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NSW Social Sector Transformation Fund 2021-2022:

In November 2020, the NSW Government established a $50 million Social Sector Transformation Fund (SSTF), to help small to medium sized charities and not-for-profits adapt their operations, and invest in new systems and technologies, so they could continue to provide responsive services to their communities.

In announcing the SSTF, the then NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet
acknowledged the crucial role that small and medium-sized charities and not-for-profits play in the lives of vulnerable people right across the State, and that the sector was hit hard by the pandemic with surges in demand and increased costs of providing COVID-safe services.

The SSTF was rolled out in three parts or 'tranches'.

'Tranche 3' (T3) enabled seven (7) SSTF-funded providers to provide advice, resources and support to small-to-medium-sized NGOs within the NSW health and social service sectors.

The overall objective of SSTF T3 services was to assist eligible not-for-profits to remain efficient, effective and viable.

Tranche 3 service offerings ended on 30 September 2022, with support activities wrapping up shortly thereafter.


Under SSTF Tranche 3, small and medium-sized not-for-profit or charity organisations working in social and health services across New South Wales received a diverse range of support activities: from short workshops and masterclasses to one-on-one advisory and capacity-building projects that required up to six-months to complete.

NCOSS provided practical coordination role for SSTF Tranche 3 (T3), which included facilitating the provision of joined up services from T3 support providers; facilitating coordinated dialogues between NSW Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) and T3 support providers; collating monthly outputs data; and providing a centralised Resource Hub.

Over 1,000 instances of support took place from July 2021 to September 2022.

61% of organisations supported had revenues of less than $1M, and 36% had revenues of less than $5M.

22% of organisations supported were in rural and remote areas.

12% of organisations supported were Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs).


Digital and Information Technology Support

Infoxchange provided digital and information technology advisory services, including support in migrating organisational systems to the Cloud, and developing digital capability through the InfoXchange Digital Information Hub, among others.InfoXchange developed and used the following resources to assist SSTF support recipients:a digital capability assessment quiz to identify an organisation's digital capability across five (5) not-for-profit (NFP) digital domains,digital guides,training, anddiscounted NFP products to improve use of digital technologies, among others. Click here to view resources from InfoXchange.

Legal Advice

Justice Connect Not-for-Profit Law provided a range of legal services to help board members, staff and volunteers understand the law, prevent legal problems and increase efficiency.These included free legal advice, resources, governance health checks, and free or low-cost webinars, among others.Justice Connect continues to offer free access to its extensive library of self-help resources for community organisations. Click here to explore over 300+ resources from Justice Connect Not-for-Profit Law.

Governance and Strategy

Social Impact Hub (SIH) provided governance and strategy support through its Professional Impact Network; to help not-for-profits grow, innovate and become more sustainable.Social Enterprise Finance Australia (Sefa) provided a range of strategic analysis, governance support and quality assurance services to help organisations futureproof their operations.View key resources from Sefa or Social Impact Hub.

Leadership and Workforce Development

The Association of Children's Welfare Agencies (ACWA) delivered services focusing on leadership and workforce development.These includedleadership coaching (individual or group coaching) that focused on skills development for leaders and managers;the 'NFP Sustainability in Transition' program, a group workshop/coaching program for senior leaders of NFP organisations;and workshops on relevant leadership topics. Learn more about ACWA's 'Leadership Coaches' and 'NFP Sustainability in Transition Program' here.

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Evaluation and Service Delivery

Social Enterprise Finance Australia (Sefa) provided a range of evaluation services, working with organisations to design frameworks that will produce transformative outcomes. Learn about Sefa's customised approach to resourcing organisations.

For Aboriginal NGOs, Aboriginal Health services and non-Aboriginal organisations that service Aboriginal people

AbSec provided small to medium-sized not-for-profits with holistic models of support, includingpractical advice and solutions to help organisations enhance how they do business;identifying organisational needs and developing plans to support growth, increased capacity, effectiveness and sustainability;information, resources, access to training, workforce development, and referrals to develop a more culturally appropriate and skilled workforce . Visit AbSec's SSTF Resource Hub here.

NCOSS SSTF Tranche 3 Projects

Building Resilience for Emergency Responses (BRER)

The NCOSS Building Resilience for Emergency Responses (BRER) project has supported and continues to support bottoms-up approaches to previous and ongoing crises in New South Wales.These have included drought, bushfire, floods and the COVID-19 pandemic.This initiative has ensured that top-down emergency responses are better aligned with on-the-ground context and needs. View resources from NCOSS 'Building Resilience for Emergency Responses' page.

NCOSS 'Vision, Voice, Value' 2022 Conference: Charting a new course for the social service sector

This event, held on 17-18 October 2022, brought together over 150 representatives from small-to-medium sized NFP organisations in a face-to-face setting in Sydney, as well as approximately over 100 virtual participants, including those from five (5) regional 'watch parties'.The two-day event recognised the vital role that the social services sector in NSW played in ‘getting us through’ numerous recent crises. We heard from 'big picture' thinkers, state and regional sector leaders, and local frontline voices.The event leveraged the sector’s collective wisdom, taking stock of what we have achieved, what lies ahead and what is needed for the future.Image credit:Alex Wegner, compliments of The City of Newcastle. The image captures the thoughts and feedback of participants at the regional watch party collaboratively hosted by the City of Newcastle and Mosaic Cultural Connections. Visit NCOSS 'Vision, Voice, Value' 2022 Conference website.

TESTIMONIALS (click buttons to scroll sideways)

What some people have said about the impact of SSTF support on their organisations, and consequently, the communities they serve.

I really want to emphasize the value that the proactive approach from AbSec played in pulling this project all together, if it wasn’t for this attitude and responsiveness, as well as their patience and understanding, this piece of work would never have gotten off the ground. Even those little SMS reminder’s “Hey, we’re catching up with XYZ if you can jump on”. This kind of attitude ensured that things continued and progress was made; many services or individuals would simply let things go and not bother to reschedule when a “client” they are trying to support is at times unresponsive and misses appointments etc. AbSec was very understanding and supported us regardless. Again my fullest thanks for the support.

- Winanga-Li Aboriginal Child and Family Centre (supported by AbSec)

As an organisation, Sefa has given us an invaluable skillset, tools and resources so as we move forward, we can continue to reflect and evolve our frameworks and model. Personally, Sefa’s mentorship and Theory of Change made me feel really confident going into conversations with our partners and potential funding bodies.

- First Steps Count (supported by Sefa)

We had a wonderful understanding of the number of children we’ve supported with material aid and a robust understanding of need. And now through the SSTF fund, we are getting fabulous free support from the Social Impact Hub to develop a Theory of Change to understand, measure and communicate the positive change we know we are making for families on the Central Coast and the Hunter.

- We Care Connect (supported by Social Impact Hub)

Infoxchange helped us with strategic and practical advice for a new CRM and identified and introduced us to an external project manager so that we now have both these projects working in tandem. We are a small NFP with 12 mostly part-time staff and no internal IT expertise. Until now the thought of upgrading our CRM and migrating to the cloud, though entirely necessary, was daunting and posed considerable risk. We are now confident we will have the collaborative IT systems and tools we need.

- DV NSW (supported by Infoxchange)

The way Social Impact Hub and Infoxchange collaborated greatly benefited us. Working together, they have amplified our voice. Everybody had their expertise and collaborated on issues, for example, considering both privacy protection, as well as industry compliance, would have been tough for us to do independently.

The Deli – Management Committee (collaboratively supported by Social Impact Hub and Infoxchange)

The highly collaborative approach between SSTF Tranche 3 providers meant that Wheels Connect was able to access the end-to-end support when it was needed. Based on the analysis undertaken, Social Impact Hub referred Wheels Connect to Justice Connect to obtain specialist advice to determine next steps.

Excerpt from Wheels Connect story (client name changed), as collaboratively supported by Justice Connect and Social Impact Hub.

This support opportunity provided a clear picture of how the creation of a team of complementary support services, coordinated in a loose project management structure, was far more powerful than the involvement of disparate “siloed” services providing their own distinct support. This not only led to the organisation feeling supported throughout the project, but enabled service providers to share knowledge and expertise and identify new areas of support to provide better outcomes for the organisation. This coordinated approach also enabled providers to sequence their assistance appropriately, ensuring that the ACCO received the right assistance at the right time in a way that advanced their overall strategy.

Excerpt from The ACCO story (client name changed), as collaboratively supported by AbSec (lead support), Sefa, ACWA and Justice Connect

The topics were certainly relevant and reflected the “lived experience” of the community sector throughout the last few years. Also, it was a wonderful use of the SSTF funding. It allowed regional organisations to attend a conference, that they do not always have the opportunity of doing so. (We) both had great and informative conversations with people representing many different service types, but most importantly, are wonderful advocates for the communities that they work with.

WESTIR, NCOSS 2022 'Vision, Voice, Value' 2022 Conference participant (in-person)

This was such a deep uplifting experience.

NCOSS 2022 'Vision, Voice, Value' 2022 Conference participant (in-person)

Venue- spot on, dinner amazing. Smaller breaks worked well as did panel style discussions. Absolutely fantastic conference for re-energising the sector.

NCOSS 2022 'Vision, Voice, Value' 2022 Conference participant (in-person)


SSTF Service Providers

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SSTF-funded advisory and information services have now concluded.

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Thank you.

NCOSS provided the information above on behalf of the organisations that received funding from the NSW Government to provide SSTF Advisory and Information Services. These organisations have independent contractual relationships with the NSW Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ). NCOSS’ role was to coordinate information, communications, reporting and development of relevant resources.