July 2022

Have we lost our moral compass?


When we as individuals lose the capacity to see clearly right from wrong and act with integrity, we have lost our moral compass!

What happens when an organisation, a firm, a country loses its moral compass? We lose our ability to judge actions and allocate resources effectively and with integrity. I’m confused as to how intelligent people in key decision-making roles can miss the bleeding obvious.  

Take the NDIS - how can anyone of sound mind see more expenditure going to administration than people with disabilities? How can executives in NDIS administration, NFPs etc be paid way above the pub test while people fall through the cracks of a well-funded system? Or take the Northern Rivers flooding - how can the sum of all the photo ops and multi-million-dollar announcements leave a community waiting to see anything materialise? People are still living in tents and cars!  

Or how about the 3.8 million Australians living below the poverty line in September 2021, up from 2.3 million in 2014, surely rising again this year to over 4 million with incessant floods and rising interest rates and cost of living pressures.  

There is so much that is obvious to do. I find it hard to believe that anyone would need to consult or research where the need is. Advocates have tried to broadcast the need in every area imaginable. The research has been done, redone and overdone for decades and presented data on the reality, nature, location and face of disadvantage in Australia, we should know this.  

And the data doesn’t lie. Whether we are talking about Indigenous disadvantage, housing and homelessness, or people living below the poverty line, the metrics are going in the wrong direction … Up!

If you are in the privileged position to hold capital, then what do you need to let it go and deploy it to where it’s needed? The rules allow foundations to sit on their wealth and only divest 10% annually to meet requirements. Most don’t and there are plenty of loopholes to not worry about anyone hassling you to spend.  

Take your pick - what are you passionate about? What do you want to impact? I guarantee there are hundreds if not thousands of worthy ideas that are not able to access capital readily.  

The problem so far is time, resources and capability. Many NFPs don’t have the capability to reach out for funds beyond government. They need the backbone structure and process to get them ready to pitch to a range of potential investors.  

Increasingly NFPs are finding that government funding doesn’t allow them to do all the things they need to do. The fundraising has levelled out and they now need to be more resourceful and find new sources of capital.  

We have started to map out the opportunities for NFPs to access funds outside government. We are stunned at the data on the existing wealth available that claims to exist to support the vulnerable and disadvantaged and is committed to supporting projects in areas like education, health and poverty.  

Funds under management (FUM) Australia:

There are over $13 billion Funds under management in Family Offices in Australia and around $4 trillion in Superannuation funds. We could solve a whole lot of problems with this, don’t you think?

We were excited that there is so much wealth there, so we scratched the surface and saw something. We are not of that world and neither are the enterprising NFPs we work with.  

Then shit got real – we realised that these troves of wealth don’t move easily or freely.  The treasure has gatekeepers and no urgency to expend the money … just like government and VCs . This knowledge was a sad and horrible realisation.

Those with the capital aren’t reaching out to underserved NFPs wanting to do things differently, in fact they are sitting in nice offices waiting for the NFPs to knock on their doors.  This doesn’t always happen. The NFPs don’t have the time, resources nor the phone numbers/ introductions to reach the family offices and foundations to ask for help.  

At Beckon we work with NFPs to leverage investment outside government. Naturally, we look to foundations and family offices as key for both funding and investment in NFPs who are building social enterprises that will allow their communities to access employment and return wealth to the community.  

We are seeing viable early-stage ideas in NFPs getting ready for attention from those who truly want to invest in real impact. We will host a Roundtable to showcase a pipeline of investible Aboriginal NFP and social enterprises in coming months.

Please reach out if you are interested in joining  

There is no time like the present to act on impact.

Anne-Marie Elias

Chief Executive Officer

+61 (0) 418 236 546




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