Sprout Cast

Sprout Cast Episode 3 with Tom Dakwins, CEO & Co-Founder StartSomeGood

Published: May 15, 2015

Read Time: 29 minutes

Tom dawkins

In this episode of SproutCast we talk to Tom Dawkins CEO & Co-Founder of StartSomeGood about how he got started in the non-profit space, how crowd funding can benefit your non-profit organisation and much more. StartSomeGood is a crowdfunding platform for non-profits, social entrepreneurs and changemakers to raise funds and grow a community of supporters.


Speaker 1: Welcome to SproutCast, where we speak with change makers, social innovators, and entrepreneurs about how to make the world a better place. And now, here’s your host, Julia Duffy.

Julia Duffy: Welcome back to SproutCast. My name is Julia Duffy. Today we’re speaking with Tom Dawkins, CEO and co-founder of Start Some Good, a global crowdfunding platform for social good projects. Welcome to SproutCast, Tom.

Tom Dawkins: Thanks for having me, Julia.

Julia Duffy: I thought I’d start, Tom, by asking you to tell us a little bit more about Start Some Good. What’s your organisation’s purpose, and how are you operating in the NFP space?

Tom Dawkins: For sure. Our purpose is to create a world where anyone can be a change maker. Our real passion as such, and the reason that I was involved in founding it, was that we’re passionate about creating a participatory democracy in providing opportunities for everyone to take the great ideas that we’ve ever have and actually make a difference in the world with those ideas. We think crowdfunding can be one of the tools that can serve change makers, which we’re looking to do that.

Julia Duffy: You’ve described, on your website, your organisation as a social enterprise. I was wondering if you could tell us a little about what your definition of social enterprise is and kind of your perception of their growth in the market at the moment.

Tom Dawkins: I’m really excited about social enterprise. One thing I’m not so excited about is kind of definition about what is a social enterprise, but I know that we have to kind of in a way figure out what we’re talking about.

To me, it’s not really about legal structure. It’s about how you fund yourself, how you create an impact in the world. Social enterprises do that using the marketplace. They earn revenue by participating in the marketplace somehow, offering a good or service, which either simultaneously also produces a social good, or they take the profits from doing that activity and reinvest those in doing a social good.

I think the first type is more interesting than the second type, to be honest, but both are important. Both are really valuable. By that I mean those that have a true alignment in their business models that brings together the way in which they make their money and the way in which they create their impact. I think that if those two things are truly in alignment, you can really scale very sustainable approaches to creating change in the world.

I want to be really clear, though, that I’m not some social enterprise absolutist. These people certainly exist to say, you know, the only real way to make sustainable differences is through business and so on, and I really don’t believe that. I think there’s an absolutely critical role, not just for traditional not-for-profit but charities, as well.

The market absolutely can’t do everything, but where we can configure out ways to address the social problem through the markets, that’s a powerful mechanism for doing so, and I think it’s exciting that, in a way, what it represents is breaking down some of the walls that used to exist conceptually between different types of organisations that charities were the only ones that cared about doing good, and businesses only cared about making a profit, and that’s simply no longer the case.

In the same way a lot of consumers now want to combine a high quality product that meets their needs but also does good for the world or at least does less harm, so to are entrepreneurs and change makers, looking to combine building a sustainable livelihood or wealth to themselves, and creating positive impacts on the world.

Julia Duffy: Wonderful. So, it sounds like your … Well, as I understand it, your organisation is involved, I guess, in the financial sustainability side of things for organisations, as a means of finding or sourcing funds. So, I guess you have a lot of experience with organisations who are struggling with or looking for new ways to find funding. What kind of insights do you have on this situation for not-for-profits, from your perspective?

Tom Dawkins: From a point of view of crowdfunding, not-for-profit’s should be the best crowd funders because they’ve always had to rely on the story they’re telling. The not-for-profit’s that survived, that thrived and made a difference are those who are capable of inspiring people with their story and getting them involved and creating a different.

A lot of not-for-profit’s are really good at that. 95% of all the not-for-profit’s in Australia actually had zero paid staff. So, they rely on people really caring, people showing up to make a difference. I was chatting … I caught up with a social entrepreneur today actually, and we were reminiscing, we first met 15 years ago when we both ran not-for-profit youth organisation s.

We both now run social enterprise start ups, and we were talking about some of the lessons. What did we learn back then and how do we apply that now? One of the things that came up that he talked about and I 100% agree with is that if you learn how to work with volunteers, that’s an incredible skill, because you’re not paying people necessarily to turn up and do that work.

They have to really care about it, they have to really believe in it, they have to really understand what they’re doing. If you’re able to inspire people in that way, involve them in that way, connect them together in that way, then that’s an incredible talent for all kinds of entrepreneurship and it’s a great talent for fundraising, as well.

I think a lot of not-for-profit’s should be good at crowd funding. They often just kind of don’t know how to bring … In a way, I think a lot are intimated by what feels like a very new word, and new thing, a thing they don’t understand, and they don’t need to be because the things that work for crowdfunding are the same things that have always worked for fundraising.

There’s kind of 80% the same, 20% new tactics for this kind of new approach, but the 80% that is the same, is that [Clause Unventional 00:05:58] staff. What is the story you’re telling? Why are people going to listen? Why are they going to care and how can they get involved?

Julia Duffy: Perhaps from the perspective of someone who was thinking of starting their own organisation, how much do you think you should have a plan or a strategy, I guess, more for finding funding for your organisation , and what kind of considerations should you be concerned with for fundraising or for crowdfunding before starting an organisation ?

Tom Dawkins: I’m a bit torn on this one to be honest. What I want to say, and what I think is sensible, is that you should think a great deal about that. You should really try and figure out where your funding is going to come from and as much as possible, validate that that’s true. That’s clearly a big assumption.

So, as much as possible, to actually figure out if that’s assumption’s true, kind of before you launch in. That said, had I taken that approach, I probably never would have founded Vibewire, which is the organisation that I started while I was at University. It went for 8 years and that was an extraordinary experience, and we built that into a national organisation with paid staff, myself included, and if it wasn’t for that experience I’m not sure I would have been able to do anything that came after that.

So, I’m torn between the obvious sensibleness of the former piece of advice, and my own life experience is much more of kind of plunging in and figuring things out as best I can, as I go, and I think that’s true for a lot of social change initiatives.

I think if you’re more sensible than me, and I do think this me being older now than I was then, as well, I kind of had nothing to lose. It wouldn’t have mattered if it all fell on my face. I have to be ever so slightly more mindful of the downside now that I have a family and so on. If you are thinking about crowdfunding, you do need, in particular, to really think about how you’re going to do that outreach piece. Crowdfunding, like any type of marketing campaign or fundraising campaign, really relies on targeting the right people.

So, figuring out what your story is. What’s the change and your story will be essentially of the change that you’re creating, your personal journey, why it is that you came to that change, and then why is this the right moment for people to kind of connect, care and contribute. So, it’s the classic 3 Why’s of any kind of pitching, which is why this, why you, why now, and really thinking about that stuff and thinking, “Who’s going to respond to that?”, and figuring out how you’re going to reach that community, that audience. Once you’ve figured out who the correct target community is, what are the tools, what are the channels through which you can reach them?

It’s a little bit like if you’re trying to raise money through direct mail and someone gives you 1000 stamps. You don’t know how much money you can raise with those stamps until you figure out what you’re going to put in the envelope, and who are you going to send it to. You can’t get your story to everyone in Australia, so therefore, the people who succeed are those who are very intentional about this, and focus their efforts on the community that will be most responsive to their story.

Those that fail are those who are just spreading their story scatter shot with no particular idea of who’s going to respond, or why they might they respond. They’re just putting it out there. Particularly crowdfunding that relies on a set amount of time, often let’s say 30 days.

Let’s say you have 3 hours a day that you can contribute to it, that means you have a budget of 90 hours. That’s all you’ve got. That’s not enough time to speak 20 million or 25 million Australian’s. It’s enough time to speak to a subset of that. Your success or failure will rely on figuring out who that subset is and getting your story to them.

Julia Duffy: Now you mentioned starting your own organisation s, and I’m interested in that process of going from an interesting idea, passion for a cause, finding other people who also share your interests and your passion and can maybe assist you, and between that stages and actually launching your organisation. What would you say, based on your own experiences and, I guess, also reflecting back on those experiences, what would you advice for that stage between the idea and launching your organisation ?

Tom Dawkins: I’d definitely advise finding a co-founder. I won’t do anything again without a co-founder. It’s so important, just in terms of your own mental wellbeing, if nothing else, but also just to give you a chance of getting there.

There’s just going to be so much work involved. It’s going to require different skill sets and it’s going to require more than 1 person who cares as much as you do. There’s a real difference between a co-founder and people who are helping out early.

I experienced that. On Vibewire, I was more or less a sole founder. There were very important people, of course, at every single stage, without whom nothing could have been achieved or nothing done, but there was no one else who traveled through those stages with me.

Whereas with Start Some Good I had a co-founder and that was really essential. It was really hard the first few years, and it still is. It’s hard work. I’d really look for someone who you can connect with and work with in that way, and, of course, hopefully has a complimentary skill set.

If you want to do something online and you are not technical yourself, you would like to have a technical co-founder because that’s going to make life a million times year. If you’re a technical person yourself, but you have an idea and you need someone to go out there and pitch, and sell it, and raise money and all of that, you need a more businessy co-founder with those sorts of skills.

That would be step 1 for me, and as I said, I’ve done that with different levels of success and it’s a real lesson that I’ve learned. Now having really had both experiences and understanding the difference, I would really focus on that. I would also just figure out who else was doing it. I would try to make sure that there was really a niche. There’s a lot of duplication and that’s not all bad. I believe in social enterprise, so in general I believe some level of competition including in the not-for-profit sector is very healthy.

I never … I’m not going to condemn anyone for starting something new as people often do, sadly, because something similar exists. Maybe that something similar actually needs someone to give them a bit of a run for their money and try and do that same thing better.

I would be at least aware of who else is out there. Sadly, some people launch non-profits and projects without even being aware of who’s doing it. It’s fine to consciously decide to take someone on and do it better, but that should at least be conscious. If, instead, it’s based on ignorance, it’s going to be harder for people to take you seriously and support you.

You’re not just not going to kind of know what’s going on, and it’s going to risk seeming like it’s more ego driven and not as genuinely focused on what’s needed. So, that community or that sector or that cause, if you haven’t put the effort in to just look around and see who else might be doing it, and maybe it’ll be better to work with someone and support someone who is a little bit further along, than to just start something else. That’s something to think about.

Julia Duffy: Is that something that you’ve been involved in in the past being connected with or forming alliances with other organisations? Is that something that you’ve seen happen a lot in the not-for-profit space or do you more see organisations working competitively or working in isolation from each other?

Tom Dawkins: I mean, you see all of that. You probably see too much of the last 2, and too little of the first 1.

Julia Duffy: Do you have any suggestions for how people could cooperate or align themselves with other organisations more?

Tom Dawkins: Partly it’s the funding structures and what they promote. I do think they are increasingly requesting … A lot of foundations now and government’s request applications from partnerships or alliances. I think that’s quite healthy.

I think if we could all be a bit more honest with each other internally, sharing what’s working, succeeding and failing, we’ve got to share our failures better. The not-for-profit sector is particularly not good at that, because there is this sense of competitions and, “Oh, God. The owners won’t trust us again if we did something that was unsuccessful”.

So, we need to build a culture with some understanding donors, as well, that recognise that failure is part of the process of innovation. That if we’re not prepared to say, “Well, actually, we’re not moving fast enough”, and, “We need to support nimble, fast moving organisations that are unafraid of failure, but who learn from it and iterate on it quickly”.

Some organisations continue with things that are basically failures for a long time because they’re afraid to admit that they’re failures, and that’s really to the detriment to whole sector. It’s not easy … There’s not an easy answer. There’s all the usual human foibles involved which is to win, a certain degree of ego at times, and something structures that really set it up to be competitive.

I think people are really doing great, despite all of that. I think we do actually see a lot of increasing amounts of partnership and collaboration in all sorts of different pockets of the sector. We’ve been lucky enough to work with some great non-profits and corporates, as well, and government organisations at a couple of different levels.

There’s a lot of people out there that think both individually but also [entitled 00:15:26] organisations who are looking for new ways to do things and are really open to partnering with people to try and figure out how to do things better.

Julia Duffy: From the perspective of someone thinking of starting their own organisation, I guess another thing to be aware of, not just understanding the sector that you’re coming into and having the support from a co-founder, perhaps, but I guess the more technical elements of starting an organisation.

Is that something that you sought legal advice on or did you have any mentors with experience in that area who assisted you with that?

Tom Dawkins: Not with Vibewire. We incorporated very prematurely. We actually formed a partnership with someone … We had an idea for a … The first thing we wanted to do was to, we were setting up a website but we also wanted to teach media production skills to disadvantaged young people to create content for that website. This is 2000. We formed a partnership with a DGR organisation, a youth services organisation who host the project, forced us to make a joint application for funding. At the very last minute, 3 days out, they pulled out. I forget why exactly.

What we did, which was probably a foolish thing was say, “How would it look to incorporate ourselves?”. We didn’t have any legal advice. We just downloaded the template forms, signed them and submitted them which then … It didn’t require a DGR, I should say. It just required that you be a non-profit community organisation, but obviously that you actually exist, which until that moment we didn’t legally.

In many ways that was terribly premature. Our original approach from trying to do it from endorsements and partnerships and to test our project and get the runs on the board and so on was probably the much more sensible approach. We didn’t get [background 00:17:26] and we didn’t really get any funding for 2 years, nor did we need a lot.

It was a bunch of University students and we were doing stuff that we were very passionate about so we keep going for 2 years, and eventually we did start getting funding and that was the part at which we should have incorporated. I think that’s quite a common mistake. People have this sense that you can’t start if you don’t have that legal structure in place, but the legal structure brings with it, a series of burdens, in terms of administration that you may not be ready or want to take on.

Until someone is ready to actually invest money in you, you don’t actually need a legal vehicle to accept it, so it’s depends how you’re starting and it depends whether you’re starting with fundraising.

We weren’t. We were starting by going on with a very volunteer structure and we could have done that without taking on the burden. It took a long time to catch up from the lack of oversight and management. We hadn’t done things properly. We weren’t really paying attention to what was involved. We were just kind of doing what we had to do to get that ground application in. With Start Some Good we definitely did have legal help setting up the structure.

Julia Duffy: Sorry, I didn’t catch that bit. I just lost you for a sec there.

Tom Dawkins: That’s okay. I said with Start Some Good, we definitely did get legal help setting up the right structure, and incorporating in the right way.

Julia Duffy: Wonderful. So, it sounds like there’s a bit of a balance, I guess, between not being too caught up with the legal stuff to start off with, just get it going, and not leaving it too late, I guess, and missing out on opportunities because you don’t have the right structures there. Is that correct?

Tom Dawkins: Yeah, that’s right. If you’re setting up a business, 90% of businesses fail. The chances are, at the end of the day, it’s not going to work anyway. It’s generally not going to be because you didn’t quite cross your T’s and dot your I’s properly.

It’s going to be because you couldn’t find a market for what you’re going to do, no one would fund it, you didn’t know how to market it, all sorts of things. To some extent, I guess I have a little bit of a philosophy of do things when you need to do them.

[inaudible 00:19:30] somewhats really going to get you to the next stage, and it’s normally not being a perfect administrator, and hopefully you can get to the point, and you will get to the point where you’ll have to get better at that. We recently employed a general manager at Start Some Good and it’s just about the best thing that’s ever happened to me to take a lot of those sorts of things off the plate because we did have to get better.

We’ve reached that point ourselves, where we’re taking on more investments and working with more corporate and not-for-profit partners who expect more diligence and fair enough, so we’re getting our act together now. Maybe we wouldn’t have gotten to this point if we obsessed over it earlier and not gone on with building and promoting the business.

Julia Duffy: So I just wanted to switch gears for a moment here, and ask you a bit about your board experience. You’ve served on the board of a couple of organisations, one of them being Vibewire, the organisation that you started. Can you tell me a little bit about that experience and also, perhaps, how that has, if it has, made you look at that not-for-profit sector differently or look at the management of an organisation differently?

Tom Dawkins: I don’t know if it has made me look at it differently. I guess I learned a lot about what was involved on some level, and one thing I really did learn was organisations, at different times in their lives, require different types of boards.

To a certain extent, this goes back to what we were just talking about, the kind of admin versus what would you say, versus kind of getting on with it. Sometimes you need … At some stage of your life, you need a “getting on with it” board. A board who will actually contribute and do things in a very kind of hands on, practical way.

They might be organizing or host events. It might be reach out a pitch to potential sponsors and partners directly, raise money, help form partnerships. Really produce, and at other times, as the organisation matures normally, the board can move into a more oversight and strategic board. Normally, that’s to raise money and to have some of those high level conversations, but they can ease back a bit. The time expectation is obviously quite minimal because these are often very, very busy people and it’s just really important to have a shared understanding, an agreement, I think, of about where the board’s at and what’s expected.

I’ve been on boards where there was a bit of a mismatch, perhaps, amongst the board members themselves in the role they expected to play. That can be awkward and difficult, as it is in any situation where people are kind of not quite committed to … Where people are unequal in their contributions, that can be a lot less enjoyable than people who are really unified and doing things in the same way.

That’s certainly something that I’ve experienced and I would keep in mind next time I was forming a non-profit bond or joining one. I also … I had a kind of unique situation while I was on the Vibewire one for a long time while also kind of running the organisation as CEO, and then I left the organisation and moved to America and lived there for 4 years and when I returned to Sydney, I rejoined the board for a year and it was a little bit of a mismatch in that regard. I found it difficult. I kind of found it difficult the discrepancy between how much I cared and how much I could do, which is probably unusual. I had a much deeper than normal emotional connection to the organisation, having founded it and given 8 years of my life to it, but by this stage, I had just had my first child, I was running Start Some Good, had another couple of major projects on my table, as well.

I was really over committed, and there was only so much I could do for Start Some Good. Sorry, for Vibewire, and there was so much more that I wanted to do that it was actually kind of difficult for me, emotionally, to juggle that feeling and to balance that feeling, and it just didn’t feel productive at a certain point and I had to step back again.

It’s certainly a wonderful way to contribute and something I would look to do again in the future if life settles down ever so slightly.

Julia Duffy: I guess, changing gears again once more, for a few final questions, backtracking a little bit now, but I was interested in learning a little bit more about how in your relationships with the not-for-profit sector first originated? Kind of what inspired your involvement in working with NFP’s? Did you have any early engagement with the sector in your life? Where has this connection come from?

Tom Dawkins: It came from a desire, I guess, to make a certain type of difference which was, for me, to perform of starting things. I suppose I was classically and not for longing [inaudible 00:24:20] earlier, but in my defence, it was so much harder to figure out what everyone else was doing when I was a teenager, because everybody was online et cetera.

By the time I’d finished University, I’d founded 3 non-profit’s and my engagement with the sector was from starting them, which is maybe kind of unusual, but I’ve just always look forwarded to starting things, I suppose.

Where that had really come from and it’s that interest I talked about right at the start and kind of the mission that drives, starts and builds, as well, which is to build opportunities and platforms for people to get involved in democratic participation was triggered in me through an experience I had when I was 15. I was actually over in the US for a year on a student exchange and while there, I was selected to attend a conference held in San Francisco called “The State of the World Forum”, which was a kind of high level pow wow about what was going on in the world, post the cold war, and beginning to try and articulate a new kind of vision for [inaudible 00:25:20] a corporation a new set of goals.

I think kind of late in the organizing of that, and it featured all these heads of state. [Gilvachoff 00:25:31] was there, Reagan, Thatcher, 7 different other [inaudible 00:25:35] prize winners. Business leaders, authors, spiritualists.

I think late in the peace in organizing that, someone said, “Well, wouldn’t it be nice if we had some young people here? We’re talking about the future, let’s get some young people along”. So, they didn’t have kind of the time, the budget, the inclination to do this global search for young leaders that would have actually deserved the opportunity to be at an event like that.

Instead, they parted with the world’s largest high school student exchange program, AFS, to select amongst young people who were already conveniently located in the US. So, I managed to be selected as the Australian representative. 5 of us were [inaudible 00:26:13] and I was then selected. I didn’t deserve it. I hadn’t done anything at the point. I wasn’t active on a … I came from a very political family. We talked about politics around the dinner table. I had opinion on things, I watched the news. Totally unfounded opinions, but opinions nonetheless, but I hadn’t done anything in the way that you might kind of want for the kind of people who would be representing or get to attend this event or done things, but nonetheless.

I was one of 32 young people from 15-17, representing 28 countries and it was the most extraordinary experience. We met multiple Noble Peace Prize winners. We met Thich Nhat Hanh who’s the equivalent of the Dalai Lama for the Vietnamese Buddhists and a spiritual leader for the Vietnamese Buddhists. The other young people were extraordinary.

It was genuinely life changing. I really came away from that feeling like it wasn’t enough just to have opinions. You had to do things. You had to contribute. I had the experience of having these incredibly important people stop and ask me what I thought about things, and listen to me. The experience of having my voice matter, which was incredibly empowering. Coming away from that event, I had this kind of [inaudible 00:27:25] sensation. On the one hand, I felt very personally empowered, but on the other hand, I felt like I had witnessed a broken system for youth empowerment. I realised that this was kind of how youth empowerment happens. It’s haphazard, it’s tokenistic, and it’s enormously biased towards wealth. While the 32 of us had this [seeming 00:27:44] diversity in coming from 28 different countries, every single one of us had parents who could afford to send us to America for a year.

More or less, what I’ve literally been doing since then is trying to figure out better ways in involving people, empowering people, and teaching people that their voice matters, and then giving them the tools, and the skills, and the opportunities to use that voice, to use their ideas, to use their skills and labor to make a difference.

Originally, that took a focus exclusively on young people. I thought that was a youth issue particularly. I immediately got involved in organizing stuff at my high school back in America, founded a student organisation at a high school back in Australia, then at University, then Vibewire to explore online and how that could be a tool. That’s more or less the work I was doing overseas with the non-profit when I was visiting the US, working for an organisation called Ashoka, and then that’s the mission that Start Some Good also peruses.

I’m really kind of focused on this particular challenge. Particularly around how we use technology to build a better democracy. It’s kind of through focusing on that challenge that I just came across the non-profit sector, I guess, just by virtue of discovering that that’s the kind of thing that I was doing. The kind of work normally done by non-profits, so I set up a non-profits, and set it out writing [inaudible 00:29:05] applications and doing the non-profity things like that. Of course, in the process of that, I met lots of other non-profits and got involved in the sector, and learned a lot more, and learned an extraordinary amount along the way, because gosh knows I didn’t know anything when I started.

Julia Duffy: Wonderful. That’s a really great story, Tom. I guess, maybe my final question is did you have any suggestions or advice for aspiring or emerging leaders in this sector, about how to take their ideas to the next level? How to take their passion to contribute to the next level? Where would you start if this is just your first jumping off point? How would you be involved?

Tom Dawkins: The literal first place I would start would just to be to mix in with people who shared my passion. I’m a big user of social media. It’s been really important over the last however long, in particularly connecting with people I identify and people working on similar issues to me. Learning from them, being able to support each other.

I think social media has led to a lot more collaboration. I think it’s built new ways in which collaborate together, both across organisations and without organisations, just as [inaudible 00:30:19]. I would really start kind of … If you don’t have a Twitter account, I would set one up right now, and just start tweeting about the things you care about and looking for other people to talk to you about that same stuff, just surveying conversation.

I think that’s so critical. I would go to Meetup.com and look up MeetUp groups where I lived, where I could get out there and meet other people who share those passions, and be involved in a community of change makers, because when you feel like you’re involved in that community, that’s inspired by purpose, and is inspired by the sense that they can actually change the world.

You need to be surrounded by that. Too many people don’t believe that they can change the world. If you want to change the world, it really starts with that act of self belief or permission to say, “I am a change maker. I can change the world”. That individually is quite a big step for a lot of people. The best way to kind of take that step is to spend time with people who have that feeling, because it’s … What’s the word I want? It’s a little bit …

Julia Duffy: Empowering?

Tom Dawkins: Intoxicating or something. Empowering. It spreads. You want some of that, and share the passion you have, and share what it is you want to change, and share your ideas. Say, “Going to do that”, and listen to other peoples ideas and it all kind of mixes up together and amazing things are emerging from these sorts of purpose driven entrepreneurial communities. If you’re in Sydney, where I am, then the meetup group that I would suggest you go to would be Think Act Change.

Julia Duffy: Think Act Change. Is that what you said?

Tom Dawkins: In Melbourne … Yeah, that’s right. In Melbourne, or Adelaide, Net Tuesday is a nice get together for people who are interested in kind of knowledge and social change. There’s a bunch of them, though. So, yeah, I would start there, and just connect with people and see what emerges. If your real desire is to start an organisation yourself, I would also start getting that out there. I would try to hold off necessarily on deciding what legal form it needed to take, or like explore some of the different options. Could it be a social enterprise? Should it be a traditional not-for-profit? Do you want to be a sole trader? Gosh, there’s more cooperatives coming back, actually, which I think is a fascinating segment of the not-for-profit market. Could it be a cooperative? Depending on what it is. It’s worth an open mind about these different forms. They have pro’s and con’s.

Julia Duffy: Wonderful. Well, thanks for very much for speaking with us on SproutCast today, Tom. It’s been really fascinating. So, thank you.

Tom Dawkins: It’s been a pleasure. If anyone wants to connect with me, I love connecting with change makers and people that think they can make a difference, as well, through Twitter especially, and I’m @TomJD on Twitter.



Better Boards connects the leaders of Australasian non-profit organisations to the knowledge and networks necessary to grow and develop their leadership skills and build a strong governance framework for their organisation.

Found this article useful or informative?

Join 5,000+ not-for-profit & for-purpose directors receiving the latest insights on governance and leadership.

Receive a free e-book on improving your board decisions when you subscribe.

Unsubscribe anytime. We care about your privacy - read our Privacy Policy .