dVT Consulting were approached by a national religious organisation for assistance in reviewing the social services arm of the Church. Whilst the objectives were relatively clear, being a registered not for profit organisation responsible for raising funds as well as delivering services, meant a complex set of rules and regulations to adhere to. The organisation and the controlling board needed to heed the obligations of corporate law, regulations of the Australian Charities and not-for-profits Commission and the rules that apply to the church. With limited resources and complex cultural and church based hierarchal considerations, the organisation was struggling to achieve its objectives and lacked the appropriate corporate governance to manage its risks.
A series of interviews with the Church leaders, board members of the social services body as well as a review of the market and structures of similar organisation operating a “best practice” model identified a series of options available to the church. Each option required a “trade off” in terms of the objectives of the church and as such recommendations were made on a best course of action based on the available resources, the specific needs of the community and the priorities as set by the Church leaders. This recommendation involved a hybrid of two of the identified options . This then required a smaller and more clearly defined internal structure, managing largely outsourced services accessed via other providers. This option allowed the church to retain a degree of autonomy and management of the process but enabled delivery of a wider range of services to more of their congregation at a lower but known and set price.
Recommended strategies were accepted by the Church leaders and the implementation process is currently being rolled out. The cost of these services to the church are being shared equally across the national organisation now that the entire community can benefit. Supporting documentation including corporate governance and communication guidelines are being written. This is to avoid the cultural and hierarchal challenges present within a church based environment and thereby allow the autonomy of a newly appointed board and management team to deliver on the objectives.
When you consider the complex cultural and church based hierarchal considerations of this assignment, it highlights how effective and successful implementation of this type of exercise would be for a business where there is a unified approach with a single overall business goal.