Organisations to Do More
For organisations to maximise impact in their communities, they must function efficiently and effectively. As well as funding projects directly, The Tindall Foundation (TTF) also provides capacity-building support to assist towards that goal, through their partner NFPWorks.
Led by Margot Nicholson, NFPWorks helps these groups become the best they can be. In the more than 20 years that she has worked with TTF, her role has evolved from offering legal advice to leading the capacity-building operation. “It is incredibly difficult for charities, especially smaller ones, to access the expertise they often need,” she reflects. “What we offer is an opportunity for them to work side by side with a highly qualified and experienced adviser to bring about the changes they need.”
The organisations have to provide their adviser with full, transparent access at a time when they are particularly vulnerable. “The projects that work the best are when the groups really trust us and let us in,” says Margot.
Balancing that is NFPWorks’ high-trust, ‘no surprises’ relationship with TTF. The Foundation’s direction and support helps with the wide diversity of issues faced by groups that NFPWorks engages with — from managing social media, fundraising, and human resources through to strategic planning and governance.
Margot says the difference she and her team can make within these organisations is deeply rewarding: “Many organisations know what they need to do, but we are able to create the space for them to think and the confidence and support to execute it. When you see them really start to fly, it is a great weight lifted off their shoulders.”
One such organisation is Christchurch-based La Vida Youth Trust. Founded in 2004, the Trust works with schools, families and young people to improve connections and opportunities for young people. Demand for its services multiplied following the 2011 Christchurch Earthquake.
“The need for our programmes was increasing but we were unable to meet those demands,” says Angela Crocker, Chairperson of La Vida Youth Trust. “We turned to The Tindall Foundation as we knew we needed independent help and expertise.”
The trust “entered the process very nervously” during a difficult time, with a combination of financial pressures and staffing issues, recalls Angela. “We knew it was going to require a big commitment for things to change and we had no idea what it was going to mean for us, but it was amazing from the very first meeting.”
Their adviser gave them a step-by-step process and realistic time frames in which to achieve their goals. “The most valuable lesson was about sticking to the core of who we are and what our vision is and not getting distracted by other things,” Angela explains. As a result La Vida’s youth workers are now better resourced, better trained and able to work more effectively.
One of the most successful initiatives is an after-school programme for primary school students that has been running daily since early 2016. The programme comes at no cost to families, and has become so popular there is now a waiting list. Children are selected on a needs basis after consultation with schools and youth workers. As well as providing afternoon tea and help with homework, the programme teaches children values like respect and resilience.
Margot says the partnership between their adviser and La Vida was “a little bit of magic. It is such a luxury to go and sit in an organisation’s space and have them trust us to help them. They were completely transformed and a big reason was that they were open to it.”
Today, La Vida is flourishing, “If the funding hadn’t come along we would have continued treading water, knowing we had to make changes but not making them,” Angela reflects. “We are in a much better place and are hugely grateful to The Tindall Foundation for its funding and NFPWorks for its support and guidance.”
Strengthening the Community Sector
NFPWorks provided 19 organisations with capacity building support in the last financial year