Charity leaders often struggle to access, afford or justify the cost of professional development. This is a major impediment to them, to their employers and ultimately to the community. At Plus One, we wanted to open a door to the professional development opportunities that are often taken for granted in the corporate world and make them available to people working in the charity sector, at no cost to them. We felt that this could be done on a pro-bono basis, by facilitating a partnership between the corporate and charitable sectors. That was the basic idea for Plus One.
Plus One was conceived by co-founders David Knowles, Chris Wilson and Farial Ameen, all of whom work in the Philanthropy & Social Capital team at Koda Capital. After reflecting on the many challenges facing the non-profit sector and developing the idea, they reached out to their contacts in the corporate world and subsequently convened the first meeting of what would become Plus One’s Steering Group.
The Steering Group, which has acted as an advisory council to Plus One has been made up of representatives from the corporate sector, including Atlassian, Westpac, Commonwealth Bank, Minter Ellison, PwC and Macquarie, working alongside the founders. The charity sector, notably the Community Council for Australia, has also helped shape Plus One through participation in the Steering Group. Corporate partners from the Steering Group also participated in a pilot program, trialing the first iteration of the Plus One model.