A wide variety of scholarship programs are available to help build capacity within Not-For-Profit organisations. In this article we profile some examples.


The challenge of building capacity

Staff and Board members of Not-For-Profits (NFPs) are often motivated by the desire to achieve positive change in the world, and to assist others. Resources are tight, and workloads can be heavy. In the struggle to "make a little go a long way", one area that can become neglected is ongoing professional and personal development.

However, developing skills and knowledge has more than just personal benefits for those involved. It can also make a vital difference to the effectiveness of organisations, both strategically and operationally. Capacity building is a wise investment for organisations wishing to be around for the long haul.

In recent years, philanthropic foundations, universities and training organisations have begun developing a range of scholarship programs targeted to specifically to NFPs and to the community sector. These cover a wide spectrum of educational models from places at training seminars to short courses, diplomas and even postgraduate degrees. Topic areas range from governance and executive leadership to social enterprise, project management, finance, marketing, philanthropy and many more. Scholarships typically cover between 50% to 100% of the normal course fees.

Australian Scholarships Foundation

One of the best sources of information on current scholarship opportunities is the Australian Scholarships Foundation (ASF). The ASF works in partnership with education providers and supporters to facilitate scholarships for Australian NFP directors and staff. Examples of scholarships on offer in 2014 include:

  • Governance Institute of Australia - Certificate in Governance for NFPs
  • University of Queensland - Strategic Marketing and Communications
  • Swinburne University of Technology - Master of Social Investment and Philanthropy
  • University of Melbourne - Strategic Financial Analysis
  • School for Social Entrepreneurs - Accelerator Program
  • ... and many more.

The ASF also helps to facilitate mentorship programs. For example in 2014 ASF has partnered with KPMG to provide opportunities for the senior management of charitable NFPs to take part in a mentoring program with selected KPMG partners. The program gives candidates access to high-quality professional and personal development.

For regular updates on scholarship and mentorship opportunities, we recommend subscribing to the ASF newsletter.

Westpac Community Leaders scholarships

Westpac's Community Leaders scholarships are targeted to people who are leaders in Australian not-for-profit, community organisation or social or private enterprise. These scholarships will support people to to undertake a significant personal, educational or study travel opportunity that will have a direct value to their community work. Candidates must be able to demonstrate that they have a project or idea that will have a sustainable social impact on the wellbeing of Australians at a local, state or national level.

Successful recipients will receive awards of between $20,000 and $50,000, and up to 100 scholarships are available annually.


Assistance with building capacity

Lirata Consulting assists organisations to build the capabilities of their workforce. We also provide a broader suite of HR consulting services.

For further information or assistance, please contact Celia Clapp at Lirata Consulting.

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