Not for profit: Simple strategy for Rocky Bay

09/10/2007 - 22:00


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Disability services provider Rocky Bay is undergoing a rapid growth phase, having more than doubled its capacity over the past 18 months.

Disability services provider Rocky Bay is undergoing a rapid growth phase, having more than doubled its capacity over the past 18 months.


Two years ago, the Mosman Park-based organisation had about 700 clients. Today, there are 1,500, as well as 400 staff members and volunteers.


According to Rocky Bay’s chief executive officer Michael Tait, rapid growth was necessary to make client programs more viable, although it was not an end goal in itself.


“We don’t want to be the biggest in the sector; there’s no benefit in that as a not-for-profit,” Mr Tait said.


“You can lose sight of your client base (if you grow too big), but you need a critical mass to run well.”


Much of the Rocky Bay’s growth has taken place in its therapy services area, which has doubled in size in the past 18 months.


The organisation provides a number of services, including physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech pathology, social work and hydrotherapy.


About half of the increase in the organisation’s client base has come from a redistribution of families in the Peel region by the Disability Services Commission, which reallocated clients to Rocky Bar from Burswood-based Therapy Focus.


Rocky Bay is also preparing to launch a new strategic plan, with one of its key priorities to become a preferred employer.


Mr Tait said the organisation had, like many not-for-profits, struggled with high staff turnover, although he said initiatives such as a staff referral bonus had helped to address that issue already.


“We were losing money through agency costs. We’re now spending a third of what we spent last year on a daily basis,” he said.


Another key objective is to become more sustainable and less reliant on government funding.


This will involve developing the organisation’s existing corporate partnerships, as well as finding new sponsorships. 


To this end, Mr Tait said Rocky Bay was developing a more contemporary brand to improve its professional image.


“We’ve been a bit quiet on branding in the past. Going forward, we need to do better,” he told WA Business News.


Rocky Bay increased its revenue, which exceeds $20 million, by 10 per cent last year, and is expecting a 20 per cent growth in revenue this year.


Mr Tait said other channels for additional revenue were being explored, such as a training facility that would be available for hire to the corporate sector.


Corporate funding has provided a number of new facilities at the Mosman Park site, including a sensory room for clients and several new gardens.


“The government can only afford the basic and essential, and they do that very well,” Mr Tait said. 


“With corporate support, we’ll be able to supply an extra level of care.”


Meanwhile, disability services provider Nulsen Haven has also moved to increase the capacity of its service delivery.


The organisation, which has 112 clients and 300 staff, is currently undertaking a $400,000 fund raising campaign to fit out a planned 24-bed facility for people with disabilities with high medical needs.


The funds raised will be used to purchase therapy equipment, specialised beds, hoists, medical equipment, air-conditioning and furnishings.


Located in Gosnells, the four-house facility is being built on land donated by the Department of Housing and Works.


It will cater to Nulsen Haven’s new and existing clients and is expected to open in March 2008.


In recent years, the organisation has decreased its reliance on government funding, through a fee-based administration and payroll service for small and regional not-for-profits.


The service provides bookkeeping for 25 clients throughout WA.



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