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The 3am Inspiration Behind a New Program for the Social Sector

Friday the 13th of March. The Grand Prix in Melbourne was cancelled. Remember that? It felt like a green light for a surreal new world to emerge. You could almost hear the wave of pain that was about to hit. Each night, I’d wake up mortified by the impending domino effect of all face-to-face interaction in our sector being slowly, but inevitably swallowed up. The devastation on a sector that relies on human interaction – be it fundraising dinners, case workers checking in on families, country halls filled with community groups.

Then I felt the second wave hit, what I call the further divide of “have’s” and “have nots” in our sector?– those who can and can’t afford or access support and advice in times of change. Who would get help, and who wouldn’t? Who would be left to suffer in silence? Beyond JobSeeker payments, extra grants, plugging leaking holes – where else would changemakers go to for advice and support? And then a third wave realisation – but what about all the hope and inspiration – how will that be shared, captured and told so we can recalibrate and reinvent ourselves, somehow, together.

RESET 2020 Collaboration Emerges  

Those 3 am moments were the start of building RESET 2020, which we hope you have heard about, and if not – please read on and come join in.

RESET 2020 is our collective and collaborative response – a research study that will set a baseline and track the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 and organisational needs, and a free program of live support and advice, with inspiring case studies starting next week. The free/live support and advice is from our community of subject matter specialists – pre-vetted experienced operators across hundreds of areas of specialisation.

It is exactly why the Collective was created and what we’re set up to do, and why we have partnered with Equity Trustees to make it accessible for all. Equity Trustees is supporting RESET 2020 through their Sector Capacity Building Fund – one of few grantmakers who are able to fund this activity through our trading company. (More on that later)

From there, a domino effect of collaboration erupted. Philanthropy Australia, ACNC, Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal, Fundraising Institute Australia, Australian Community Philanthropy, Pro Bono Australia, Social Change Central, Non-Profit Alliance and many other sector leaders and grantmakers jumped onboard as outreach partners. RESET 2020 continues to grow new outreach partners and supporters every day, and we invite you to be an outreach partner too.

By mid-late June, we will have a virtual Roundtable for all outreach partners to come look at the research findings. The research results from this baseline understanding and further tracking over the coming 12 months will be freely available for outreach partners to access – what other interventions do we need? Please come join in so we can keep you updated.

Yes, But Who is The Xfactor Collective Exactly?

The Collective is an impact enterprise where we are building and investing in the infrastructure to support both the ‘sharing of’ and ‘access to’ knowledge, advice and support.

Our sole mission is to improve the wellbeing of social changemakers, many of whom are burnt out, which is not acceptable to us given our reliance on their unrelenting commitment (the ‘xfactor) to making the world a fairer and more equitable place.

The Collective was launched in 2018 with an 18-week free/live broadcast where we answered 100 questions and recorded/packaged them to create the start of a sector-first video library. These and other initiatives – like our Concierge Service, custom-built Platform and networking program for specialist consultants and businesses – are all part of our efforts to resolve the equity gap in access to knowledge, support and advice. We are currently becoming a Dual Entity Social Enterprise, with our Foundation being able to carry forward the programming and research with partners, including a wellbeing index starting from RESET 2020.

Coming Together To Help the Sector RESET 

If ever there was a time when the social sector needs easy access to advice and support, and to a supportive community, it is now. The COVID-19 pandemic came quickly on top of devastating bushfires up and down the country.

The live support and advice will be delivered through bi-weekly live and interactive Q&A sessions starting next week, featuring subject matter specialists offering practical, relevant support and sharing insights and inspiring case studies. We’ll record the sessions and share the recordings for those unable to attend. The topics will tap into specialist knowledge across fundraising, governance, partnerships, change management, communications, technology and more, and the programming will be informed by the National Impact+Need Research Study.

The research study was designed with two objectives in mind. Firstly, to understand the immediate impacts of COVID-19 on the for-purpose sector and its leaders and change-makers. Secondly, to allow the tracking and monitoring of sentiment over time. In this way, we are investing in a valuable tool that can be used to continue to monitor the health, wellbeing, productivity and outcomes. A full set of FAQs about the research, the research specialist team, survey program security can be found here.

How You Can Get Involved 

We would greatly appreciate everyone in the sector sharing RESET 2020, and in particular the Survey, across your networks, to ensure that we have a truly comprehensive view of the impact of COVID-19. This will ensure we are providing the support that the sector needs – right now, and during what will be a long recovery.

Here’s how to help:

Finally, if you are interested in collaborating with us further, we’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to email me directly at

Julia Keady is the founder and chief cheerleader of The Xfactor Collective community. She is also a changemaker coach, writer, speaker and MC.
louise unwin

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