Blog

News, information and insights for associations, boards and committees. 

  • 18 Jan 2018 2:28 PM | ONZL Team (Administrator)

    We are seeking someone with minute-taking experience to join our small, friendly Auckland team.

    ONZL is a professional services organisation with offices in Auckland and Wellington. Our team of enthusiastic, friendly and committed staff provide business support services to professional industry groups, private Boards and Government department committees.

    The role of the Secretariat is to support allocated clients in the successful delivery of organisational goals, industry projects, events and other business outputs. You will be working across a range of clients and projects simultaneously.

    You will have regular clients who need minutes and action registers for their monthly, quarterly or ad hoc meetings. You will attend the meetings at client offices (across Auckland), Monday-Friday with the occasional Saturday, with the flexibility to do the rest of the work from home.

    For other clients you will assist with arranging the meeting and taking care of logistics, including preparation of meeting papers and correspondence.

    If you like to work with people, are great at taking clear minutes (and enjoy it too), and are open to working flexible hours across the day/early evening, then this could be the perfect role for you.

    This is a 12-month contract working an average of 10 hours per week.

    Key Responsibilities

    • Ensure quality of service delivery by the ONZL team for allocated clients
    • Co-ordinate, prepare and circulate meeting papers for meetings
    • Organise and attend meetings (in person or via audio conference) and take minutes and action points
    • Co-ordinate and record voting on decisions and issues
    • Provide information for the meeting e.g. reports, clarification of issues discussed or decisions taken in previous meetings
    • Arrange travel and accommodation

    To be successful in this role you will have:

    • At least three years’ experience in a similar role
    • Proven document editing/proofing experience
    • Experience in the drafting of agendas, minutes and progress reports
    • Experience working with people from different cultures, backgrounds and experience
    • Good organisational skills
    • A clear and confident communication style
    • Excellent working knowledge of Microsoft Word and Outlook.
    • A full drivers licence and own vehicle

    The ideal candidate is someone able to work flexible hours with:

    • Highly effective oral and written communication skills
    • Attention to detail
    • Ability to multitask and to work to deadlines
    • Strong relationship building skills
    • Initiative
    • Integrity and professionalism
    • Problem solving abilities
    Applications for this role can be made via SEEK here.


  • 10 Jan 2018 2:24 PM | ONZL Team (Administrator)

    Strategic reviews don't need to be a long, complicated process.  Member led organisations can benefit greatly from clarifying their purpose and overall plans.  However, it can be difficult to know when a review of your professional body or association is best timed.  Consider, if your organisation has recently experienced any of these pivotal trigger points?

    1. Declining membershipFor whatever reason, if your membership is diminishing, it is essential to re-position your organisation to stay relevant.
    2. Lack of member engagementEngagement can include event attendance, volunteering, renewals, website statistics, social media, newsletter open and click through rates.  If engagement is waning, an effective plan is required.  Ensure you have measurable engagement goals to track progress.
    3. Difficulty in securing funding.  If funding stress or a significant funded programme has reached its completion, reviewing is critical. 
    4. Changes to governance, management or business structureA new board, chair or c-level executive offers a timely opportunity for review.
    5. Changing needs of your membershipAll organisations evolve over time in response to the needs of their membership.  For example, has your industry recently experienced regulatory or technology changes?  A strategic review will realign members to its association.

    If your association has recently experienced any of these triggers, a strategic review is essential to thrive.  Through planning, refreshing your association's approach will bring numerous benefits and opportunities.  Once your purpose has been clarified, your organisation will be well positioned to move forward, setting and working toward new goals.  

    A strategic review will also strengthen your team, with a less reactive approach to decision making and improved member engagement.  Ultimately, your member value proposition will be enhanced and your key messages will be better positioned to reach your members.

    If you would like help facilitating a strategic review, please contact the ONZL team.


  • 11 Jan 2017 10:50 AM | ONZL Team (Administrator)

    'Engagement' is more than a management buzzword, it is a critical activity for membership associations.  Not-for-profit associations exist primarily for their members, so keeping them truly engaged is vital for survival.  Every interaction by phone, in person or online is an opportunity to truly connect with members.  Each website visit, email newsletter, tweet, online post and click-through is engagement.  Maximising these touch points keeps members informed about what their association is doing and is an important step towards retention.  The most successful associations develop member engagement strategies to meet their specific goals and objectives. 

    Depending on the membership there are several ways to leverage engagement.  A professional, mobile responsive, easy to navigate website remains the foundation of an online identity.  This is where members and potential members go for general information, so ensure it is relevant, useful and easy to use.   As a living document, websites serve well as a hub for member resources, event registrations, professional development, research and activity updates.  Also include FAQ's, content that can be easily shared and strong SEO. 

    Develop fresh online content to encourage return website visits and create an editorial calendar to manage regular postings.  Target content by channel, audience and work stream, offering members both what they want and need.  When new content is available, alert your membership through your newsletter, email, social media and video.  Tap into your memberships communication preferences.  Not everyone wants to receive information the same way so customise your approach wherever possible.  Some members prefer newsletters, others like to attend events or use social media.  Regardless, always find ways to leverage and cross promote new online content to keep members actively involved. 

    Authentic engagement isn't a one way flow of information, it is a dialogue.  Encourage a two-way conversation through blogs, online surveys and social media like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.  Ultimately, use social media to draw members to your website where you can demonstrate member value.  Ask questions and listen to member's comments, then align member engagement initiatives with association objectives.  Always aim to be relevant and connect well with your membership for a genuine, long lasting relationship.

    Contact us to learn about the member management services we provide for industry associations and not-for-profits.

  • 01 Jun 2016 9:36 AM | ONZL Team (Administrator)

    The Incorporated Societies Act 1908 guides many New Zealanders who volunteer to run not-for-profit organisations and associations.  The Act is now more than 100 years and the Government has agreed to implement modern legislation that will help guide the sector into the future.

    According to recent information from MBIE, there are over 23,700 incorporated societies in New Zealand.  Of these, 45% promote culture, sport and recreation.  The remaining 55% promote a range of community activities including education, health, social services, environment, economic and social development, law and advocacy, philanthropy, religion, business and professional associations.

    An incorporated society is a separate legal entity that operates not-for-profit.   Incorporation means that a society can enter into contracts and hold assets in its own name.  Members of the society are not personally responsible for any liability that the society incurs and the society can continue unaffected by changes in membership or office holders.

    The Law Commission completed a review of the Act in 2013. They recommended it be replaced with a new Act and have proposed a number of changes. 

    The Principle of societies would be largely unchanged, they:

    1. Are organisations with members who have the primary responsibility for holding the society to account.
    2. Are private bodies that should be self-governing and free from unnecessary statutory interference.
    3. Should not distribute profits or financial benefits to their members.

    The proposed changes to the Act primarily relate to:

    • A lack of clarity about officers obligations (where officers are essentially defined as the Board members)
    • No framework for the management of disputes
    • A lack of guidance on:
    • The consequences of the organisation acting outside of its capacities or powers
    • The rights of members to access the societies records
    • What happens to surplus assets in the event of the society winding up, and
    • How any disputes are managed.
  • 02 May 2016 11:11 AM | ONZL Team (Administrator)

    The people sitting around the table at your Board meetings are a valuable resource so it's crucial your meetings are managed effectively. Use your board meetings to drive your organisation forward and maximise value for your members.

    Our 5 top tips for running effective board meetings:

    1. Schedule meetings well in advance so all Board members have the opportunity to attend. A regular date and time slot works best for most.
    2. Be clear on the purpose of the meeting by preparing a detailed agenda. Balance regular agenda items with topical items to keep the meeting energised. Include supporting papers in board meeting packs so it is clear what outcomes and decisions are required.
    3. Distribute meeting papers at least five days in advance so that the board has the opportunity read and prepare before the meeting itself. At the meeting, assume that all supporting papers have been read, this avoids the writer having to detail the paper in its entirety. A summary should suffice.
    4. Be punctual by starting and ending the meeting on time. This will give the meeting a sense of urgency to stay on task.
    5. During the meeting, adhere strictly to the agenda, adding new topics to 'other business' to be revisited. For agenda items, focus on actions and outcomes so worthwhile progress is made.


  • 05 Apr 2016 10:13 AM | ONZL Team (Administrator)

    All organisations, public or private are constrained by resourcing. This means most organisations are constantly prioritising issues which often results in hasty, short term resourcing decisions.

    Just like any other business, industry associations need the same range of skills and resources. The problem however is that they often require small amounts of a wide range of skills, on an ad hoc basis. For this reason, it's simply not cost effective for associations to hire a raft of part time staff or invest in a full office infrastructure.

    Relying on an individual means you have no cover in the event they are unwell or on leave, and when they leave, much of the organisations history leaves with them.

    This is where an embedded outsourcing model can help. Embedded outsourcing shares the costs and resources, leaving the hiring and management of resources to someone else while you focus on core functions. It also provides the organisation with resilience and longevity.

    Imagine having a team that can answer the phone as your organisation, as well as dealing with your members and stakeholders inquiries? Embedded outsourcing lets you delegate your work load, overcome seasonal workflow, control your operating costs and lower infrastructure investments.

    In short, you are engaging a dedicated team with the expertise you need, when you need it. Whether its Board secretariat services, membership management, finance or office support, embedded outsourcing is an attractive and viable alternative.

  • 07 Mar 2016 9:15 AM | ONZL Team (Administrator)

    Not-for-profit organisations often begin their financial year with a healthy budget and cash in the bank. Six months on though, finances often take a more prominent seat at the Board table as the state of membership renewals, targets and project budgets are monitored more closely.

    Knowing your total expected revenue and expenditure for the year allows you to recognise if your organisation is going to make a surplus or deficit in time for you to make any necessary changes. Forecasting doesn't need to be as onerous as it sounds, in fact it will help your organisation more than you can imagine.

    Here's our forecasting checkpoints:

    • Is the current trend of actual expenditure and income (including membership renewals) likely to continue?
    • How does your actual expenditure and income vary from the original budget?
    • Have there been large under or over spends that are likely to continue?
    • Have any projects been deferred?
    • Is there any new expenditure on the horizon which wasn’t anticipated when the budget was prepared?

    Forecasting cash flow is equally important and is essential for not-for-profit organisations that mostly operate on low reserves. Cash flow can be irregular depending on the timing of membership renewals, sponsorships and grants.

    When forecasting cash flow use these checkpoints:

    • What is your opening cash balance?
    • What are your expected inflows for the month?
    • What are your expected monthly out flows (including salaries, accounts payable and taxes)
    • Estimate conservatively. You may know when you are going to make payments but you need to estimate when other people will pay you too. It is not uncommon for organisations to pay at 60 days as a standard or even 90 days.

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