Conference Electives

These were the electives presented at the 2024 conference. Throughout a typical conference there are usually seven elective timeslots, each containing six electives running at the same time, in one of six streams:

Ministry Governance Stream
HR Stream
Finance & Legal Stream
Fundraising & Communications Stream
General Stream
Executive Leadership Stream
Tuesday 28th May 2024 11.40am – 12.35pm

When Faith Meets Dysfunction: A Comedy of Errors in Christian NFP Governance

Join us for a one-of-a-kind session to delve into the humorous side of poor governance practices in Christian nonprofits. From boardroom blunders to bylaw mishaps, we explore five themes of governance failures in an entertaining and engaging way. Learn how to avoid common pitfalls, navigate challenges with grace, and ensure your ministry stays on the right path. Don’t miss this opportunity to laugh and learn as we uncover the comedy of errors that can occur when faith meets dysfunction in NFP governance. Let us show you how to turn governance fails into governance wins!

Karen McComiskey CEO, For Purpose Leadership

The Value of Character

How does the character of leaders and their team impact the success of an organisation? In this elective, the team at Enriched HR will explore the foundational role that character has in effective leadership and unpack the impact of team and staff character on organisational results and the bottom line. This workshop will conclude with some practical points on how to ‘hire for character’ and promote your desired organisational characteristics.

Leila and Rowan Armstrong Enriched HR

Being and becoming a redemptive educational community.

In seeking to become a redemptive Christian community it is helpful to consider the German concept of Gemeinschaft which translates in English as both fellowship and community.

By ourselves, we are not prepared to live as part of this characteristically special community that is redeemed and that is because we actually want to do things our own way as a manufactured product that we determine in our humanity.

Therefore, in order for us to be a redemptive Chrisitan Community we need to acknowledge God for Who He is and that we are under His authority and we live together with a common spirt and purpose.

The challenge is profound: Give up our own ways and seek to follow God’s way.

Edwin Boyce Executive Principal, Pacific Group of Christian Schools

10 legal and regulatory hotspots that might take you by surprise

If you are more of a watch the movie rather than read the book person – then this session is for you!

This panel style session is designed to give you a one-stop shop overview of the key regulatory and legal issues facing charities in 2024, delivered in a simple and accessible way. The panel will address issues relating to charity regulation, corporate governance, employment law, and discrimination law, including recent changes but also proposed reforms to watch out for. 

The session is designed to be practical and interactive – with questions, disruptions and demonstrations expected.

Sam Burnett (panel host), panel members Allison Strickland, Sarah Ryan, Katelyn Thierry Prolegis Lawyers

As a faith-based organisation, how do we mix best practice fundraising with a true ministry approach?

Drawing on 10 years of ministry fundraising, Ben will look at traits of great fundraising ministries and highlight some of the mistakes we’re prone to make.

This session is a must for ministry leaders who want to build a better faith-based fundraising culture, and for those in fundraising who want to make decisions that reflect their faith – not just mainstream practice.

Ben Allsop Manager, Transformational Giving, Tearfund Australia

Process Thinking in Christian Organisations

Process thinking is an approach that focuses on understanding and improving the processes by which tasks and activities are carried out within an organisation. It involves breaking down complex tasks into smaller, more manageable steps, analysing how these steps are interconnected, and identifying opportunities for optimisation and enhancement. Process thinking is used to streamline operations, reduce waste, and enhance quality and efficiency. It can be applied in Christian organisations to improve the delivery of services, enhance community outreach efforts, and fulfill the organisation’s mission more effectively while keeping in mind the values and principles of Christianity.

Jessen Yeoh Church Consultant, Baptist Union of Victoria

Tuesday 28th May 1.25 – 2.20pm

Marketing, Fundraising, and First-party data – governance questions and the policies to have in place

In this session we will explore some of the risk controls for boards to consider if your organisation’s marketing team uses 3rd party software, if you conduct regular digital marketing campaigns, or if you hold supporter or other contact data and regularly use it for communications.

Julie Lawrie Director, The Marketing Box

Seven Common Hiring Errors: Reducing Risk By Improved Selection Methods

Hiring mistakes are all too common in Christian organisations. And they are expensive, far more so than most people recognise. 

Financial costs are easy to calculate. But how much damage to your brand can the wrong person do? How about your reputation? Will your good people be inclined to leave?

Where would you be now if you had hired the right person the first time?

This presentation describes common problems that are inadvertently made. The description of each problem is followed by practical solutions. These are all designed to reduce your risk of hiring the wrong person.

Ken Byrne and Peter Corney Authors, “Hire Right, First Time: A Practical Guide for Staffing Christian Organisations”

How to be a Redemptive Organisation: Shifting from theory to reality

Too often our Christian faith and identity get pushed to the margins of our organisational life. However the Christian story, if properly integrated, has the potential to shape and transform everything from strategy to service design, people development and operations. Seed has 8 years of experience helping both individuals and organisations put the Christian story back at the heart of what they do. In this workshop we will unpack Seed’s Redemptive Design framework and explore a set of tools that will help you turn your desire to become a redemptive organisation into a reality. Find out how you can maximise your redemptive impact in the world, while aligning everything you do around your Christian identity and mission.

John Beckett CEO, Seed

Financial Reporting Update – The latest on Financial Reporting requirements for NFP’s – Now , Near and Future

This session with be an opportunity to hear the latest financial reporting changes, new obligations and what is on the horizon. We will discuss Related party reporting, Tier 3 and life after Special Purpose reporting , Sustainability Reporting and Service Performance reporting. We will focus on areas that management and boards should be discussing, as well as particular actions that can be taken now.

We will the things you need to know about proposed changes to financial reporting for charities and when they will apply. This session will suitable for management responsible for the finances and board members seeking an overview of the key issues.

Jeff Tulk and Peter Shields  Saward Dawson

Increase your Impact with AI 

Your ministry has a bold God-given mission. And your impact is influenced by your daily disciplines, as well as innovative future thinking.

While the landscape for donor funded ministries will be ever-changing, you can increase your effectiveness by combining current best practice with the “AI future” to stay on the cutting edge of donor engagement.

 Tailored for CEOs, managers, and thought leaders, this session will explore the current context of fundraising – drawing from our latest 2024 Donor Confidence research – while emphasising the opportunities AI presents for your ministry to have an even greater impact. 

Amanda McSeveny and David Hutt Dunham+Company

Impact Measurement and Evaluation

This session will focus on the strategic essentials of Impact Measurement and Evaluation, why it’s important, and some of the common frameworks or tools that impact professionals use. Through case studies, attendees will learn how to align their work with their mission and vision, ensuring their efforts lead to tangible, beneficial (and measurable!) outcomes for both their stakeholders and the communities they serve.

Nicola Gibbs Director, Pluri

Tuesday 28th May 2.30 – 3.25pm

Overcoming Multiple Accountabilities Disorder 

Charities of all types are faced with multiple stakeholders. As a pastor once told me, “churches are all about God and people … and you never have much trouble with God”.   These stakeholder groups are all interested in, or affected by, different aspects of operations. Whether that be how resources are used, how well services are delivered, or how the organisation is governed. It is my view that charities, especially faith based charities, need to be better governed than for profit charities, specifically because of these multiple stakeholders, and multiple bottom lines. Attending to all of these disparate calls for accountability though, creates challenges for a board and staff, or what can be termed multiple accountabilities disorder.  This session will present a comprehensive accountability framework which is robust, and yet simple enough to be deployed in any organisation. This framework has proved effective in multiple research projects, involving numerous types of Third Sector organisations. 

Craig Furneaux Associate Professor, Leader of the Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies

Recent and proposed changes in religious discrimination and conversion practices laws

An update on discrimination and change and suppression laws, with a particular emphasis on recent changes to conversion practices legislation in New South Wales, a proposed update to Queensland discrimination law and the recent Australian Law Reform Commission Report on discrimination in religious schools. Understand the shifting landscape and how it might impact your employment practices and ministry activities.

Rebecca Lambert-Smith and Skye Rose Moores

Getting Well Together – Reinventing EAP & Workplace Wellbeing in Christian Ministry

This innovative session delves into the unique opportunities and challenges faced by Christian ministries and workplaces today.

Nicholas will explore a ‘new wine skin’ in Workplace Wellbeing using the lens of John Chapter 5 and the Psychosocial Hazard Legislation

What You’ll Gain:

  • Holistic Integration: Learn about an integrated approach to Workplace Wellbeing, grounded in biblical principles and spiritual formation.
  • Legislative Compliance: Navigate the complexities and opportunities of Psychosocial Hazard legislation with clear, actionable steps to ensure your organisation is healthy and compliant.
  • Practical tools and insights: Get equipped with practical tools, strategies and systems to foster Workplace Wellbeing initiatives that align with your mission and values.

Nicholas Marks CEO, aifc – abound

Intellectual Property fundamentals.

Tim will discuss the importance of pre-emptively implementing an organisational IP strategy consistent with charitable purposes. He will describe the importance of understanding what IP is and isn’t, who owns it, how to ensure the IP is appropriately protected and ensuring responsible persons abide by their due care and diligence obligations in its management. 

Tim Whincop Director, Corney & Lind Lawyers

Winning grants: A strategy for success

Grant writing can often feel overwhelming, especially without a clear strategy and roadmap. In this session, Ruth will demystify the process by highlighting how to think about your proposal through the lens of potential funder and how to feel empowering and confident when writing your next grant application. You will also hear about the critical data that improves applications and the importance of good storytelling.

Ruth Knight Facilitator and Evaluator, Forum Design

Navigating the CRM Landscape: A Faith-Driven Approach to Enhancing Customer Relationships

Drawing on experience with business, church and non-profits, Rob will go through how relationships can be enhanced through a responsive approach and genuine engagements with clients, donors and givers.

We explore the process of what positive engagement can look like in a modern CRM with examples of Donor Journeys and responsive engagement leading to positive outcomes.

Learn what key considerations should be made in selecting a CRM that suits your organisation, illustrated by considering real-life examples from both faith-based and business organisations.

Rob van der End CEO, Heartburst Digital

Tuesday 28th May 4.00 – 5.00pm

What is relational governance and why should I care? 

Mission drift often feels like a lurking trap that Christian ministry leaders mention in hushed tones. This fear can stifle learning, innovation and healthy flexibility. 

This session explores the principles of relational governance that empower confident pursuit of shared purpose in a complex and shifting culture. We invite participants’ input to move beyond risk and compliance to grounding all ministry governance in an assured sense of identity and a priority of unity. 

Mal Cooke and Heidi Rawson Neometric

Closing the loopholes in your workplace: meeting changes to your workplace in 2024 and beyond.

This session will explore recent changes to the employment landscape and how to manage them within your workplace, including:

1. Changes to fixed term contracts;
2. Changes to casual employment;
3. New powers to the Ombudsman to deal with underpayments;
4. New protections for employees under the Fair Work Act
5. The new positive duty to eliminate sexual harassment in the workplace.

Adam Foster Partner, Colin Biggers & Paisley

How to lead when everyone’s exhausted

Join us for a session addressing challenges faced by leaders amidst widespread fatigue. Drawing insights from Harvard Business Review’s Special Issue, “How to Lead When Everyone’s Exhausted,” we’ll explore effective strategies for guiding ourselves, teams, and organisations through this demanding season in Australian leadership culture.

Kylie Butler Acting Executive Director, Arrow Leadership Australia

Leading while kneeling

‘Leading while kneeling’ is a refreshing reminder of the privilege we have of being humble before God as we live and work and lead.

We take a look back at Moses, a reluctant leader and ‘a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth’ (Numbers 12:3), and we draw helpful insights to help us live well and lead well under God.

John Reed Chairperson, LPC Australia

Your Pathway to Gifts-in-Wills Fundraising

What leads people to make the most significant gift of their life? Fundraising at its best helps people to live out their values. Leaving a gift in one’s will is a powerful way to continue giving generously for what matters most.

Who are those people likely to make that ultimate gift to your organisation? How do you find them? How do you nurture that opportunity? What happens if you don’t? This interactive and informative workshop looks at three steps for you to start, sustain or accelerate your gifts-in-wills program now.

Sharyn Tidswell Founder / Fundraiser, Opal Fundraising

How thought leadership works to strengthen your brand

As Christians we often err on the side of humility and avoid the spotlight but now is the time for credible Christian voices to speak into the issues that matter in our culture.

The good news is that a thought leadership approach to content creation not only educates your target audience, by providing valuable insights to them, it also positions you or your brand as the expert and industry leader.

Find out more about how thought leadership can transform your branding in this specially curated session by PR and communications experts, Jersey Road PR.

Andrew Marsh Regional Director, Jersey Road PR

Wednesday 29th May 11.20am – 12.15pm

Accountability and the Virtues in Governance Models

Corporate governance in Australian is dominated by principal-agent models from economics. Such an approach neglects the role of the virtues, especially the virtue of accountability. This workshop will equip directors and senior managers of Christian organisations understand governance models theologically and enrich governance in their organisation by paying attention to dimensions of governance neglected by economic models. In the end, giving an account to God matters most, as the Psalmist writes: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom”.

Paul Oslington Professor of Economics and Theology, Alphacrucis University College

Beyond your logo: The power of brand to maximise impact

Are you looking to maximise the impact of your organisation? 

Have a pen at the ready and welcome Brand Strategist, Chelsea Beech to open your eyes to the power of brand. 

In this session, Chelsea will walk you through a simple but deeply effective 5-step strategy for ensuring your brand is able to engage the hearts and minds of your audience.

By the end of the session you’ll have a clear focus to broaden awareness, deepen engagement and maximise your impact.

Chelsea Beech Founder and Managing Director, BEECH Agency

Stop the Tsunami? Or Start Paddling?

As he was promoted to National Director in January 2024, Geoff was also presented with an incredible ministry opportunity. In this seminar, Geoff will walk through some of the organisational challenges he faces as a new CEO in addition to positioning the organisation to make the most of the new Jesus Film being launched in Christmas 2025.

Geoff Folland National Director, Power to Change

Tax concessions: compliance risks and opportunities Meeting your obligations, utilising concessions and managing your risks.

Policy changes, regulator focus areas, new requirements, areas of risk and new opportunities. Not-for-profit organisations need to adapt in an ever changing compliance environment. We will consider changes and common issues with income tax concessions, deductible gift recipient status, GST, FBT and State taxes.

We will cover several issues that will require management consideration and communication to governance and a number of recent FBT developments that may represent new opportunities/risks for charitable organisations.

All organisations need understand the concessions they are utilising and we will consider the critical elements (including risks) that board and management must be aware of.

This session will suitable for management responsible for the finances and board members seeking an overview of the key issues.

Cathy Braun Tax Consulting Partner, Saward Dawson, and Murray Nicholls Remuneration and FBT specialist, Business Advisory Director, Saward Dawson

Creative, Congenial Campaigns

High End Fundraising (including Capital Campaigns, Major Gifts and Bequests) can provide an exciting opportunity for you and your organisation to work together with cohesion, enthusiasm and professionalism or it can be your worst nightmare. There are some fundamental principles which will lead to a successful experience and would be discounted at your peril. However there are others which are flexible and may be used with discretion to suit your community and the style of campaign you desire. There are more ways to skin a cat as the old proverb says. We have often stuck for too long in ruts of “how to” and “this is tried and true” or “this is how we’ve always done it”. Let’s explore some new and exciting ways to achieve outcomes that work for you and especially for your donors and stakeholders. Taking examples from many organisations and appeals on which I have worked over recent years, let’s explore pathways to Creative and Congenial Campaigns!

Alicia Watson OAM Director, What’sOn Consulting

Redemptive Entrepreneurship – An introduction to the Redemptive Frame

The overall goals for this session are for participants to connect meaningfully with one another, explore the core ideas of redemptive entrepreneurship, and leave inspired with the possibilities for redemptive action in their own life and work. We also hope many will resonate deeply and have a clear next step to take toward the Redemptive idea.

Robert Palma and Joel Plotnek

Wednesday 29th May 1.00 – 1.55pm

Governance and mergers: Two shall become one… or should they?

There are more than 60,000 registered charities and non-profits in Australia. 1 for every 430 Australians! 15,000 of these faith-based organisations. A recent AICD study indicates as many as 1 in 5 are actively discussing a merger in the next 12 months.  Is going it alone OR joining forces better for growing mission impact?

Join leaders from Prolegis, Mission Imperative and You Who as we explore the governance, legal and identity questions and challenges of navigating mergers. Practical answers, case studies and discussion to provoke your leadership.

Ben Wallis YouWho (panel host), panel members Jon Cheung, Tina Lee Prolegis Lawyers and Melissa Bugge and Rachel Nicolls Mission Imperative 

Christian-focused mediation as a means for resolving workplace conflict

Fran will outline what Christian-focused mediation looks like in practice and will facilitate discussion as to how connectivity, reflection, personal responsibility, faith and hope leads to transformative relief for participants and organisations engaging in these processes.

Fran Keyes Practice Leader, Discrimination and Employment, Corney & Lind Lawyers

Blessed be the Awkard: Handling hard conversations with Grace (and a little humour)

This unique session focuses on Christian executive leaders who struggle with difficult conversations. When left unaddressed, people problems can turn into ministry disasters and HR nightmares. This session will cover benevolent gaslighting, redundancies, and how to handle difficult situations when you hire the wrong person, with grace and compassion. Learn how to turn awkward conversations into growth opportunities, learn from Christian leadership mistakes, and lead effectively in difficult times. Take this chance to connect with other Christian executive leaders facing similar challenges. Join us now to learn how to handle difficult conversations with humour and humility.

Karen McComiskey CEO, For Purpose Leadership

Strategic challenges and risks for faith organisations

This session will look at Faith-based property governance and stewardship matters, OHS, and the latest updates in safeguarding children and vulnerable people. It will also touch on a refresher on camps, volunteering and op-shops, and provide a link through to a treasure-trove of free tools developed by Ansvar to help navigate the challenges and risks faced by faith-based organisations. 

Stephen Ratcliffe and David Cole Ansvar Insurance

Funding through for-profit activities

With shifting trends in giving and uncertainty around funding sources, charities may consider engaging in for-profit activities to enable them to continue providing their services. Charities that commercialise may be rewarded with a stable source of funding and a greater number of options to achieve their objects. However, charities that commercialise must be aware of the risks of commercialisation, including the risk of losing their charitable status – making them ineligible for various tax concessions/exemptions and DGR endorsement, if they do not approach commercialisation with careful planning and caution. 

In particular, this session will address how for-profit activities may be considered charitable, the current regulatory approach to charities undertaking commercial activities, the role of governance documents in supporting commercial activities and whether separate legal structuring is necessary before undertaking such commercial activities.

Vera Visevic and Jonathan Green Mills Oakley

Finding Outrageous Problems – Becoming Problem Finders, Not Problem Solvers

Is your business or organisation facing challenges that feel too complex to solve? Perhaps you need a different approach to problem solving – one that finds outrageous problems instead.

Outrageous problems are problems that really matter today – because they have the biggest impact on humanity. When we find our outrageous problems, we can innovate and design solutions that will have the most meaningful change.

In this highly interactive session, you will discover practical strategies to challenge assumptions, cultivate a culture of ‘problem finders’, and ignite empathy and curiosity to uncover the real issues so you can develop innovative solutions you never thought possible.

Candice Hung and Mabel Luk Lucid Leadership

Wednesday 29th May 2.05 – 3.00pm

Ethics Masterclass: Developing Ethical Frameworks for Decision Making at a Governance Level

Is the pace of change on social issues leaving you in a tailspin? The demands of meeting professional ethics; complying with changing legislation; improving practice; and engaging with our communities, can leave us in a tangle. To unravel the threads and weave them into something meaningful we need a framework for our thinking. A process for thinking about our thinking, for creating ethical decision making processes, and for applying and evaluating them. Ethical Frameworks and Case Studies included in this session.

Marg Perry Philanthropy and Partnerships – Payton Foundation. Chair – CityLife Church

Tackling challenging behaviours in the Christian Workplace

When it comes to dealing with employee misconduct, Christian employers rarely have an issue with showing mercy and forgiveness. But they sometimes shy away from enforcing standards for employee behaviour altogether, to the detriment of the organisation and its God-given calling.

In this seminar, senior workplace lawyer Natasha Sim will give you an overview of your key legal duties when it comes to dealing with employee behaviour. She will also give you practical guidance on how your organisation can comply with those duties, including in the context of regulating working from home/flexible work arrangements, employee out-of-hours conduct, ill and injured workers, and addressing breaches of behavioural expectations. 

This seminar will give you an understanding of how enforcing clear standards for staff conduct not only ensures compliance with the law, but can also play a part in redeeming the culture within your organisation.

Natasha Sim, Turks Legal

Trauma informed leadership: Why your organisation needs it.

You may of heard of trauma informed care and already be using this approach when working with clients or customers. But are you also using trauma informed principles to improve your leadership and organisational culture? In this session you will learn how the principles of being trauma informed enables you to lead in a compassionate inclusive manner, that empowers those you lead. Ruth will provide an overview of the key principles of trauma-informed leadership and some practical ways to develop a culture that helps improve and protect staff and organisational health and wellbeing.

Ruth Knight Facilitator and Evaluator, Forum Design

Analysing the implications of the ACNC’s changing position on faith-based public benevolent institutions

The ACNC Commissioner has released the long-awaited second version of the Interpretive Statement on Public Benevolent Institutions. How can organisations comply and prove compliance with the new statement, including by demonstrating their benevolent “characteristic and predominant purpose and activity”? Does the reviewed statement expand or place limitations on the operations of faith-based PBIs? What is its impact for faith-based PBIs seeking to maintain their religious ethos? Separately, will it expand the deductible activities that churches may perform? Does it expand access to the fringe benefits tax religious practitioners exemption? When can PBIs undertake preventative relief or collaborate with other bodies?

Mark Fowler Principal, Fowler Charity Law

How churches and ministry organisations can help Australians find joy and excitement in generosity

Many Australian churches and ministry/mission organisations are currently under significant financial pressures that are limiting their ability to carry out their missions. This elective won’t give you quick fundraising strategies to solve these problems, but it will be a space for thinking bigger about changing peoples’ attitudes and hearts towards generosity. The elective will include:

  • Biblical principles on generosity
  • Stories of people finding joy and delight in giving
  • A look at the Journey of Generosity course and case studies of how churches and ministry organisations around the world are using it with their staff, Boards and members/supporters and seeing Christians flip the switch from “ought to” to “get to” in their giving.
  • A discussion about how CMA members could be working together to grow the generosity movement among Australian Christians

‘Generosity is the ultimate idea worth spreading’ (Chris Anderson, head of TED)

Martine Wilson Interim Regional Director Oceania, Generosity Path

A Time to be Born and a Time to Die

In the dynamic modern landscape, risk management stands as a pillar of strategic foresight and resilience. This elective session offers a unique perspective on risk management, drawing inspiration from the timeless wisdom found from Ecclesiastes Chapter 3. Within the realm of every organisation, there is a time for everything … including the lifecycle of products, projects, industries, donors, relationships and even entire organisations. By examining this concept through a risk management lens, participants will gain valuable insights into mitigating uncertainties and maximising opportunities throughout various stages of corporate life.

Neil Bull CEO, AIRS (Anglican Insurance and Risk Services)

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