Members feedback helps shape future of Motivation Australia

Motivation Australia’s 2020 annual general meeting brought our supporters, team and board members together online to discuss the events of the year and look forward into 2021. Following these discussions, and in preparation for developing a new strategic plan, three further discussion groups were held with our members in March 2021.

Thank you to all who attended. Your feedback and participation are greatly appreciated.

The results of the discussion groups will help guide decisions about Motivation Australia’s next phase of development.

A man using a wheelchair smiles for a photo, surrounded by his family and friends.

Should Motivation Australia look to work with Indigenous and remote communities in Australia?

Motivation Australia worked with Indigenous communities on different projects between 2011 to 2016. These projects contributed to a larger understanding of how ‘disability’ was perceived in different Indigenous communities at that time. However, there has been significant change in the context and systems in the past five years.

While there is no shortage of NGOs in this landscape, Motivation Australia has expertise in supporting those in less resourced settings. Geographically, we are well positioned to reach these communities, and have some existing relationships in communities. Local relationships would be vital to achieving successful outcomes.

Our strengths currently include capacity development of local staff in technical wheelchair services, diabetic foot care, prosthetic and orthotic services, health service management, service systems, referral systems, equity advocacy, and policy and governance consultancy.

Potential barriers may include the rapid evolution of the NGO climate and systems currently supporting these communities. There would be a steep learning curve for the Motivation Australia team in order to navigate and plan for this ever-changing climate.

Overall, members in attendance were supportive of Motivation Australia exploring opportunities to support Indigenous communities. A community engagement model was encouraged, with a focus on identifying appropriate gaps and working in partnership with existing organisations to whom it is clear that Motivation Australia can add value.

Motivation Australia should only work under the invitation of key stakeholders. Our motto should be “Listen first!”

Outside on the red sane, an Indigenous woman using a new wheelchair sits smilign at the camera, another woman is pushing her and smiles too.

What is the most important priority for Motivation Australia in next five years?

Those who participated in this meeting looked at Motivation Australia’s work, reflecting on the big questions: what should we do, who should we work for and with, what should we advocate, how should we work and where should we work. These different lenses drew out key priorities.

Keeping users’ voices central to all our work was a key point communicated by our members. We were encouraged to seek feedback from our partners to ensure their views are reflected in the new strategic plan.

Maintaining and developing organisational partnerships and individual relationships are priority investments. Last year Motivation Australia supported the establishment of the Pacific Regional Network, and the Pacific Wayfinders Mentoring programme. Growing the capacity of individuals and supporting the development of responsible groups to engage with Motivation Australia on their own terms empowers local voices.

Overall, this was a very encouraging discussion. Motivation Australia was seen to be ‘on track’ and should continue to do what it is already doing. Members shared concerns that Motivation Australia may attempt to broaden too much, in too many places, too suddenly, which would stretch capacity thin. Those present were keen to see us build upon foundations already established.

Overall, this was a very encouraging discussion. Motivation Australia was seen to be ‘on track’ and should continue to do what it is already doing. Members shared concerns that Motivation Australia may attempt to broaden too much, in too many places, too suddenly, which would stretch capacity thin. Those present were keen to see us build upon foundations already established.

If Motivation Australia were to change its name, what should it be?

This discussion was prompted after feedback from some members who were concerned that our name didn’t reflect our work. This was enough to warrant further exploration of the views and feelings of other members, partners and stakeholders in the organisation.

The name Motivation Australia reflects our history: Our sister organisation in the UK, Motivation, was a major supporter at the time of our founding and for many years thereafter. We continue to collaborate well with Motivation in the UK.

Participants agreed that Motivation Australia did not give immediate insight into who we are, what we do or where we work. If a change was to be made, the name should be practical for our partners to use and reflect the modern vision and mission of the organisation.

Participants saw advantages in identifying as an Australian organisation. This helps Australian public identify with the organisation and may present us as a ‘helpful neighbour’ to our partners in the Pacific.

Currently we have built many strong relationships with the name Motivation Australia and there is some awareness of our brand among stakeholders. Any change to the name would need to be communicated clearly and there is a risk that some may be confused about who we are.

Overall, there was little appetite to change our name.

A strapline to the name could be introduced as a way to clarify Motivation Australia’s purpose, while not inviting the full costs of re-branding.

A man using a wheelchair smiles for a photo, surrounded by his family and friends.

Thank you again to all who participated. If you missed out on these discussion groups and wish to provide us with your feedback, we welcome you to get in contact with us by email at info@motivation.org.au or phone us on +61 (0)466833708.