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FRANC – an NCCA initiative


What is FRANC?

FRANC (Financial Representatives of Australian National Churches) is a way of exploring collaboration in finance and corporate services. Emerging from a decision at last year’s National Church Leaders gathering, FRANC holds considerable potential to release resources for productive mission.

When will FRANC meet again?

The next FRANC meeting will be held on Wednesday 21 March 2018 in Melbourne, with a networking dinner held the night before on Tuesday 20 March.
It will have forum streams for those involved in:

  • Insurance & Risk
  • Banking & Finance
  • Property (Development & Management)
  • Corporate Services (IT, Legal, Procurement & HR)

For specific information about the event and to register please use the FRANC online portal.

On the following day, Thursday 22 March the next NCCA Assembly will also be held in Melbourne and will focus on children and the final report of the Royal Commission. Smaller churches may have one person overseeing both corporate services and risk management, and may find it useful to send one person to both of these days.

An invitation to pray for FRANC
There are huge potential savings available to churches through group bargaining power in areas like insurance, procurement, and investments. Money can also be saved by sharing legal advice, and simply by learning from one another about church corporate services. There seems to be much good will and interest around working together collaboratively. This is a very practical way of expressing our unity in Christ.
We invite your prayers into this exciting new NCCA initiative.

Inaugural meeting report

The inaugural FRANC meeting was held on the 30th of October 2017. Around 36 representatives from a wide range of churches met at the NAB office in Melbourne.
Dean Pearson from the NAB gave an economic update, including measures not only of GDP but of community wellbeing. He spoke of the role of the church in promoting wellbeing and in addressing the levels of anxiety experienced by young people. It was a very pastoral plea from an economist! 

John McLeod gave a keynote address on trends in Philanthropy. He spoke of growing demand for Impact Investment (investments that provide both an economic and a social return) and suggested the church welfare sector may be well placed to innovate in this area. He also noted the rise in demand for ethical investments. He spoke of the areas of philanthropy / fundraising that provide a strong return on investment (such as bequests) compared to those with a weak return (such as lotteries and raffles). Some international trends in philanthropy were highlighted. Of concern is the shrinking percentage given to religious causes in the philanthropic pie. 

Two round table groups from Religious Charitable Development Funds discussed their responses to the revised APRA and ASIC guidelines and AusTRAC requirements. Another round table group from other church funds discussed the challenges and opportunities they are experiencing.
The afternoon involved a brainstorm of areas for possible collaboration around church business and finance. A very long list was developed! Four round table discussions were then held around:

  • Organising future FRANC meetings 
  • A ‘Register’ for Church Financial Organisations - who we are – what’s our structure, business model, what technology platform do we all use, etc.
  • Property Services – organisations that offer property services – better scale, marketing, leasing, development
  • Collaboration around technology platforms

Each of these groups developed recommendations, and four volunteers offered to do further work in the areas discussed. The Uniting Church (UCA Funds) offered to organise and host the next FRANC meeting. 

Each participant shared a highlight from the day. Many reported on the sense of unity of purpose and celebrated the willingness to work together.

Rev Janet Woodlock
Churches of Christ