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Our Consultancy Services

United Way Australia is well recognised for its ‘practice leadership’ in facilitating and mobilising collaborative approaches to community change.

In Australia, we’re working collaboratively in 35 communities of disadvantage to improve employment and education opportunities. Globally, we are part of the United Way worldwide network of more than 1800 organisations across 40 countries working to improve lives and strengthen communities. Watch our video to learn more about how United Way works to tackle complex social issues.

We offer social purpose organisations and government the opportunity to benefit from this experience via the following consultancy services:

1. Community Conversations WORKSHOPS AND FORUMS

Assisting organisations to understand existing community relationships, services, power, politics, aspirations and the community’s urgency to address identified issues through Community Conversations.


As an independent, neutral facilitator with core business of brokering collective action for long term change, we bring the skills, resources and infrastructure to power or support community collaborations and Collective Impact initiatives.


Helping you to develop an effective community strategy engaging key stakeholders from multiple sectors, including ‘unusual suspects’, to work together to address complex social issues.

4. Community Impact Assessment

Working with you and your community stakeholders to develop and implement a community impact assessment framework to ensure your activities deliver maximum impact and a strong return on investment.

Our Experts

Our team of community impact specialists are highly experienced in bringing communities, business, philanthropy, government and social purpose organisations together to ensure that every community thrives.

emilyEmily Cormack

Emily leads United Way’s special program initiatives to overcome social disadvantage, with a focus on innovation and incubation of new approaches to target specific issues. With more than 15 years’ experience in community development and community engagement, Emily has worked internationally in leading the Australian Government’s Pacific Islands technical assistance program, as well as having worked with national and local governments to tackle complex issues and with communities to mobilise networks for a common purpose. Emily has a Bachelor of Arts (Social Sciences) and a Masters of Arts in Development Studies.

Eleanor Loudon 

Eleanor has worked in the community sector for over 20 years in Australia and overseas and has extensive experience in community development and business management. Eleanor has a Masters of Management (Community Sector). She has a deep commitment to the power of collaboration and the importance of community voice in bringing about deep and lasting change. In past roles she has led organisations to run collaborative cross-sectoral programs addressing deep cultural and social issues in Sri Lanka and co-steered a successful collective response to protect civil society space in Cambodia.


The founding Director of The Hive Mount Druitt, a Collective Impact initiative working to improve outcomes for children across the 2770 postcode in Western Sydney, David has been working on place based collaboration since 1999. He has worked for Housing NSW on collaborative initiatives, before developing and subsequently managed ‘Working Together in Minto’, a forerunner to what would become known as Collective Impact. He later wrote the Living Communities Program, a holistic approach to the renewal of public housing estates with a clear focus on social outcomes. David has also worked as a Senior Social Sustainability Consultant, and holds a Visiting Fellowship at the City Futures Research Centre at the University of New South Wales.

To see how our community impact specialists can assist you, please email Emily Cormack or call her on 0414 654 683.

CEO Blog Profit to Purpose

From For-Profit to For-Purpose: A CEO’s Reflections

posted by Leigh Stewart, 22 Sep 2017

It’s a question I find myself answering on regular basis – after so many years in the corporate world, why move to the third sector? It’s a question I asked myself just six months ago. There were two things that struck me: 1. “Charity” as I knew it had well and truly moved on. The …read more


Social Innovation: how ‘WE’ is key for solving complex social issues

posted by Janita Suter, 20 Jul 2017

Are we in agreement that when we innovate alone, we draw on a limited pool of ideas, clouded by our own biases and assumptions? When it comes to addressing social issues, there’s a strong relationship between innovation and collaboration. Innovating with others generates more ideas, and enables us to build on and improve others’ ideas. …read more


Australia’s ‘slow burn disasters’: why we need to share learning to respond better, together

posted by Janita Suter, 07 Jul 2017

Are we all in agreement that Australia’s most complex social issues require systematic change to ensure no one slips through the cracks, today or in the future? As single organisations, our programs and services affect individual lives, but the systemic change that’s desperately needed can only be achieved by sharing learning and tracking change together. …read more

Collaboration Needs graphic2

Collaboration for Community Change: how to make it happen

posted by Janita Suter, 12 Jun 2017

It’s now broadly accepted across the NGO, government, philanthropy and business sectors, that complex social issues can’t be tackled effectively by single organisations or individuals. Experience has shown we need to work together, across sectors and with communities, to create broad and lasting social change. The good news is that more and more of us …read more


Why Neutrality Matters for Collective Impact Backbones

posted by Janita Suter, 10 May 2017

As using a Collective Impact approach to address complex social issues gains momentum in Australia, and around the globe, there’s been much discussion over the role of the ‘backbone’ and whether neutrality should be a prerequisite. In essence, the role of a backbone organisation is to facilitate collaboration among diverse stakeholders, rather than deliver traditional …read more


A community-centred approach is not business as usual – are we ready?

posted by Leigh Stewart, 20 Apr 2017

Deeply listening and understanding. Doing with, not for. Enabling communities to create their own change. That’s what ‘good’ community development is meant to be about. Yet when it does happen, there’s no linkage to inform social policy, planning and service delivery – the very systems that can scale social change in Australia are often deeply …read more


Why impact-led thinking should be part of every NFP’s DNA

posted by Leigh Stewart, 23 Mar 2017

A successful business requires a solid business plan, a watchful eye on the bottom line and radar for opportunities. In the non-profit sector, social change is our currency – but how do we measure up when it comes to tracking performance? To date, many social purpose organisations have measured success on meeting specific project goals …read more


How to know if Collective Impact is the right approach for you in 2017

posted by Janita Suter, 05 Feb 2017

Complexity. It underlies many social issues in Australia. It’s why community dynamics sometimes suddenly shift, funding opportunities open or close, government policy changes, and community leaders emerge. It’s behind the many twists and turns that minimise the effectiveness of traditional programs and services dealing with complex social issues. And it’s why there’s growing momentum in …read more


Community Conversations: WHAT’S ALL THE TALK ABOUT?

posted by Leigh Stewart, 17 Jan 2017

It’s increasingly clear that ending the cycle of disadvantage in Australia needs genuine engagement from communities. But there’s no doubt really listening to aspirations and challenges through the community’s eyes, and building and maintaining the momentum to leverage community skills and solutions can be deeply challenging in postcodes with complex social needs. Here we share …read more

The Hive

Collective Impact: Insights from The Hive Mt Druitt

posted by Leigh Stewart, 01 Dec 2016

In August 2014 United Way Australia’s David Lilley began scoping a Collective Impact initiative in Mt Druitt, Western Sydney. Within the Mt Druitt postcode (2770), around one in three children still start school ‘developmentally vulnerable’, despite decades of investment and hundreds of services operating within the region. The Hive is the resulting Collective Impact initiative, …read more


Philanthropy is Not Future Ready, But These 4 Steps will Help Turn the Corner

posted by Janita Suter, 27 Sep 2016

Despite decades of investment, good will and effort by Australia’s philanthropic sector, it surprised few attendees of the Philanthropy Australia conference last week that philanthropy is not future ready. To really move beyond ‘tinkering around the edges’ of complex social issues in Australia, the sector must embrace the reality that we – philanthropy, communities, business, government …read more


Ending ‘developmental vulnerability’ for children is everyone’s business, but how do we build effective collaboration to tackle this?

posted by Janita Suter, 10 Mar 2016

Last week the government released its latest Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) results, a mixed bag underneath the same headline statistic as the previous census 3 years ago – 22% of Australian children still start school ‘developmentally vulnerable’.  While there were very slight improvements in language and cognitive skills, and communication skills and general knowledge, …read more


From Struggle Street to Shining Light – does Mt Druitt have the answers?

posted by Janita Suter, 27 Jan 2016

For those who watched SBS’ controversial documentary series ‘Struggle Street’ last year, it would come as little surprise that one in three Mt Druitt children will start school this week ‘developmentally vulnerable’. Or that these same families experience twice the national unemployment rates, and are up to four times more likely to experience domestic violence …read more


Towards Collective Impact

posted by United Way, 20 Feb 2014

Reflections on ‘Towards Collective Impact’ by Jenny Riley, our Community Impact Manager. Shared measurement requires us to each understand each other, after two days at the Progressing Social Outcomes Measurement I am hopeful because the discourse is getting stronger and we are getting better at asking better questions i.e.  is what we are doing making …read more


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