social network fits perfectly into an Inbound Marketing approach. Instead of “bothering” your prospects as they try to forget their work for a few seconds, like Facebook or Instagram, you offer them professional content just when they are looking for it. It is indeed a particularity of Linkedin, which is mainly used in a professional (curation, networking …). This directly impacts the connection peaks.

    THE LINKEDIN USER IS EARLY

    The results of our tests allowed us to draw several conclusions. First, we noted that our publications were given higher visibility when published in the morning (between 6 am and 9 am). An observation that seems logical because many professionals have the habit of doing their watch before arriving at work or failing, on the first hours of office.

    The other observation we made is that the publication days are of particular importance. Indeed, only the most involved users are active on weekends and to a lesser extent on Friday. Linkedin is a social network aimed at professionals which are in fact, less used in the “off” periods.

    To summarize, for my company, our best publications are from Monday to Thursday, from 6 am to 9 am. Of course, this is not a miracle recipe. Depending on your community and the targeted population, you may have different ideal publishing hours. The best advice we can give you is then to test yourself different schedules and compare the performance of your publications.

    The reflection my company has had around Linkedin is far from being an accessory in your digital strategy.

    This article was originally sourced from Business 2 Community

  • 27 Mar 2017 9:23 AM | Shayne Morris (Administrator)

    A new survey says that membership renewal can be one of an association’s biggest challenges. And a quick study of respondents’ renewal tactics can help membership pros fine-tune their renewal process.

    Membership renewal doesn’t always come easy. From the moment a member joins, your association needs to establish a connection that makes the individual feel valued and engaged. Otherwise, you face the much-dreaded membership churn.

    If you’re an association leader who agonizes over the renewal process, you’re probably not alone. According to the recently released 2017 Membership Association Survey, conducted by MemberZone, membership retention is one of the biggest challenges facing associations right now.

    While many associations are focused on renewals, almost half of survey respondents (49 percent) said their renewal rate has remained unchanged since last year. Meanwhile, 26 percent said they saw an increase in renewals, and 16 percent reported a decrease.

    “There are clearly associations that are doing membership renewal right, but then there are those that still need a lot of help,” says Amy Gitchell, marketing specialist with MemberZone. “Respondents who saw strong membership renewals also saw strong membership growth in general. What we’re seeing is that there are consistent methods for improving your entire membership strategy.”

    In its second year, the survey gathered responses from 1,071 association leaders, both membership teams and CEOs from North America. While the general findings indicate that membership rates continue to hold steady, some data nuggets on tactics used by membership departments are particularly useful for associations thinking about fine-tuning their renewal strategy.

    Pick up the phone. The MemberZone survey found that the majority of respondents use email (68 percent) to get members to renew. No surprises there. Email is one of the most cost-effective and mobile-friendly ways to prompt renewals, Gitchell says. But many associations reported that phone calls were nearly as effective: 66 percent of respondents picked up the phone to get a member to renew, and it’s not just the membership team that’s calling. Nineteen percent of associations involved their board of directors, and 15 percent said they used calls from other members to spark renewals.

    Test new digital tools. Associations are still comfortable using traditional communication methods, such as snail mail and newsletters or magazines, to remind members to renew, but Gitchell says there are savvier methods. Some associations (16 percent) are using social media to target members for renewal. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter allow associations to “micro-target” audiences with social campaigns, Gitchell says. And a small percentage of associations are testing other technologies: 5 percent of respondents reported using push notifications through a smartphone device to reach members. “It’s nice to see that associations are changing how they reach people,” Gitchell says. “Technology is always advancing, and it’s really a question of if an association can keep up.”

    Talk to lapsed members. While it’s impossible to retain all members, Gitchell says it’s important to follow up with your “gone-but-not-forgotten” members. Asking why a member did not renew can lead to valuable lessons. Top answers from survey respondents on why members did not renew included low membership value or return on investment, cost or budget, lack of engagement or interest, and limited time or attention.

    Finally, it’s interesting to note that associations still aren’t entirely sure about the duration of or need for grace periods. While the largest group of respondents (40 percent) stick by the conventional two- to three-month grace period, some go longer: 15 percent said they have a six-month grace period, and 12 percent reported a year or more.

    As Joe Rominiecki noted on this blog last year, simply keeping members onboard after their membership has lapsed doesn’t mean they’ll be more likely to renew, and some respondents to the MemberZone survey seem to subscribe to that view: 13 percent had grace periods of only one month, and 16 percent reported no grace period at all.

    Regardless of its length, “if you’re not getting renewals by the end of your grace period, you have to find out why,” Gitchell says. “Following up with your members to ask why they did or did not renew is a critical step.”

    This article was originally sourced from Associations Now

  • 15 Mar 2017 12:35 PM | Shayne Morris (Administrator)

    Recently I had a short Twitter conversation about whether valuable and important are equivalent when it comes to websites.

    I do not think that they are. Of course most organizations know it is important to have a website. But I’ve come across very few who find their website truly valuable.

    Let’s start by looking at the definition of the two words, then we’ll go into how I see the difference and ways websites can become more valuable to the organizations they serve.

    important adj. marked by or indicative of significant worth or consequence.

    valuable adj. 1. having monetary value. 2. of great use or service.

    Technically, yes, they could by synonyms. But the thesaurus I consulted does not list them as such. The difference is subtle, but significant (which is* a synonym for important).

    Websites are important

    The internet has become vital to operating a business. Most of our customers now go straight to something online for information, directions, recommendations, and entertainment. Often that something is a website. And increasingly, people start at Google to find what they are looking for. If you do not have a website, it’s like you don’t exist.

    This isn’t new. It’s been over a decade that websites have been considered essential to running a business or organization of any type. One of the first things most businesses or non-profits do is create a website. That makes websites important. A website puts you on the digital map. There is a consequence of not having a website.

    Because of the importance of having a presence on the world wide web, websites get an annual budget. Someone is hired (as a consultant or an employee) to run the website. All the staff know that the things they produce need to get put on the website. Lots of time, energy, and money go into the creation and maintenance and redesign of a website (or websites, as is often the case). All because they are important.

    Is your website valuable?

    However, things change when you ask a CEO or Executive Director, “What is the monetary value of your website?” Not how much does it cost, but how much is it worth? You’ll get less certain and more varied answers, if you get one at all.

    Ask how the website is of service to the business and you’ll get even vaguer answers.

    A website should be valuable. It should be worth something. So valuable that every CEO should know what it’s worth is, and if that worth is more than the cost. And what would happen to the balance sheet if it were to go down or disappear? Therefore, every person who is responsible for the website should be able to furnish these numbers. And those numbers need to be tied to business goals. Yes, website owners need to learn a bit about corporate finance. The website should not be just a cost center. It should have some sort of return on investment.

    Traffic, page views, and bounce rates are just vanity metrics. We need to figure out what the website is worth. What the website doing to grow the business. Google Analytics is capable of telling you how much a visit earns or costs if set up right. It’s not all that hard with the right measurements in hand. When web professionals know how much the website is worth, they can make a better case for user research, content audits, improved design, a new CMS, or additional staff. Show, don’t tell.

    Make your website important AND valuable

    Shouldn’t websites be important and valuable? If it is just important, web professionals will be seen as necessary. But if it is important and valuable – and everyone knows its worth – web professionals will become invaluable.

    If everyone in an organization knows what the website is worth to them – yes, it has different worth to different groups – then the web team is the group that helps them meet their goals. The website stops being the place to “put stuff up.” It becomes a place where goals are realized. The website can contribute better to achieving business goals is if proper user research is done so it can deliver the things customers want in a usable manner. If design is part of the culture rather than seen as making something pretty (“design thinking,” anyone?), the website will be deliberate and useful.

    The most successful businesses and non-profits value their web presence. They take a strategic approach, publish useful content, and give support and respect to the team that makes it all happen.

    If you don’t know the value of your website, let’s talk about how you put a price tag on it. Already know the value of your website? Share in the comments about how that came to be.

    This article was originally sourced from Social Fish

  • 15 Mar 2017 12:21 PM | Shayne Morris (Administrator)

    The RSL South Australian Branch chief executive has quit, along with a number of board members, as the organisation grapples with financial troubles.

    It was revealed today that chief executive Julia Langrehr had stood down about a month ago, with two directors resigning this week — one due to bad health.

    It follows a members' forum on Saturday where they were informed about the league's financial woes with revenue down significantly from last year.

    Ms Langrehr said she decided to step down because she disagreed with the board on the direction of the league.

    "I really wasn't aligned with the board and the decisions that they were making," she said.

    "And I felt as the CEO then that that put me in a very difficult position to be able to lead an organisation where I didn't feel like the board and I were on the same path.

    "There were also just basic structural issues that I wanted to change and I had been trying to change and not getting anywhere and then I realised that it was never going to happen."

    State president Tim Hanna denied the league was in crisis but admitted it was under financial pressure.

    "There is no hiding the fact that we have a cash flow problem at present," he said.

    "Our revenues were down about $200,000 last year against budget and previous years and that obviously puts pressure on the organisation.

    "We've undertaken a range of cost cutting to address that shortfall but it's left us with some challenges in terms of cash flow at this time."

    As part of cost-cutting measures, Mr Hanna said some people who had moved on from the organisation had not been replaced.

    "We've cut a range of other expenses in the business as any business does when it's facing some challenges," he said.

    "We'll be sitting down with our national office representatives on Friday to go through a plan that will identify the steps we need to take to a healthier situation."

    Despite leaving, Ms Langrehr believed the league had the ability to work through its problems if they did it as a team.

    "I wish them the very, very best of luck, they are one of the most important organisations in our country," she said.

    "They need to survive because there are thousands and thousands of people who rely on the RSL.

    "So I just hope they can find a way to go forward with a solid team that's supporting everyone that's going in the right direction."

    This article was originally sourced from ABC Online.

  • 15 Mar 2017 10:52 AM | Shayne Morris (Administrator)

    A handy guide published in Company Director February 2017 edition by Vera Visevic of Mills Oakley clearly sets out the priorities of what a diligent would-be director would look for when joining a not for profit board. 

    This guide can be viewed in full, here.

    To access any of Mills Oakley's other not for profit resources, please click here

  • 15 Mar 2017 10:39 AM | Shayne Morris (Administrator)

    New polling shows that when it comes to superannuation, most people want a system run on a not-for-profit basis with all returns going to members rather than creating an increased role for private financial institutions.

    The Essential poll of 1000 people, commissioned by Industry Super Australia, found that only 31 per cent believed the banks will ensure the superannuation system works in their best interest. This compared to 38 per cent for the federal government; 61 per cent for the Fair Work Commission; and 69 per cent for Industry Super Funds.

    Consumers felt strongly that their interests should be the sole focus of the owners of super funds. Some 70 per cent of those surveyed believed all super funds should be not-for-profit with all returns to members rather than split with shareholders; just 6 per cent disagreed.

    Industry Super Australia chief executive David Whiteley said the results send a clear message the public want superannuation to work solely in their interests and not as a profit-making opportunity for the banks and their wealth management machines.

    “When it comes to super, the banks are legally required to act in the best interest of their customers; most Australians don’t believe they do,” Mr Whiteley said.

    Consumers believe aggressive cross-selling of advice, insurance and super by the private sector is designed to boost shareholder profits rather than leave fund members better off, he said.

    “The banks’ relentless lobbying to remove consumer default protections could result in people ending up in under-performing funds and a nest egg that’s tens, even hundreds, of thousands of dollars short.

    “Australians have told us what they think – they don’t trust the banks and believe their culture and profit motive are at odds with the purpose of super.”

    The survey comes as the Turnbull government has renewed its commitment to mandating the appointment of independent directors and chairs to all super funds. A review by former Reserve Bank governor Bernie Fraser produced for the not-for-profit super sector rejected such a move in February.

    However, in response to the Fraser review, the government affirmed its commitment to its planned changes, which were dropped as a result of a hostile Senate in the last Parliament. The current makeup of the Senate means any such move will face great difficulty in becoming law.

    Mr Whiteley said the survey showed 58 per cent of respondents thought the banks would use the compulsory nature of super to exploit fund members.

    Two thirds of respondents rejected increasing the influence of the banks in superannuation.

    “Public opinion clearly runs counter to the banks’ efforts to change the super system to suit their vertically integrated business models. Astute policymakers will be listening,” Mr Whiteley said.

    The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Economics will conduct a review of the major banks from this Friday. The CEOs of the major banks will appear before it. The New Daily is owned by industry super funds.

    This article was originally sourced from The New Daily.

  • 15 Mar 2017 10:31 AM | Shayne Morris (Administrator)

    HomeGround is a real estate agency with a difference — it is not for profit.

    Set up in 2014 by community organisation Launch Housing, it aims to create more affordable housing by tapping into the large private rental market.

    "We've seen a significant decrease in public housing stock, it's reduced from 20 per cent down to 3 per cent in the past 20 years," HomeGround manager Christie Love said.

    "At the same time, we've seen a significant increase in rental prices."

    HomeGround works like a regular agency. The commission fees are standard but they go back into helping create affordable housing.

    "You can have your property go on at full market, advertised on realestate.com and open to everyone, and get full market rent," Ms Love said.

    "Then you have affordable properties, there's a criteria for the tenants that can lease those and an income restriction."

    Beth Phillips is a savvy property investor with a strong social conscience, so for the past six months she has rented one of her units in Melbourne's bayside out at a subsidised rent to a low income tenant.

    "It's been terrific, he's doing really well and it's had no impact really," she said.

    HomeGround now has around 260 properties on its books with at least another 200 properties coming under management in the next few months.

    "I've observed there's a sense of something bigger going on so the agents managing the property can manage with a greater sense of calm and knowing they're making an impact on the world," Ms Phillips said.

    "As a result their service is excellent — it's well beyond what I've ever received anywhere else."

    Community sector worker Felicity Rourke is renting her flat out at market rates, but is now considering dropping the rent.

    "The management fees that were getting paid to the private company — it made sense that a not-for-profit were benefiting from that so it kind of ticked all my boxes in terms of my beliefs about ... supporting vulnerable people," she said.

    A bonus is a special ruling by the tax office that allows any subsidised rent to be used as a tax deduction.

    "You still have huge benefits in capital growth for yourself. A lot of people in my position have good incomes and a tax deduction goes a long way — it's almost as usual as additional income," Ms Phillips said.

    HomeGround said the biggest challenge had been overcoming fears that low income tents will not pay the rent or look after the property.

    "I've found I have to grow up and not be so affected about people's opinions on what I'm doing and questioning why I would do something like this," said Ms Phillips, who is now looking at leasing a number of her investment properties through Homeground.

    Homeground has been so successful in Melbourne the team is already helping other community groups in New South Wales and Queensland set up similar not-for-profit real estate agencies.

    This article was originally sourced from ABC Online

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