The hard work of Australia’s leading not-for-profit (NFP) treasurers was recognised last week at the annual CommBank Not-for-Profit Treasurer’s Awards.

Held in partnership with leading social enterprise Our Community, the awards recognise the important role treasurer’s play in managing the financial wellbeing of community organisations, with the four winner’s each receiving a $5,000 donation for their organisation.

This year, nominees were asked to reflect on the lessons they learnt throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and how they will take these learnings into the future.  

This year’s winners for each of the four categories are:

Winner of Community Service category: Kevin Matthews — Food Plant Solutions in Devonport, Tasmania

Mr Matthews learned that in order to grow Food Plant Solutions though the difficulties and challenges presented by Covid-19, the organisation had to go beyond its traditional support base when it came to raising funds and look to international contributors. Through expanding its network exponentially, Food Plant Solutions now has a number of exciting opportunities and collaborations in development.

Winner of Education category: David McIntyre — One Day Studios in Warrnambool, Victoria

Mr McIntyre said Covid-19 helped One Day Studios look at their organisation in a different way, requiring them to identify the organisation’s strengths and weakness. A strong focus on cash flow and recycling assets where possible, as well as identifying new avenues for growth, helped the One Day Studios get through the pandemic and come out as a stronger organisation.

Winner of Sports, Art and Culture category: Janelle Kennard — Gurdjieff Society of Australia in Canberra, ACT

Ms Kennard said organisation’s main lesson was the importance of asking for help. With less access to funding and not qualifying for government assistance, the society was able to lean on those around them to provide some relief.

Winner of Health category:  Melanie Khoo — Midland Women’s Health Care Place in Midland, WA.

Ms Khoo said the diverse range of strengths and skillsets of their board and CEO allowed them to emerge as an even stronger organisation. In particular, during the pandemic they progressed a merger with another women's refuge to enable even greater services to be provided to some of the most vulnerable in the community.

Commonwealth Bank’s Executive Manager of Not-for-Profit Sector Banking, Julienne Price said:

“The Not-for-Profit Treasurers' Awards highlight the determination and resilience of treasurers in supporting their organisations’ financial and operational activities throughout what was an extraordinarily difficult period.

“All four winners demonstrated exceptional resourcefulness and adaptability when it came to raising funds and leveraging the strengths of their NFP organisation, which in turn allowed the organisations to continue to support their community.

“Reflecting on and sharing the lessons learned amongst the not-for-profit community is important in setting similar organisations up for future success. A big congratulations to all the winners.” 

Our Community group managing director Denis Moriarty said the awards provide recognition for those who work hard behind the scenes. 

“The role of community sector treasurer is extremely difficult, and often receives a fraction of the praise that other roles on a community board do.

“Over the past few years, this job has become more important than ever, as treasurers battled against diminished funding streams to balance the books and keep their organisations open, and their missions alive.

“Our Community is so proud to acknowledge not just the four winners, but all treasurers involved in the awards and the wider sector.”

To further support the sector, CommBank currently has a range of free resources including the Damn Good Advice series as well as the Not-for-Profit balance sheet tool for directors and CEOs and a cyber-security and fraud prevention guide.

The winners were announced during Not-for-Profit Finance Week, 5-9 September 2022.