Over his career, Martin J. Cowling has been a volunteer, hands-on manager, leader, researcher and consultant. He has worked from small grassroots organisations through to senior management roles with large social purpose organisations and the Federal government. He has provided consulting services across the globe.
Cowling led the Office of the Not for Profit Sector for the Australian government and helped establish the Australian Charities and Not for Profit Commission (ACNC) in 2013. He was responsible for the Australian Federal Volunteer strategy at the time. He then oversaw national indigenous employment strategies for the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. He co-founded the Australasian Retreat for Advanced Volunteer Management which operated from 2005 to 2013 and helped establish the Australasian Association of Volunteer Administrators.
Cowling is a skilled presenter who has spoken at conferences across Australia and in sixteen countries. Philanthropy 101 ranked him as one of the top 100 speakers on philanthropy. He has lectured at Universities in Asia, Australia, the US and Middle East on Civil engagement, NGOs and Volunteering, and has worked with LaTrobe University on research into volunteerism. He has written over 200 articles, research papers, blog posts and book chapters on the subjects of leadership, change in organisations, community engagement and volunteering.
Cowling believes that people are the key to an organisation’s success and he is passionate about ensuring that staff (both paid and unpaid) have mutually beneficial relationships and contribute to making lasting positive change. He volunteers to support cancer research, MS and homelessness and poverty alleviation in Australia, Scotland, Thailand and Uganda. Cowling also leads teams of volunteers who contribute their time and gifts in this space.