A new peer-based study has named the most innovative nonprofit organisations and identified agility as one of five key characteristics required for innovation, Liz Henderson reveals.

Movember Facebook Post

Movember shared the announcement with its Facebook community.

Movember, Oxfam and charity: water have been identified as the top three most innovative not-for-profit organisations in Australia – meaning they are nimble, market-responsive and best placed to capture community interest and support. The findings came from the 2015 Innovation Index – The Australian Not-for-Profit Sector, a study based on a survey of more than 700 professionals working in the sector.

Respondents gave the sector an overall rating for innovation of 66% in the report, which was commissioned by Australia Post and the digital giving provider, GiveEasy. They also indicated a belief that only 50% of not-for-profit organisations were capable of continually being innovative – which they viewed as having attributes that included the capacity to respond quickly, embrace new technologies and connect with audiences.

Characteristics reported for organisations that are most likely to be innovative included:

  • Being a small to mid-sized not-for-profit employing between 11 to 100 staff;
  • Having a clearly defined innovation policy known of by all employees;
  • Financially rewarding innovation beingpart of the culture;
  • Actively engaging with social media; and
  • Developing more than half their innovations from outside the organisation.

The willingness to move quickly to transform new ideas into actions was a hallmark of innovative organisations, said Innovation Australia’s chairman, Nicholas Gruen, who spoke at the launch of the 2015 Innovation Index.

“Just as innovation requires special skills and the preparedness to take risks in the business sector, the same applies for not-for-profit organisations,” Gruen said. “There’s plenty to be done to ensure that it isn’t just businesses that strive every day to work smarter rather than harder. I salute the not-for-profits that this Index shows are leaders in the innovation journey.”

The top ten organisations nominated as ‘most innovative’ by study participants were:

1. Movember
2. Oxfam
3. CharityWater
4. World Vision
5. beyondblue
6. Thankyou Water
7. Getup!
8. Salvation Army
9. McGrath Foundation
10. The Fred Hollows Foundation

Figure 1:
What makes an innovative employee?

Innovation infographic

Liz Henderson is editor of Fundraising & Philanthropy Magazine.


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