A children’s story that will change the way you think

Meet Jack, Yuri and Olivia. They’re your friends, and you’re stranded, alone, in a desert wilderness, trying to find them, and your way out. To do so, you need to solve a series of clues and puzzles and if you do, you’ll be a hero – the hero of your own story. Sounds fun – right?

What looks like a graphic novel-cross-adventure story-cross-activity booklet is actually a mental wellbeing resource for children aged 6 to 12 years old, developed recently by the Amergin team for Richmond Fellowship Queensland and UnitingCare Community Sunshine Coast.

A couple of months ago I blogged about the need for community organisations to start focussing on and prioritising their marketing and communications, in order to distinguish themselves in a rapidly changing market where your client is now your paying customer. In the article I discussed the need for imaginative and engaging marketing practices that clearly distinguish your service and your brand and appeal to your target stakeholders in an innovative and modern way.

Marketing and communications isn’t just about getting clients in the door; it’s also about engaging and helping them in the most effective ways possible. The Escape from the Desert story is an evidence-based, concept-tested product that provides information to kids in a way that really appeals to them, through a recognisable brand that can be built upon and leveraged in multiple ways and formats.

Connecting with your client base doesn’t have to be hard or onerous. It can be fun, interesting and incredibly effective, particularly when it’s done right. If you’d like to get your own copies of the Escape from the Desert story and the accompanying educational posters, or if you’d like more information about how Amergin can help you make your creative mark – get in touch!

The Evolution of Amergin

The Evolution of Amergin

Welcome to our new website! It represents the next phase for our business and we hope you like it as much as we do.

Amergin has come a long way since our first client over 4 years ago. Over the last few months our team has worked particularly hard to re-focus the business and expand its services to better cater for Australian community organisations and businesses.

Today, we’re ready to reveal the next phase of our journey.

What does this mean for our clients?

We have made some significant changes including consolidating our marketing and consultation services under one brand ‘Amergin’. Our business is built on credibility, expertise and trust. We are committed to the success of our clients (not making a quick dollar). This is what sets us apart from everyone else and means we go further for our clients.

Marketing

As well as launching a new logo and website, we have enhanced our overall service provision while also looking to improve the journey our clients experience with us. This is represented in the following ways:

  • A ‘hand-held approach’ that keeps us connected with our clients through the entire project journey. It means we’re on the same page and deliver exactly what clients want, on time and on budget;
  • Keeping up-to-date with new strategic and digital marketing practices to keep our clients ahead of the game;
  • Access to the best design tools to build stunning websites and collateral;
  • First-class reporting mechanisms to measure campaign success; and
  • Marketing Workshops to share the knowledge we’ve acquired from years of experience and research, to help businesses nurture their own growth and success. We will tailor topics and duration to suit your business needs.

Consulting

This area of our business is growing rapidly, particularly due to the enormous changes currently occurring in the disability and mental health sectors. We are helping a long list of community organisations apply for State and Federal Government funding, assisting with business, program and policy development and supporting existing and new organisations through the varying State processes to apply for NDIS Provider registration.

To learn more about our services or to book a free 30-minute discussion to talk about your next project, contact us now!

Is it time to put your hand up?

Consulting - Is it time to put your hand up?

In a time of unprecedented reform in Australia (particularly in the disability and mental health sectors), State and Federal governments are increasingly focussing taxpayer dollars on the individual, as well as towards willing community organisations geared to support this focus. Is your business one of these?

There is growing recognition that individualised, person-centred support produces the best outcomes for the people who need it. To stay relevant and financially viable, community organisations must clearly differentiate themselves to an increasingly discerning client base – or they will inevitably lose out.

Unfortunately, many organisations rely on traditional, out-dated methods of stakeholder engagement (particularly those solely reliant on government funding) or have never really worried about strong communication at all! However, community organisations need to be more competitive, outcomes focussed and financially efficient than ever before. Creativity and innovation are crucial to avoid falling behind.

Imaginative and engaging marketing practice is no longer an ‘optional extra’. Australian community services must remain competitive in the face of evolving service delivery requirements, increased competition from traditional and non-traditional providers, streamlined service provision and changing financial conditions.

The 7 top areas all community organisations in Australia should currently be seriously considering include:

  1. Appealing to your target audience in a modern and engaging manner;
  2. Stepping outside the box and engaging people in new and exciting ways;
  3. The importance of having both an offline and online footprint;
  4. Developing unique, clear and well-represented campaigns;
  5. Strategic market positioning;
  6. Being relevant in the modern digital age; and
  7. The value of working collaboratively with private sector experts in this field.

Community organisations must prioritise and evolve their marketing and communication practices to be able to provide the support they know achieves the best outcomes for people.

We’ll be covering some of these issues in more detail on the blog in the coming weeks. If you need help in the meantime, Amergin has the knowhow to help community organisations communicate with their audience better – so get in touch!

Christine

How I can help you with the NDIS

Consulting - How Can I help you with the NDIS?

Last week Amergin Consulting was approached to help an organisation with their NDIS provider registration.

There is a Provider Toolkit on the NDIS website, however if you want to be supported through the process and provided with information that is specific to your organisation and the requirements you need to fulfill, I can help you.

My experience and knowledge regarding the National Disability Insurance Scheme means I can also help service providers with the following:

  • Moving from block funding arrangements to delivering services on a fee-for-service basis;
  • Identifying opportunities for new or different service delivery within an NDIS framework;
  • Program and policy evaluation, design or redesign; and
  • Whole-of-business analysis, modification and change management to prepare for NDIS transition.

The NDIS started rolling out across the country on 1 July 2016, so if you’ve still got some work to do to prepare, let’s have a conversation about how I can help you!

Christine

The best advice I was ever given

Consulting - The Best advice I was was ever given

I used to be really stressed. Really, really stressed. All. The. Time. Don’t get me wrong; I enjoyed my life and my work, but I’m a perfectionist and someone who can’t be idle. I was very good at prioritising everything, sticking with things I just had to get finished before I could move on, and often prolonged my efforts trying to resolve unimportant detail. I always wanted to please and couldn’t say ‘no’. Now on their own these things aren’t necessarily bad, but as an approach to living and working? Well, it wasn’t working for me.

It got to the point that I felt I was juggling too much, trying to be too much to too many people and things. While I felt the work I was doing was meaningful and important, the stress and pressure I was putting myself under was burning me out, at work and personally. Then, someone very important to me pointed out a simple fact: ‘You’re getting paid to go to work and do your job, not to die of a heart attack’. Something in that simple sentence – said to me in so many different ways by that same person many times before – hit home.

A light bulb flicked on inside my head and I opened myself up to the possibility that things didn’t have to be this way. Since then I have been on a journey towards a better way of living and working. I started small – taking 5 minutes every day to plan and prioritise my day, learning to delegate better, and starting to say ‘no’ (in a nice way of course ☺). I also learned the value of meditation and mindfulness.

Then I started to leap. I left my steady, stable job, knowing that striking out on my own would better help me make the tangible difference I want to make in the world. I found a great mentor, who taught me to question my beliefs and habits, and to respond to my world vs. react. I was introduced the concept of working smarter, not harder, and now fit more into my days than I ever have before. I’m in no way perfect. And I’m still learning – I hope I always will be. In a way, with a growing family and business, I’m busier than I ever have been. But I am calmer, more relaxed, more confident and happier. I love my work and I love what my business is here to achieve. I hope I can share it with you sometime soon!

Christine

6 Tips for Preparing a GREAT Annual Report

Consulting - 6 Tips for preparing a great Annual Report

It’s end of financial year and Annual Report time! While preparing an Annual Report can feel overwhelming, it is well worth the effort. In addition to reporting on financial performance, Annual Reports are an excellent way of showcasing an organisation’s achievements and a great marketing tool! Here are 6 tips for preparing a great Annual Report:

  1. Plan and project manage the report’s development, making sure to engage all relevant stakeholders. Ideally one person, consultant or team should coordinate the report’s production.
  2. Comply – Include all the elements required to meet your regulatory requirements. More information can be found on the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia’s website.
  3. Tell your story – Showcase your achievements and use case studies to emphasise the real, day-to-day impact your organisation has on its clients. This demonstrates the organisation’s value as well as its capability to meet the needs of its clients.
  4. Thank your stakeholders – Acknowledging your staff (paid and unpaid) and donors and showing them what their investment has meant for your clients will motivate them to continue supporting your organisation – and encourage others to do the same.
  5. Talk about the future – Keep your supporters on-board by showing you have a meaningful vision for the future and clear plans for how you will achieve this.
  6. Make it an enjoyable read – Yes it is possible! Use simple and concise language, provide easy-to-understand explanations of the financial information provided, triple-check your spelling and grammar and make the report aesthetically pleasing through the use of a good layout, graphs, tables and engaging pictures and captions.

Annual Reports take time and effort but provide a considerable return on investment when done well. Amergin Consulting can help you prepare a professional and polished Annual Report in consultation with your financial team. Contact us to find out more!

Demonstrating Impact

Consulting - Demonstrating Impact

What’s Your VALUE?

In a recent speech to Not for Profit leaders as part of JBWere’s 2015 Social Leadership Program, Professor Kash Rangan of Harvard Business School spoke about the increasing tendency of government to seek impact and outcome data from funding recipients.

This is certainly in line with my own experience with Australian Government and the Department of Social Services, which has created a new data collection framework with a strong focus on outcomes as well as the usual output data.

In the current policy and fiscal environment, this kind of data is required more and more often to inform ongoing or future policy and program development. At a time when every program and service is being rationalised and re-rationalised, it’s important to be able to communicate not just what a program or service does, but its value.

In my opinion, this kind of reporting is a great opportunity to really showcase the tangible value of your service delivery on peoples’ lives. And, if nothing else, it’s clearly the way that government is heading in terms of funding recipients’ reporting requirements. Be ahead of the game and take advantage of this shift. And if you need help, contact us!

How to create good policy – and ENJOY it!

Consulting - How to create a good policy and enjoy it!

Yep I can almost hear you cringing! Many people find the concept of policy development dry and dull, and let’s face it – it’s not a sexy topic! BUT it is a fundamental part of any good organisation, whether you’re developing internal policies for the smooth running of the business, or policies that will form the foundation of your important programs and services.

It can also be incredibly interesting, fulfilling and – dare I say it – enjoyable, to drive good policy that has a meaningful impact on others’ lives. In Amergin Consulting’s experience, good policy development is simpler than you think, particularly if you organise your activities around the following 4 key steps:

1. PLAN

Why is the policy is required? What is its purpose? What are the risks associated with implementing such a policy, or not implementing it? What money and resources do you need to develop and implement the policy, and where do you get these? What authority do you have to proceed with this work? Who will project manage the policy development process?

2. DEVELOP

What is the social / political / financial context? What’s been done before? What’s been learnt? What are existing good practices? Who do you need to consult with? What are the risks associated with the policy now that you understand the finer detail? How will you communicate, implement and evaluate the policy? Who will write the policy and ensure it is well written and targeted to its audience? How will you obtain feedback on the policy? Do changes need to be made after this feedback?

3. IMPLEMENT

What approval do you need to proceed? How do you communicate the policy and its impacts? What internal or external changes need to be made and how? Who’s responsible? What is the timeframe? What are the resource implications?

4. EVALUATE

Is your policy a working document that will be regularly reviewed and updated? When? How? How do you communicate the results of any monitoring / evaluation and make changes if required? How do you measure performance and change?

So come on, get your teeth into it and start creating! Be fluid, flexible and open to new ideas and solutions that you didn’t expect – they are the core of great, innovative, impactful policies. With good policy development skills, you can truly inspire change and transform lives.

Amergin Consulting can help you with every step of the policy development process and will work with you to make it a simple, interesting and worthwhile experience. Contact us to find out more!