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Focus on Bega Valley NFPs

How can we sustain flourishing community organisations in the Bega Valley?

These two workshops were a response to community priorities expressed as part of FRRR’s Investing in Not-for-Profit Capacity in Regional NSW (INFPC) program, supported by the Paul Ramsay Foundation.

We had been working with the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal for close to two years on another regional NFP capacity building program, and were approached this time around to host specific capacity building workshops.

This first focussed on Engaging & Sustaining Volunteers, with a diverse mix of 30 volunteers, board members, and team members from community-based not-for-profit organisations across the Bega Valley.

Participants brought their passion, experience, ideas, and diverse perspectives, connected with others, and had some great conversations.

They used their own experience to explore what invites and keeps volunteers coming back, what gets in the way of participation, and co-creating ideas to sustain and grow a flourishing volunteer community in the region.

Clear themes of focus emerged:

  • Setting clear expectations

  • Be flexible

  • Build strong organisations

  • Recognise and reward volunteers

  • Promote the benefits

  • Create experiences

  • Build capacity

Deeper conversations, with some clear next steps, were called by participants. Subjects included: creative funding options, youth engagement, the future of a service organisation, creating a promotional video and a deeper exploration of collaboration.

The second was a full day Strategy Development workshop with 25 people, some repeat participants, designed as a participatory community strategic planning process. The question at the centre was: How can our organisations best respond to community needs across the Bega Valley?

Collectively, we considered community needs, what is already being met in the Bega Valley community, and , mapped existing services, identifying service gaps and overlaps. We explored possibilities for how community groups might work together more collaboratively to meet needs. The conversations were rich and inspiring.

Finally we shared a strategy canvas, for organisations and groups to consider the meaningful steps they could take to help meet the needs of their community.

In the words of…

Mel and Liane from Campfire Co-op recently designed and ran two community workshops for the wonderful volunteers and representatives of not-for-profit organisations across the Bega Valley. Their thoughtful and caring approach to the way they planned and delivered the workshops was a true demonstration of their understanding of the challenges, priorities, and of course many assets, of rural and regional communities.

Their intuition and ability to adapt on the go resulted in a really valuable experience for all involved. Thank you Campfire Co-op, we need more of you to walk alongside communities to support them to create local solutions to local issues.

Joanna Kemp | Philanthropic Services Manager FRRR

Participants - Engaging & Sustaining Volunteers:

  • Motivation to put into action, focussing on volunteers

  • Connection, excitement, motivation to improve

  • Thankful, tapping into the power of collaboration

  • Building inclusive community

Participants - Collaboration and Strategy Workshop:

  • Privileged to be part of a collective of people that are driven - be the change you want to see.

  • Stacks of ideas to implement straight away. Not just ideas - but how to draw conversations out of the groups I’m a part of.

  • I’ve enjoyed this opportunity to meet others and talk about issues dear to my heart.

  • Some actions around a more expanded point of view.

  • Amen! we were provided with a container today to help us collaborate.


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