Non Profit Australia

Non Profit Australia Executive Mentoring Service providing support to Australia’s non-profit leaders

Orijen in partnership with Nonprofit Australia developed the Nonprofit Australia’s Executive Mentoring Service to enable nonprofit leaders and senior executives to access executive mentoring. The service was designed to support non- profit organisations by providing their executives with a mentor with extensive experience in business. Orijen sourced, selected and matched the non-profit leaders with some of Australia’s top executives and Executive Directors who openly shared their knowledge and experience over a period of 12 months.
Non-profit organisations represented included Red Cross NSW, the Ted Noffs Foundation, Musica Viva and Australian Business Arts Foundation, the Museum of Contemporary Art,. Mentors included current and past senior executives of some of Australia’s best known and well respected companies, including Deloitte, Ernst & Young, NAB, IBM, Hewlett Packard, Sunbeam, Dimension Data, LAN Systems and Zurich Financial Services.

A full list of not for profit organisations we have worked with includes:


Australian Red Cross NSW

Refugee Council of Australia

International Fund for Animal Welfare

Australian Business Arts Foundation

Musica Viva

Accessible Arts

St Vincent’s Clinic

Rural Health Education Foundation

The Humour Foundation (Clown Doctors)

Sisters of Charity Health Services

Peckys Disability Services

National Heart Foundation

Australian Museum


Sydney Symphony

Sisters of Charity

Noffs Foundation


Starlight Foundation


Mission Australia

Assistance Dogs Australia

The Shepherd Centre

Learning Links

North West Disability Services

Communicare Sydney

Bush Heritage

Museum of Contemporary Art


Aged Care & Services

Mary of the Cross Centre, Centacare

Australian Volunteers International


Odyssey House, VIC

National Stroke Foundation

Reach Out Southern Mental Health

Heart Foundation

Centre for Eye Research Australia and Department of Opthamology, University of Melbourne

MacKillop Family Services

The Australian Kidney Foundation trading as Kidney Health Australia  (KHA)

Glastonbury Child and Family Services

Beyondblue: the national depression initiative

Camp Quality


For further information on the benefits of the program, see below:

1. What are the significant benefits to the organisation, as a result of participation in the  mentoring program?

  • To have the opportunity to share with someone outside the organisation enables me to use my mentor as a sounding board which then enhances the decsions I make within the organisation.
  • My Board and the Senior Management Team here all want their own mentor, having judged it to be a powerful tool for change and transformation.
  • I believe I have improved my management and leadership skills which can only benefit the organisation.
  • My mentor stopped me walking out the door!
  • I believe that my newly found ‘zen’ approach to partnering with the business has solidified the HR credibility within the organisation.

2. What do you see as the most significant benefits to you as a result of participation in this program?

  • One of the biggest benefits for me was to be able to share with someone outside the organisation, my thoughts and challenges and receive feedback and advice.  I believe it is essential that leaders have an opportunity to share with someone outside an organisation who hasn’t a vested interest in the outcome.
  • To see, listen and learn how similar challenges that are met in the not for profit sector are handled in the corporate sector. To see the differences between corporate and not for profit and how the ‘corporate approach’ can be applied in not for profit.A more analytical approach to looking at my actions and improving them.
  • Ability to manage through difficult situations (3 different managers in 12 months); gained perspective when things appeared impossible; developed confidence in my ability to manage and continue to develop as a manager; I also gained a friend.
  • During my participation in the program I sought further development opportunities – through working with many external experts and specialists on a pro bono basis, reading texts on personal and professional growth and participating in hours of personal development in my own time – with the mentoring program being the constant thread linking these activities together.
  • Having a wise and safe confidante, someone who is supportive and provides excellent advice. The greatest benefit is advice on people management, including managing expectations and professional approaches with my Aboriginal team members.
  • Validation of my skills and accomplishments
  • I believe the opportunity to talk to an independent mentor who understands the frustrations of being a CEO and the time to talk about ME.

3. What is your most significant learning from the program?

  • I think I learnt that I am OK and that I am functioning at a very high level for the industry.
  • Most significant learning for me is the reinforcement of my skills as a manager.
  • That I do control where I am going and what I am doing.  Sometimes its easy to get bogged down with the under-resourced and over-worked mentality there is in the not for profit sector.  I saw that I can make changes to what I do to help this and move forward.
  • Remain coachable! Through the day to day demonstration of its (the mentoring/coaching’s) impact on who I am, what I say and how I act, to encourage others to be similarly open to the possibilities of growth and change. Be present to opportunities. Be calm in crisis and do not under any circumstances attempt to avoid the hard stuff or the difficult conversations.
  • The most significant learning did not come from what was discussed directly, but how I was mentored. My mentor took an interest in who I was as a person, not just what I was doing. He rarely got down to business immediately, but rather wanted to know how things were in general. This directly changed how I met with my direct reports. Rather than just focusing on work, I have taken a genuine interest in them as a person and this has improved my working relationships. I always felt energised after a meeting with my mentor; I hope my staff feel more energised than they may have previously after meeting with me.
  • Improved management of relationship with manager, senior management team and direct reports.
  • Learning about managing my function against political constraints – navigating political frameworks without getting exhausted or having Pollyana views. Learning to adjust my communications to the receiver – especially at the executive level. Sharpening my relationship management skills.

4. Are there any components which should be changed, added or removed from the program?

  •  No, I believe it works very well.
  • No – it is good that there is structure in the workbook.
  • I think it’s just fine the way it is. The induction process was great. The supporting materials are  good ideas but not at all used in my case. The Myers Briggs assessment was fascinating. I think it would be a mistake to over-engineer the program. If I’d wanted assistance at any time I would have picked up the phone and requested it because that seemed like something that would have been welcomed by those at nonprofit australia HQ. I would see hand-holding as antithetical to the program’s effectiveness. You have to make it what it is or it will not be worthwhile.

5. Other comments:

  •  The program has been excellent for me and I greatly appreciate the opportunity to be involved.
  • I got more from the program than I could have imagined. My mentor has been fantastic, instructive and fun to learn from. I know he has a hectic job but he never let this interfere with the mentoring. He is a real professional.
  • From the get go I have looked forward to my regular face to face meetings with my mentor and the program has given me more than I could have hoped it would have. I would urge Nonprofit Australia to continue the program so others can have the wonderful opportunity that has been afforded me. I have a team of managers who would love the experience (and I would find the money to enable that to occur). The program is a strategic and savvy way to contribute to capacity building within the sector given its immediate and longer-term benefits.
  • It’s been an indulgent and positive experience.  I have really looked forward to my meetings with my mentor. My mentor is very high integrity and speaks from experience, balancing my sometimes overpowered meteoric reactions to things.  It’s been a pleasure participating.  Thank you.