2020 was an extraordinarily difficult year for our Association. COVID-19 did it’s best to hamper our connection with members and undermine our finances. However, our Association prevailed through good governance, volunteer energy and a focus on our future. Unlike many other charities, we did manage to hold both in-person and virtual events and maintained our financial strength.
We remain focussed on our key strategic priorities that we noted in the 2020 AGM –
- To continue improving our governance framework,
- To support our subcommittees and in particular leverage our Centenary to provide a legacy for future generations, and
- To attract new members, with particular emphasis on our youth,
Thanks to our members and our fantastic volunteers, we had significant achievements on each.
Significant progress towards a modern governance approach
We also made significant progress on our governance in 2020. Some of the highlights include –
- Hosting our first ever virtual AGM,
- Producing the Association’s most comprehensive Annual Report ever,
- Implementing important financial management process improvements to reduce cash handling and provide full electronic audit trails for all Association payments,
- Introducing a comprehensive employee handbook to support our staff with an appropriate operating framework for their role,
- Implementing COVID-19 safe practices at Kythera House and at functions and
Our financial management disciplines served us well as we had to face significant financial challenges in 2020 due to the COVID-19 crisis. All our revenues were dramatically reduced given that we were not able to host major events, bank deposit interest rates were at historic lows and the need to provide rent relief for our tenants. Despite these difficulties, we managed to deliver a small surplus. This is an extraordinary achievement for a charity like ours and was primarily due to prudent financial management and the government’s JobKeeper assistance where two of our three staff where ultimately paid for by the government for nine of the twelve months in 2020. (See also Treasurer’s report.)
Our governance improvement journey began in 2018 with the start of the redrafting efforts for our constitution. Over the last three years we have implemented increased transparency, a new constitution, new policy and procedures, new employment frameworks and new financial management practices. We now believe the bulk of the governance frameworks needed to support our organisation as a registered charity is largely done.
Of course the need to refine governance disciplines is ongoing. However,r we believe that we have now set a foundation that will support our association as we embark on our second century and make it easier for future Boards.