True To Label is a major research report looking at how value is measured in the non-profit sector in Aotearoa New Zealand. Written by John Page, Sport New Zealand’s governance consultant it looks at 55 organisations including 15 sport and recreation bodies.
Examining publicly available documents, it asks how an interested party can tell what has been achieved using time and money provided by others. It is ultimately intended to be helpful, assisting organisations tell their story better in a complex and changing world.
Foreword by Craig Fisher:
What John has done here is much needed and long overdue. This is an insightful study on a really challenging and important area of governance. It cuts to the core of organisations – namely why do they exist? What is their point and purpose, and how are they focusing on that and communicating to their stakeholders?
This document is essential reading for anyone in a governance or senior management capacity in the not-for-profit or public benefit entity sector in Aotearoa New Zealand. It’s a rigorous and objective study approached in a thoughtful, insightful and very practical manner. It’s thought-provoking. There is a lot in here. But then I also know from the process undertaken that John has waded through many a large pile of dirt to identify the nuggets of gold that have ended up in this report. I am going to make this mandatory reading for the boards I am involved in, such are the value, power and clarity of some of the messages in here – because, quite frankly, if members of governing bodies and senior management are not clear why their organisations exist and are achieving, then they are simply wasting oxygen. We only have a limited time on this planet, so if we are to make a positive difference we need to use this time as effectively as possible. There are some great insights from this study. It also poses some challenges for what’s next.
My hope is that it will be read widely and will help inform more, and better quality, discussions on the ways and means that non-profit organisations account for time and money. Some say that reporting is just an output; however, to report well requires clarity and focus. New Zealand is in a unique position to be a leader in this area. We are already world leaders in some of our innovations, like requiring service performance reporting for registered charities. We may have some wicked social, environmental and economic problems to address, but we are also resourceful, small and, I believe, brave enough to learn and lead and make positive change.
Click here to view a PDF of the report.