I’m currently researching alternative governance and organisational structures for the OFN in Australia. Some of the options I’ve been tasked with looking into are how we could position to get Deductable Gift Recipient (DGR) status (a tax status to enable donations to be tax deductible / also enable access to wider selection of grants), establishing software services as a separate business (still owned entirely by the non-profit Open Food Foundation) and also researching how we could transition to a coop for the Australian service. The transition to coop is about aligning with our values re: democratic control but they will also enable us to gain access to a wider range of revenue streams while allowing us to utilize certain tax incentives.
We are currently putting together a paper for the board that gives more detail which is based on the research which you can find here here.
The most interesting and research-intensive area is trying to grasp the necessary risks and opportunities available from transitioning the OFN to a co-operative. This model essentially aims to democratise decision-making power by allowing each member of the OFN to exercise a sense of control over the direction of the business. We are looking at pros and cons of different models but are exploring multi-stakeholder coops in particular.
I’ll be working on researching this model further and ascertaining the specific transitional processes necessary to adopt such changes as detailed in places like the Fair Share principles as these align with the principles of the OFN.
If anyone has any experience in this area or any input at all, please get in touch