How Good is Your Association?
Benchmarking for Non Profit Organisations
There are over 40,000 incorporated associations or not-for-profits in Australia. The sector employs 8% of the national workforce and contributes $15 billion to the economy, yet there is very little documentation of best practice within these associations.
The AES Not for Profit Association Best Practice Self-Assessment fills this gap by providing association leaders with a diagnostic tool, which allows them to measure their association against proven best practice criteria.
The Self-Assessment is comprised of 66 questions across ten performance areas, including leadership, financial performance, strategic planning and governance. Following the 15-minute survey, leaders receive an immediate overall benchmarked score and a breakdown of performance across the ten areas, compared to over 400 Australian associations that have already completed the assessment.
The Benefits of Benchmarking
Association leaders need an objective measure of the quality of their service to consolidate and improve. The proven benefits of the benchmarking generated by the AES Association Best Practice Assessment include:
- Evidence of areas in which your association is meeting best practice standards
- An opportunity to identify and begin working on areas that require improvement
- The ability to create a checklist based on the results, so objectives taken from the tool can be methodically worked through
- Provision of a useful communication tool, which ensures leaders, staff and stakeholders are working towards a common goal
- Criteria can form the basis of data collection that seeks to support and inform strategic planning for future development and sustainability efforts
- Can be referred to as a means of creating a culture of learning and continuous improvement
- The test can be taken on an annual basis to monitor and demonstrate progress.
How Association Leaders Have Used the Self-Assessment Tool
Leaders using this tool have reported a number of uses. A frequent use is for board members to take the test individually to see if there is a consensus as to the progression of the association. This can also be expanded to include operation staff, so areas of improvement can be identified and agreed-upon.
It has also been used to benchmark progress with other associations in similar fields. The benchmarking allows for meaningful conversations to take place between associations, where ideas can be shared, and collaborations can take place in the quest for mutual improvement. Leaders have also shared results with members, to show that the association is seeking to improve and become a best practice association.
The Not for Profit Association Best Practice Self-Assessment has become a vital tool for NFP’s in gauging their current position in the sector and their field. The only way to improve is to gain a clear picture of where you are, and we encourage every CEO, senior manager, board member or executive officer to take the test, and take the first step in arming your association with best practice processes and procedures.