Frequently Asked Questions
Should I engage a consultant?
Whether you are developing a strategic, business or marketing plan, conducting a training review, planning your information and communications technology needs or designing a community facility - engaging a consultant may help in the following circumstances:
- If you need expert advice
- When you don't have enough people to do the work
- If attempts to do something internally haven't worked
- To help move past internal differences of opinion
- When you need a fresh view
- To challenge your organisation’s culture and assumptions
Choose a consultant who is recommended by others and has a proven track record in providing relevant, high quality advice. They should also have the ability to offer fresh ideas and someone who understands your organisation, its work and values so that they may add value by sharing and building skills with your staff.
We can help with the cost of engaging a consultant, for details please refer to our organisational development grants. You may also want to explore options for pro bono (free) or discounted consultancy support.
We’ve developed a to help you look for consultancy support to suit your project. The Lotterywest Directory of Consultants provides details of consultants, together with referees, who’ve provided services to other community organisations and/or local government authorities in a range of areas.
The inclusion of a consultant in the Directory is not an endorsement of their work by Lotterywest. It is up to you to do your own research to decide whether a consultant is suitable for your project. You do not need to use the services of one of these consultants for your project to be supported. We welcome your feedback to help us keep the Directory current and useful.
Other helpful tips:
- Don’t hire a consultant to justify a decision that has already been made
- Make sure everyone in your organisation understands what the consultant is doing and what will be provided
- Provide a clear written brief to the consultant before engaging them outlining what you want done and why
- Make sure you agree what you want the consultant to deliver, together with a defined timeframe
- Check the contract before you sign and engage the consultant
- Be prepared to modify the contract if circumstances change
- Use the contract as a reference point to make sure you receive what you have agreed before making a final payment
Common Use Agreements (CUAs) are whole-of-government standing offers. They are awarded to a single or panel of suppliers to provide goods or services commonly used by government agencies. Western Australian public authorities, other government entities, local government authorities and registered Public Benevolent Institutions can buy from CUA suppliers. Your organisation may be in a position to benefit from CUA arrangements. Find out more at Contracts WA.
The Connecting Up Suppliers Directory connects Not-For-Profit organisations with IT providers. Visit Connecting Up for more information.
How do I create successful partnerships?
Partnerships between organisations can deliver improved outcomes from streamlining administrative tasks and shared workspaces to working together to deliver a community project.
We often achieve more when we work with others. Many organisations say that their best partnerships have created opportunities and results never imagined when they started working together. The information below shares ideas to help you create successful partnerships.
There are many forms of partnership. For the purpose of this section, we are referring to a relationship which endures for a period ranging from a few months to several years.
Partnerships often develop between community organisations in the same sector working together to deliver better services, share facilities or combine administration functions.
Community-business partnerships develop when a community organisation works with private business to raise funds, build capacity, share work spaces, increase opportunities, improve outcomes or achieve other goals. Community organisations can also form partnerships with public sector agencies. This is most common at local government level however they are also developed at State or Federal level.
Good partnerships often have:
- Support by the leadership of both partners
- Mutual understanding and respect
- Alignment of organisational values and culture
- Careful and thorough planning
- Well understood objectives for all parties and the partnership, as well as the resources required
- Clear, open and regular communication throughout the partnership
- Clarity on roles, responsibilities, goals and boundaries as well as criteria for success and how each party will exit the partnership when the time comes
- Commitment and honesty
- Shared responsibilities, contributions and benefits
Other helpful tips:
- Don’t rush the beginning stage – take time getting to know each other
- Start small. Tackle manageable objectives together first before taking on bigger ones
- Build ownership of the partnership across all levels of organisations
- Each partner should agree on issues such as requirements and responsibilities for risk and insurance
- Decide who will communicate with the media
- Be willing to learn and adapt as the partnership develops
- Make time to communicate regularly
- Look out for ways to add value to the partnership
- Remember that business, government and community sectors can have different cultures relating to time and priorities
- Express appreciation and communicate benefits
How do I effectively manage my assets?
Asset management can help organisations effectively manage items such as equipment, vehicles and buildings, ensuring they are used and maintained correctly. The managing assets resource kit is full of ideas and tips for successfully managing assets, including:
- Basic questions to ask
- Managing asset registers
- Managing vehicles
- Managing buildings and facilities
- Managing insurance
There are many ways to manage assets and we are not the experts. Whilst this resource may help you to get started, please use whatever approach works for your organisation.
If you are applying for a grant towards the purchase or creation of an asset, you may need to show how you will manage this asset. Even if this isn’t needed for a grant request, deciding how you will manage your asset is important. We can also help you with the cost of organisational development activities such as asset management training. For further details please refer to our organisational Development grants.
How do I plan well to meet my objectives?
Planning can help organisations mitigate risk and take advantage of arising opportunities. Whether developing a computer system, event, or project, planning will help to identify issues so you can mitigate risk and take advantage of opportunities that arise. The Planning Resource Kit contains tips to help with strategic, business and project planning. It also offers suggestions about planning approaches, such as what is involved in undertaking a needs analysis or a feasibility study. There are ideas for your consideration on each of the following topics:
- Needs analysis
- Feasibility studies
- Strategic plans
- Business plans
- Project plans
- Planning summary
Ultimately good planning provides an integrated and unified way to deliver your business objectives. It’s important to document strategies you’re planning to use to help achieve your outcomes. You’ll also need to identify an ongoing method to evaluate and monitor your progress. To keep your eye on the ‘big picture’, an effective way of reporting is essential. Reporting will allow you to review your progress and ensure a considered approach to decision making.
Many organisations will already have sound planning processes in place and won’t need this resource. It is offered as a tool to help those getting started. There are many models and approaches to planning and we don’t assume to know what is best for your organisation. Please use whatever approach works for your organisation.
When considering a request for a grant e.g. towards a complex project, we need to be confident that it has been planned appropriately. While you may not be required to submit your organisational or strategic plan to receive a grant, the planning processes of defining and responding to problems, consultation and analysis are intrinsically valuable to your organisation.
What other funding or finance sources may be available?
- Other support may come from a range of sources including government, agencies, philanthropists, corporates, local governments, crowd funding, financing arrangements and your own fundraising activities with individuals and the community.
- The Department of Local Government has developed an online grants directory to help communities and local governments in regional and metropolitan Western Australia in locating sources of financial assistance for their projects and initiatives.
- It may be appropriate to seek a loan or leasing arrangement to help meet some of the costs of your project. Banks and other financial institutions will often support not-for-profit organisations with financing solutions for capital items such as buildings, information technology or vehicles. You may want to talk to your own bank first to discuss what financing options might be available to your organisation and then see what other options may exist from other providers.