It was no mean feat to distill the two packed days of Third Sector Live 2017 presentations and panels but here are our top five messages from the conference.

1. Let’s be purposeful with our language
A strong theme throughout the conference was the need to re-position the sector. Cue OzHarvest Ceo Ronni Kahn who aptly said, “We are not the not-for-profit sector. We are the for-purpose sector. We are the for-impact sector.”

2. Remember that trust is precious
What do the Bee Gees and TSL 2017 have in common? They both waxed lyrical about the importance of trust and we couldn’t agree more. Lucas Ryan of the AICD spoke to how public perceptions of Australian not-for-profit organisation are trending towards distrust. In light of this and in conjunction with the unique and unfair constraints that non-profits face, keynote speaker Dan Pallotta called for transformation in the way the public thinks about charity.

3. It’s time to celebrate the sector’s achievements
Dr Jenny Brockis informed us that celebrating all of our small wins far outweighs triumphing in one large accomplishment…and boy did the success stories at TSL 2017 range far and wide! From innovating financing platforms and mechanisms (The Funding Network Australia, OurCrowd, i=Change) to impactful communications (Agency, Save The Children Australia, Wildwon, For Purpose). From Dan Pallotta’s success in changing misperceptions of the sector to how Thank You have effectively made consumption a force for social good. So, the Spark team want to take a moment to acknowledge everyone delivering social and environmental benefit. Yes, everyone.

4. Times they are a-changing (and so is tech)
We all know technological disruptions are coming thick and fast. Regardless, for-purpose organisations are yet to fully embrace how technology can raise awareness, increase efficiencies, enable scale and optimise impact. Fortunately, Marcus Harvey of Infoxchange gave practical advice – “have a plan…build over time…don’t try to do it all yourself.” Thanks Marcus!

5. Collaboration is critical
Jan Owen closed the conference and one of the many insights she provided was that, “there is no one group or one person who is going to solve an issue.” Many other presenters also spoke to the power of partnerships, including the ACNC’s David Locke, For Purpose Founder Cat Giorgi and our very own George Liacos.

Speaking of, it would be remiss of us not to give a quick overview of George’s presentation – Business Model Innovation for Financial Resilience. During this session, George encouraged for-purpose businesses to think big and be genuinely innovative, which often requires deferring environmental analysis as this can constrain creative thinking. He also spoke to how sustainability was underpinned by an organisation’s value proposition and their ability to distinguish a customer from a beneficiary.

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