It’s been 12 months since Andrew Fraser joined Orange Sky Australia as Chair of the Board, and he’s helped steer the ship during the most challenging year in Orange Sky’s history. Andrew is a former Deputy Premier of Queensland and was previously an executive at the National Rugby League. He has since taken on a number of board and advisory positions including the Chair of Sunsuper and Motorsport Australia, advisory board member at Ernst & Young, and board roles at the New Zealand Rugby League, BESIX Watpac, 3rd Space and Hear and Say. Over the past year, he’s worked closely with Nic and Lucas to ensure Orange Sky’s sustainability and resilience as we work together to set Orange Sky up for long term success.

“When stepping into my role as Chair of the Orange Sky Board in November 2019, the success of the organisation was obvious; growth, commitment to the mission, innovation and a culture that is its best asset. 

Orange Sky is now an organisation that engages with people from all walks of life who are connected and committed to our purpose. We’ve got an obligation to stakeholders, starting with the people who rely on us, to continue to deliver our service when times are tough. That’s about building resilience, particularly from a financial perspective… but I very much see my role here as not interfering with the ‘secret sauce’.

Having more mature governance processes doesn’t mean suffocating the original entrepreneurialism, innovation and agility that has defined Orange Sky. It means we need to be calculated about the risks we take and have a view about long-term sustainability, but it also means we should absolutely keep front and centre how we got here in the first place.

What’s being built here by the Orange Sky team is a really different proposition to how it originally began in a garage six years ago. The maturity of a governance system has got to match the maturity of the organisation, and Orange Sky today is a different beast to Sudsy, and Nic and Lucas with two washing machines in 2014. Everything needs to evolve and mature, and that’s the same with the board structure.

As Director and Chair of the Board, my role is to make sure that, as an organisation, we’ve got the systems and strategy in place to ensure that Orange Sky can keep doing what it’s doing and evolve.

Earlier this year, the COVID-19 pandemic changed our world and we were confronted with a real-life drill on the organisation’s resilience. We are far from the end of this pandemic, and even further away from dealing with its many consequences, but for Orange Sky – we know that we will be part of the solution. The team responded with agility; problem-solving, re-designing and re-imagining the way we operate from the ground up. It was distressing to make the call to pause our services, but heartening to see how quickly we re-established them again.

When you’re asking people to pledge their money or provide their own resources towards a charitable effort, you need to give them the comfort that the effort they’re making is going to be directed to what it says on the tin. And what I mean by that is we’ve got to deliver on that trust and ensure that if people give money to support this organisation, it’s going to go and do good things.

I think as the donor market becomes more exacting and demanding, people have an expectation or a desire to see how an organisation is structured, how it’s run, how it’s going to ensure that their money is being applied in a way that they expect. And so it’s really a community expectation now, and I think as time rolls on, that expectation is only going to increase.

There’s thousands of charities out there who are all well-intentioned and at various levels of capability. The distinct proposition for Orange Sky, I think, is that it approaches its task in a way that is innovative and agile, and seeks to keep the people who it serves at the forefront. And when you have that singularity of purpose, that’s when you can truly achieve great things. When organisations become organisations for the sake of themselves, then you can lose the focus. I think the focus here remains the same and that’s why you’ll still see Nic and Lucas, and the Board members out on shift. The job isn’t to sit inside the boardroom. The job is to actually live the values of the organisation.

Orange Sky is a people business. We need to think about everyone who’s a part of the organisation and keep that at the forefront of our understanding; that’s the single biggest asset that we have.”

Andrew celebrates one year on the Orange Sky Board alongside Non-Executive Directors, Paula Holden and Sommer Davies. You can learn more about Orange Sky’s Board of Directors here

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Orange Sky Australia • 2020 • 17 Dover Street, Albion Queensland 4010 • (07) 3067 5800 • ABN/Charity ID: 85890622990 • We are a registered charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) All donations over $2 are fully tax deductible as a Deductible Gift Recipient by the Australian Tax Office