Driving Sustainable Growth in Community Organisations

4 years ago
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19 years ago, I took the opportunity to leap into the world of caring for people with disabilities as a community care worker. I worked my way through mental health support, administration, scheduling and management into aged care services.

It’s been a rewarding journey working with some amazing organisations, and I’ve never looked back. Throughout this time, two values from my time in retail, proved equally applicable in the care sector:

  • Sustainable businesses need sustainable growth
  • Investing in customers drives growth

Sustainable businesses need sustainable growth

There is an inherent need for good business development managers in all community spaces. Professionals who can work with executive teams and boards, build a bridge between sales and marketing teams, and deliver what people need (and want), are vitally important.

Whether you call us Business Development, Engagement, or Sales, it doesn’t really make a lot of difference at the end of the day. After all, what’s in a name?  However, for some organisations and sectors, names do matter.

Non-profits and charities still see the greatest need for Care and Support Teams alone, not usually wanting to embed a ‘salesperson’ into their business or ‘market to customers’.  If it hasn’t already happened in your business, this needs to change.

There needs to be a successful balance between the Care Manager and the Business Development Manager. If the Care Team maintains top level of care and support, the Business Team will always have ‘passion in their pitch’. After all, as the saying goes, you can’t sell something that you don’t believe in.

Regardless of whether you are a for-profit or not-for-profit organisation—your ethos, what you believe in is your point of differentiation. Yet, you should not lose sight of the fact that, making sales matters.

Being a provider of choice is not easy, and although it might not seem like it at times, we are all essentially running a business. How successful it becomes, will depend on a number of factors including the support and success of your business team.

Investing to drive growth

By focusing on your pain points, and investing in the right tools for your staff, this will invariably save you time and money, allow you to address your clients’ needs and wants, and be better placed to gain consumer insights faster. This is an exciting aspect of success in the community services space, so I have a few ideas for how to get your team started here:

  • Experiment and iterate—take a chance and test the products.
  • Trust your team and their ideas and experiences, give them a voice in selecting the digital tools they will eventually be using.
  • Make sure your team works with products and systems that speak with each other.
  • Do not wait too long thinking you need a huge amount of money to change and improve—you’ll be surprised with the affordable, practical, and easy-to-implement solutions currently available in the market.

There are so many teams having to ‘just get by’ with clunky outdated systems, and still reliant on manual collation to generate insights.

I was lucky enough to have access to a ‘BOT’ that automated data for me, and streamlined processes. For a small amount of time and investment, I was able to scrape data every two weeks in just a few hours which had previously taken one person two weeks to analyse.

A small investment that afforded our organisation more time and quality outcomes.

Graeme Baxter is Chief Experience Officer at Umbrella Solutions, and Non-Executive Director at Conpago.