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Managing to Survive.

Alun C. Jackson and Frances Donovan, Managing to Survive, Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 1999, pb.

Alun Jackson and Frances Donovan set out to write a book that provided a balance between theory and practice of managing not for profit organisations (p.227). Written specifically for the not-for-profit sector, the book is a pleasure to read.

It is written in a language that is easily understood by people within the human services area. Boards of Management, supervision and other terms are used in ways that reflect sound knowledge of the sector. However, the demonstrated knowledge of the human services area is much greater than mere use of language. The examples used illustrate a depth of knowledge and practice that reassures the reader that the authors' have done their homework. In some cases the examples are so close to home that readers will find themselves recalling similar situations and meetings and `just adding names to the examples'.

The capacity to introduce the reader to some of the body of literature relating to managing in the not for profit sector is evident in the text. It is assisted by comprehensive Notes at the end of each of the chapters. The Notes at the end of the first few chapters give the reader a head start in reading further on issues such as economic rationalism and the impact on the human services. Easily accessible references are listed with comments about the various arguments relating to the impact of the issue. Other examples of the use of Notes to enhance the readers access to theory include information relating to the legal status of `incorporated associations' and gender issues in the development of managerial processes.

Throughout the book there is a strong focus on the implications for smaller organisations. This is a unique contribution. The authors affirm the complexity of the tasks for many people working in small not-for-profit agencies.
 The range of tasks requiring extensive knowledge and skills has to be
 carried out by a small number of people. This means that one person often
 has to carry out multiple roles, such as service provider and manager.

They also address some of the `sacred cows' relating to managing not-for-profits including the notion that small agencies are like families, the performance of funding bodies and undertaking performance evaluations of Boards. Often these issues are alluded to in discussions within the sector but rarely are they written about.

Entitled `Managing to Survive' this book is more than about surviving. The authors provide constructive strategies for overcoming difficulties in all areas of the book -- general management of an agency; issues relating to people and performance issues including financial and information management.

Readers are encouraged to apply rigorous analysis and planning to all aspects of their work. They also provide helpful strategies including frameworks for auditing case records (p.205) for assisting panels assess employment applications (p.58) and a draft budget cycle (p. 147). Even in relation to writing submissions and tenders, the reader is provided with both a traditional human service methodology in comparison to a `framework developed in a business school to help organisations unused to applying for funds in a competitive environment and unfamiliar with "business" concepts.' (p. 134)

Two whole chapters are focussed on bringing the best out of the people working in organisations. One area that needs to be addressed in any future publication will be the interface with the Industrial and Taxation systems. EBA's, WPA's, FBT and Salary Packaging are now part of the human service sector. While these matters are addressed superficially in the text, the authors will have a great opportunity to add to the debate once the rules are clarified in 2000.

Members of Boards of Management, especially new Chairpersons; new program managers and coordinators, directors and CEO's who are isolated due to business or geography will find this book full of information and strategies.

Sue Ash, Executive Director, Wanslea Family Services, Western Australia.
COPYRIGHT 2000 Australian Council of Social Service
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Copyright 2000 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Review
Author:Ash, Sue
Publication:Australian Journal of Social Issues
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Feb 1, 2000
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