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  • 15 Mar 2017 12:35 PM | Shayne Morris (Administrator)

    Recently I had a short Twitter conversation about whether valuable and important are equivalent when it comes to websites.

    I do not think that they are. Of course most organizations know it is important to have a website. But I’ve come across very few who find their website truly valuable.

    Let’s start by looking at the definition of the two words, then we’ll go into how I see the difference and ways websites can become more valuable to the organizations they serve.

    important adj. marked by or indicative of significant worth or consequence.

    valuable adj. 1. having monetary value. 2. of great use or service.

    Technically, yes, they could by synonyms. But the thesaurus I consulted does not list them as such. The difference is subtle, but significant (which is* a synonym for important).

    Websites are important

    The internet has become vital to operating a business. Most of our customers now go straight to something online for information, directions, recommendations, and entertainment. Often that something is a website. And increasingly, people start at Google to find what they are looking for. If you do not have a website, it’s like you don’t exist.

    This isn’t new. It’s been over a decade that websites have been considered essential to running a business or organization of any type. One of the first things most businesses or non-profits do is create a website. That makes websites important. A website puts you on the digital map. There is a consequence of not having a website.

    Because of the importance of having a presence on the world wide web, websites get an annual budget. Someone is hired (as a consultant or an employee) to run the website. All the staff know that the things they produce need to get put on the website. Lots of time, energy, and money go into the creation and maintenance and redesign of a website (or websites, as is often the case). All because they are important.

    Is your website valuable?

    However, things change when you ask a CEO or Executive Director, “What is the monetary value of your website?” Not how much does it cost, but how much is it worth? You’ll get less certain and more varied answers, if you get one at all.

    Ask how the website is of service to the business and you’ll get even vaguer answers.

    A website should be valuable. It should be worth something. So valuable that every CEO should know what it’s worth is, and if that worth is more than the cost. And what would happen to the balance sheet if it were to go down or disappear? Therefore, every person who is responsible for the website should be able to furnish these numbers. And those numbers need to be tied to business goals. Yes, website owners need to learn a bit about corporate finance. The website should not be just a cost center. It should have some sort of return on investment.

    Traffic, page views, and bounce rates are just vanity metrics. We need to figure out what the website is worth. What the website doing to grow the business. Google Analytics is capable of telling you how much a visit earns or costs if set up right. It’s not all that hard with the right measurements in hand. When web professionals know how much the website is worth, they can make a better case for user research, content audits, improved design, a new CMS, or additional staff. Show, don’t tell.

    Make your website important AND valuable

    Shouldn’t websites be important and valuable? If it is just important, web professionals will be seen as necessary. But if it is important and valuable – and everyone knows its worth – web professionals will become invaluable.

    If everyone in an organization knows what the website is worth to them – yes, it has different worth to different groups – then the web team is the group that helps them meet their goals. The website stops being the place to “put stuff up.” It becomes a place where goals are realized. The website can contribute better to achieving business goals is if proper user research is done so it can deliver the things customers want in a usable manner. If design is part of the culture rather than seen as making something pretty (“design thinking,” anyone?), the website will be deliberate and useful.

    The most successful businesses and non-profits value their web presence. They take a strategic approach, publish useful content, and give support and respect to the team that makes it all happen.

    If you don’t know the value of your website, let’s talk about how you put a price tag on it. Already know the value of your website? Share in the comments about how that came to be.

    This article was originally sourced from Social Fish

  • 15 Mar 2017 12:21 PM | Shayne Morris (Administrator)

    The RSL South Australian Branch chief executive has quit, along with a number of board members, as the organisation grapples with financial troubles.

    It was revealed today that chief executive Julia Langrehr had stood down about a month ago, with two directors resigning this week — one due to bad health.

    It follows a members' forum on Saturday where they were informed about the league's financial woes with revenue down significantly from last year.

    Ms Langrehr said she decided to step down because she disagreed with the board on the direction of the league.

    "I really wasn't aligned with the board and the decisions that they were making," she said.

    "And I felt as the CEO then that that put me in a very difficult position to be able to lead an organisation where I didn't feel like the board and I were on the same path.

    "There were also just basic structural issues that I wanted to change and I had been trying to change and not getting anywhere and then I realised that it was never going to happen."

    State president Tim Hanna denied the league was in crisis but admitted it was under financial pressure.

    "There is no hiding the fact that we have a cash flow problem at present," he said.

    "Our revenues were down about $200,000 last year against budget and previous years and that obviously puts pressure on the organisation.

    "We've undertaken a range of cost cutting to address that shortfall but it's left us with some challenges in terms of cash flow at this time."

    As part of cost-cutting measures, Mr Hanna said some people who had moved on from the organisation had not been replaced.

    "We've cut a range of other expenses in the business as any business does when it's facing some challenges," he said.

    "We'll be sitting down with our national office representatives on Friday to go through a plan that will identify the steps we need to take to a healthier situation."

    Despite leaving, Ms Langrehr believed the league had the ability to work through its problems if they did it as a team.

    "I wish them the very, very best of luck, they are one of the most important organisations in our country," she said.

    "They need to survive because there are thousands and thousands of people who rely on the RSL.

    "So I just hope they can find a way to go forward with a solid team that's supporting everyone that's going in the right direction."

    This article was originally sourced from ABC Online.

  • 15 Mar 2017 10:52 AM | Shayne Morris (Administrator)

    A handy guide published in Company Director February 2017 edition by Vera Visevic of Mills Oakley clearly sets out the priorities of what a diligent would-be director would look for when joining a not for profit board. 

    This guide can be viewed in full, here.

    To access any of Mills Oakley's other not for profit resources, please click here

  • 15 Mar 2017 10:39 AM | Shayne Morris (Administrator)

    New polling shows that when it comes to superannuation, most people want a system run on a not-for-profit basis with all returns going to members rather than creating an increased role for private financial institutions.

    The Essential poll of 1000 people, commissioned by Industry Super Australia, found that only 31 per cent believed the banks will ensure the superannuation system works in their best interest. This compared to 38 per cent for the federal government; 61 per cent for the Fair Work Commission; and 69 per cent for Industry Super Funds.

    Consumers felt strongly that their interests should be the sole focus of the owners of super funds. Some 70 per cent of those surveyed believed all super funds should be not-for-profit with all returns to members rather than split with shareholders; just 6 per cent disagreed.

    Industry Super Australia chief executive David Whiteley said the results send a clear message the public want superannuation to work solely in their interests and not as a profit-making opportunity for the banks and their wealth management machines.

    “When it comes to super, the banks are legally required to act in the best interest of their customers; most Australians don’t believe they do,” Mr Whiteley said.

    Consumers believe aggressive cross-selling of advice, insurance and super by the private sector is designed to boost shareholder profits rather than leave fund members better off, he said.

    “The banks’ relentless lobbying to remove consumer default protections could result in people ending up in under-performing funds and a nest egg that’s tens, even hundreds, of thousands of dollars short.

    “Australians have told us what they think – they don’t trust the banks and believe their culture and profit motive are at odds with the purpose of super.”

    The survey comes as the Turnbull government has renewed its commitment to mandating the appointment of independent directors and chairs to all super funds. A review by former Reserve Bank governor Bernie Fraser produced for the not-for-profit super sector rejected such a move in February.

    However, in response to the Fraser review, the government affirmed its commitment to its planned changes, which were dropped as a result of a hostile Senate in the last Parliament. The current makeup of the Senate means any such move will face great difficulty in becoming law.

    Mr Whiteley said the survey showed 58 per cent of respondents thought the banks would use the compulsory nature of super to exploit fund members.

    Two thirds of respondents rejected increasing the influence of the banks in superannuation.

    “Public opinion clearly runs counter to the banks’ efforts to change the super system to suit their vertically integrated business models. Astute policymakers will be listening,” Mr Whiteley said.

    The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Economics will conduct a review of the major banks from this Friday. The CEOs of the major banks will appear before it. The New Daily is owned by industry super funds.

    This article was originally sourced from The New Daily.

  • 15 Mar 2017 10:31 AM | Shayne Morris (Administrator)

    HomeGround is a real estate agency with a difference — it is not for profit.

    Set up in 2014 by community organisation Launch Housing, it aims to create more affordable housing by tapping into the large private rental market.

    "We've seen a significant decrease in public housing stock, it's reduced from 20 per cent down to 3 per cent in the past 20 years," HomeGround manager Christie Love said.

    "At the same time, we've seen a significant increase in rental prices."

    HomeGround works like a regular agency. The commission fees are standard but they go back into helping create affordable housing.

    "You can have your property go on at full market, advertised on realestate.com and open to everyone, and get full market rent," Ms Love said.

    "Then you have affordable properties, there's a criteria for the tenants that can lease those and an income restriction."

    Beth Phillips is a savvy property investor with a strong social conscience, so for the past six months she has rented one of her units in Melbourne's bayside out at a subsidised rent to a low income tenant.

    "It's been terrific, he's doing really well and it's had no impact really," she said.

    HomeGround now has around 260 properties on its books with at least another 200 properties coming under management in the next few months.

    "I've observed there's a sense of something bigger going on so the agents managing the property can manage with a greater sense of calm and knowing they're making an impact on the world," Ms Phillips said.

    "As a result their service is excellent — it's well beyond what I've ever received anywhere else."

    Community sector worker Felicity Rourke is renting her flat out at market rates, but is now considering dropping the rent.

    "The management fees that were getting paid to the private company — it made sense that a not-for-profit were benefiting from that so it kind of ticked all my boxes in terms of my beliefs about ... supporting vulnerable people," she said.

    A bonus is a special ruling by the tax office that allows any subsidised rent to be used as a tax deduction.

    "You still have huge benefits in capital growth for yourself. A lot of people in my position have good incomes and a tax deduction goes a long way — it's almost as usual as additional income," Ms Phillips said.

    HomeGround said the biggest challenge had been overcoming fears that low income tents will not pay the rent or look after the property.

    "I've found I have to grow up and not be so affected about people's opinions on what I'm doing and questioning why I would do something like this," said Ms Phillips, who is now looking at leasing a number of her investment properties through Homeground.

    Homeground has been so successful in Melbourne the team is already helping other community groups in New South Wales and Queensland set up similar not-for-profit real estate agencies.

    This article was originally sourced from ABC Online

  • 15 Mar 2017 10:18 AM | Shayne Morris (Administrator)

    A new, not-for-profit KiwiSaver provider launching today says it is offering New Zealanders the chance to be $65,000 better off in retirement.

    Simplicity is the pet project of former Tower Investments boss Sam Stubbs. It will be run by a charity, in a similar style to health insurance provider Southern Cross.

    Stubbs said New Zealanders could expect to pay $54,700 on KiwiSaver fees on current structures over their working lives – more than the $35,900 they will fork out for their mobile phone bills or the $37,200 they will pay for power.

    He is promising to slash that by heavily undercutting the market.

    At the moment, the average KiwiSaver fund charges about 1.34 per cent of the member's balance in fees. Simplicity is promising half of that - $30 a year in administration fees and 0.3 per cent per year in total management fees. Fifteen per cent of the fees paid will go to the Simplicity charity, which will work to promote financial literacy.

    All three Simplicity funds on offer will have the same fee structure. Other KiwiSaver providers charge more for high-growth options.

    Stubbs said if he could get 4 per cent of the market, that would represent a lifetime saving of $4 billion to New Zealanders.

    The power of compounding interest would amplify the savings KiwiSaver members made, so the difference in returns for Simplicity savers should be bigger than just the difference in the fees they paid.

    He hopes to shake up the KiwiSaver market in a major way. "If we can run the cheapest fund and still give 15 per cent to charity, then others can do it, too."

    KiwiSaver was not as competitive as it should be, he said, and providers had not been given any incentive to change or reduce costs to members. KiwiSaver accounts are mostly concentrated with the big banks.

    He said while they had developed large economies of scale as balances grew, fees had not shifted accordingly. Because it did not require providers to front up with capital, KiwiSaver had become a "gravy train" for providers, he said.

    "Compared to similar savings schemes in other developed countries, these fees are very high. Profits for KiwiSaver managers are at $150 million now. Without change, we think they will be at $1.3 billion by 2030."

    Simplicity has developed a website portal to allow members to switch. Stubbs said the online focus of Simplicity was part of the reason it could offer lower fees. "There's none of the high cost traditionally associated with financial products – commission, branches or shiny head offices."

    Stubbs said lack of education and lack of transparency around KiwiSaver fees meant few people understood how fees worked and what kind of impact they could have on long-term savings.

    "We have declared war on high KiwiSaver fees today," Stubbs said. "Most New Zealanders don't even realise the high fees that they are paying.'"

    Two of the directors for Simplicity have previously managed the Westpac and Tower KiwiSaver Schemes, another is former head of supervision for the Financial Markets Authority.

    Simplicity eventually plans to branch out into life insurance products too. Stubbs said they were twice as expensive as they need to be.

    He said it was refreshing and inspiring to be working on something that was designed to help New Zealanders, not line shareholders' pockets.

    This article was originally sourced from Stuff.co.nz.

  • 15 Mar 2017 10:10 AM | Shayne Morris (Administrator)

    New Zealand's $60 billion not-for-profit (NFP) sector is facing concerns over the large number of organisations working in the area, a new report revealed. 

    There are currently over 27,000 NFP organisations in the country, one for every 170 Kiwis. The Cause Report, by investment firm JBWere, is the first major in-depth analysis of the country's NFP sector.

    JBWere's New Zealand head Craig Patrick said although the number of NFPs in New Zealand is substantially lower than Australia and the United States, the large numbers are "creating a burden on their supporters and volunteers.

    The charity Cure Kids says it's working hard not to duplicate services and wants to make better use of its volunteers as new research shows there are more than 27,000 not-for-profit organisations in NZ - roughly two to three new charities are being created every day.

    "Kiwis care very much about causes, and want to start and be involved in good works ... Since 2010, there have been 2.5 charities established each business day in New Zealand.

    "Looking ahead, we think that more collaboration and mergers could be part of the solution," Patrick said.

    Patrick said funding growth for the sector has been reasonably strong, almost 6 per cent annually since 2004.

    "This growth has often been at the expense of margins which are squeezed. This has impacted on the ability for organisations to fund innovation and think more creatively. Where, for example, are the Googles in the NFP sector?"

    Looking ahead, Patrick said JBWere saw a trend of new sources of funding emerging.

    "Impact investments are becoming more popular where a project seeks to deliver both a financial profit as well as a social return."

    New sources of funding were rewarding success, rather than just reimbursing an organisation's costs, and new methods of corporate support through partnerships emerged that offered benefits for both the company and the NFP organisation.

    Cure Kids CEO Frances Benge welcomed the findings in the report.

    "The Cause Report initiates an important discussion on a vital sector in the wellbeing of our society.

    "The New Zealand picture emphases this need further with the reliance on philanthropy rather than government funding driving the importance of mutual interest collaborations, astute management of expenses and a greater appreciation of the value of volunteers," Benge said.

    The report was based on data from Statistics New Zealand and data collected and published by Charities Services from charities' annual returns. It provides an overview of New Zealand's NFP sector including its asset base, income and expenditure, philanthropy and innovation, the makeup of its workforce and volunteers, and how the sector compares internationally.

    This article was originally sourced from Stuff.co.nz.

  • 15 Mar 2017 9:40 AM | Shayne Morris (Administrator)

    The Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) board today announced the appointment of Eva Scheerlinck as acting CEO.

    Ms Scheerlinck – who has served in the role of AIST Executive Manager, Governance & Stewardship since 2010 – will commence her new role when AIST’s current CEO, Tom Garcia, departs on March 10, 2017.

    The appointment of Ms Scheerlinck brings stability and leadership to AIST while the search for a new CEO continues.

    Applications for the CEO position closed last Friday and interviews for the role have now begun.

    Mr Garcia – who announced he was stepping down from the role of CEO late last year – will continue his career in the profit-to-member superannuation sector, taking up an appointment with AustralianSuper.

    This media release was sourced directly from AIST and was written by Janet de Silva.

  • 15 Mar 2017 8:40 AM | Shayne Morris (Administrator)

    Internet Australia, the NFP peak body representing Internet users, has raised serious concerns at comments made overnight by executives from nbn. 

    In a document widely distributed to media outlets network engineering chief Peter Ryan and corporate affairs executive Karina Keisler attempt to justify nbn's decision to continue using technology that IA has described as "inferior" and unable to provide for the long term needs of Australian broadband consumers.

    The pair's explanation regarding the future use of the technology deployed in the fibre-tothe-node (FTTN) rollout was described by IA's executive chair, Anne Hurley, as "seriously at odds with the advice from our internationally recognised technical experts".

    Following increased complaints from nbn customers about slow speeds IA has called for nbn to abandon the use of FTTN, which it says will need to be replaced in 10 to 15 years or sooner in any case.

    "Despite what Mr Ryan and Ms Keisler claim, IA maintains there is no upgrade path for FTTN. We have consistently argued that a return to a full-fibre NBN would be the best option, but failing this we support the use of "middle ground" technology called fibre-to-thepremises, known as FTTdp".

    In its case, nbn prefers to ignore local spelling convention by using the term fibre-to-the curb. 

    "It's not a case of upgrading FTTN, it amounts to a massive rebuild. The 'node' (the large cabinets being placed on footpaths across the country) and the electronics inside the cabinet will become redundant. The money and time spent installing an electrical power feed will also be wasted".

    The nbn document states that it will use a new technology standard called Gfast. However, IA has repeatedly pointed out that Gfast is only suitable over short distances of copper wire, as is the case with FTTdp.

    "The latest advice from our engineers and from overseas is that GFast will not work over Internet Society of Australia Limited | ACN 076 406 801 | www.internet.org.au| PO Box 1705, North Sydney NSW 2059 the long cable runs from the FTTN nodes to people's home and businesses".

    nbn argues in favour of the continued use of FTTN on the basis that to change technology will increase delays in the completion of the project. IA maintains that efficient planning and fast-tracking construction would minimise any delays. It also argues that it makes no sense to condemn 50 percent of Australians to inferior technology while the other half enjoys ever increasing broadband speeds.

    "Surely just doing FTTDP first up would be more cost effective. Doing it in two stages means a huge waste of public money".

    Appearing at a Senate Estimates hearing last week nbn CEO Bill Morrow conceded that the company had not budgeted for upgrading premises with FTTN, stating the those customers wanting fast broadband would have to pay for their own upgrade.

    "Australia needs ubiquitous, fast and affordable broadband. That was the essential purpose of building the NBN in the first place. It is extraordinary to see nbn now saying it will only properly service half the population".

    This media release was sourced directly from Internet Australia and written by Anne Hurley, Executive Chair, Internet Australia.  

  • 15 Mar 2017 8:24 AM | Shayne Morris (Administrator)

    Yahoo chief executive Marissa Mayer will step down from the company that’s left over after Verizon Communications acquires its core internet assets.

    The 41-year-old will receive a $30 million golden parachute and gain control of stock options valued at $75 million ($US56.8 million), according to a regulatory filing.

    Yahoo’s email and other digital services will become part of Verizon, under a $6.38 billion ($US4.83 billion) deal struck last July.

    Yahoo board member Thomas McInerney will run the new company called Altaba, including Yahoo’s most valuable parts including investments in China’s e-commerce leader, Alibaba Group, and in Yahoo Japan.

    McInerney, 52, is a former executive with Ticketmaster and internet firm InterActiveCorp. He is set to receive $US2 million in annual base salary - double Mayer's current base pay.

    Yahoo Chief Financial Officer Ken Goldman will also be stepping down and is set to get $9.5 million in severance.

    Since becoming CEO in July 2012, Mayer’s time at Yahoo has had some controversial moments.

    Her reign involved acquiring multiple businesses as she attempted to turn the company into a media powerhouse.

    Earlier in the month it was revealed that Mayer would lose her cash bonus (worth about $2m a year) over the mishandling of a 2014 data breach.

    An internal review found Mayer’s management team reacted too slowly to the breach which involved 500 million accounts that had been potentially compromised.

    Moreover, a lawsuit was filed late last year in the US alleging that Mayer actively “purged the company of male employees”.

    Scott Ard, a former media executive at Yahoo, alleged that Mayer “encouraged and fostered the use of [an employee performance-rating system] to accommodate management's subjective biases and personal opinions, to the detriment of Yahoo's male employees”.

    This article was originally sourced from HC Online.

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