Pamela’s Blog

Australia, Benchmarking, business planning, Business Strategy, Economy, fundraising, goal-setting, leadership, Not for Profit Sector, partnerships, philanthropy, Strategic Planning, Women in Business

45% of charities receive funding from Government

With all the current debate about the amount of funding governments provide to private and public schools, it made me think about about how much of our charities’ revenue comes from government. I revisited research by the ACNC (Australian Charities and NFP Commission) particularly the 2016 Charities Report  I was surprised to be reminded how much charities funding comes from government and in comparison, how little from individual donations.

In 2016, charity revenue totalled $142.8 billion with just one per cent of charities’ revenues accounting for well over half (54.9%) of the whole sector’s total revenue. This is perhaps surprising enough in itself.

Over 45% of charities received funding from government grants and 70% received income via donations and bequests however this latter source of income made up just 7.3% ($10.5b) of all revenue.  Government funding represented 43% of all revenue.

Apart from government grants, many charities stated that they received ‘other’ income and this was a significant proportion of their income (49.5%).  However, in the 2016 report this ‘other’ income wasn’t broken down but could include income from Trusts and foundations, income from raffles, lotteries and gaming, membership and other fees as well as sponsorship, interest, rental income and dividends received.

Much media, industry and community attention is paid to fundraising to solicit gifts from individuals while the amount is comparatively small compared with government and ‘other’ funding.  Should there be an even greater reliance on individual philanthropy? Should the focus shift or does government get a ‘cheap’ deal by funding charities to do work they would otherwise not do or could not afford to do? Should the government provide this level of funding to charities? Or should we expect charities to rely on charitable donations in order to deliver their goals? Something to think about .

Source: Data for the 2016 Charities Report comes from Australian charities registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) at the end of each charity’s 2016 financial year. Where financial information was not reported by charities it was estimated. Visit australiancharities.acnc.gov.au/ .

Adventurers, Altona, angels, Birdlife, birds, Birdwatching, Garden, Gardening, Swans, Victoria, Williamstown, Williamstown, Women in Business

Autumnal sunshine relaxes a busy mind

http://www.birdlife.org.au/bird-profile/black-swan

Escaping ones desk is always a challenge. There is inevitably another email to answer or proposal or report to write. So this afternoon when I took a few minutes to walk outside to inspect how my garden was holding up after a few days without rain, I realised just how beautiful a day it was and decided it was time to leave the keyboard behind and take a walk.

While the sun was shining, I took myself up to a river crossing at Kororoit Creek which is surrounded by industrial buildings and in easy view of the incredibly ugly train overpass that is unnecessarily being built 200 meters from the water.

There are a number of places close to my house where I can see birds and they are some of my favourite animals to photograph. Thankfully, the shore birds don’t seem to notice their built up environment and I arrived at just the right time to see many of them enveloped in dappled sunlight.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI had the birds all to myself and while taking photos is a way to capture the moment,  I was happy just to witness their activity as they went about feeding, preening and generally enjoying the sunshine.

Some of the birds in this tiny patch of water included those with the most unlikely features. The Royal Spoonbills have beautiful white feathers and jet black spoon shaped bills which they waft left and right through the water to sift out food.  One of my favourites are the Red- Necked Avocets whose tips of their black beaks tilt upwards in the most surprising way!  Black Winged Stilts have legs so thin that I don’t see how they stay standing and the Sooty Oystercatcher is just a joy of red and black. Check out those legs!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Sooty Oystercatcher
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Black Winged Stilt

As I continued walking, I entered a grasslands area and here the birdlife changes. They’re mostly smaller and a little noisier.  Beautiful, tiny (less than 8 cms high) are the Zitting Cisticolas. I just love their high pitched little song like hiss of a snake only less scary which immediately tells me that they’re around even if I can’t see them.  Unless you get one like this that sits atop a tiny branch and makes his presence known to everyone!

Zitting Cisticola
Listen to me!

A little bigger but just as flighty, the lovely Crested Pigeons shimmer in the sunlight and are not bothered by the flocks of sparrows (which are becoming more rare) also enjoying the warm air.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
A line of sparrows
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Crested Pigeon

I found myself at Cherry Lake, Altona  having walked much further than I intended… following the birds.  In a whispering She-Oak I was delighted to see White Eared Honeyeaters and Red Brow Finches dropping down to take little sips and dips in the lake then quickly returning to the She-Oak.  I hoped there were no large fish in the lake else these little birds would have made some quick fish a bitesized meal! A Little Wattlebird didn’t want to miss out so he soon joined the fun.

I’m sure there were many other birds I either didn’t see or couldn’t photograph… as soon as they hear me coming, most vanish into the undergrowth or behind a convenient bush.  But occasionally, as with the Red Browed Finches, they tolerate me standing right under their tree as they flit back and forth.

Seeing any birds is always a joy and I encourage to get out into your own backyard and see what you can see.  Listen and look up and down. They are all around you!

If you enjoyed accompanying me on today’s walk through Williamstown and Altona, think about making a donation to BirdLife. before June 30th.  Many of our birds are in danger of disappearing completely. Let’s not forget how much they add to our lives with the colour and song.  Enjoy the sunshine this weekend.

http://www.birdlife.org.au/current-appeal

 

Art, artists, Australia, Benchmarking, birds, Birdwatching, Books & Writing, business planning, Business Strategy, creativity, goal-setting, leadership, life balance, Photography, Strategic Planning, Victoria, Women, Women in Business, writer in transit, writing, writers, writers in residence, Writers

Change is good

Mono Negative

Keeping one’s blog up-to-date is important and the same is true with the associated website! I felt mine needed a good refresh so I’ve implemented an upgrade and reorganised my site. I’d love to hear your feedback. If you think it’s better than before let me know.

As I’m not so active on Facebook I’ve moved my bird photos onto this site and you’ll find them here  I like taking time to write about the things that interest me – and my interests are varied and on occasion, unrelated – but  I want to spend less time online … this is a challenge for all of us I’d say.  I find Facebook has become just a series of anonymous videos for the most part as many friends ‘follow’ but do not post or like so therefore communication has become a bit one way. So I’m putting my efforts into this site. Such as they are.

I have new projects I’m working on and hope to share them here soon. Less time on line (I’m hoping) means more time for real world projects to be completed.

If all of this makes sense to you, please let me know. We’re all friends here.

Art, artists, Craftsy, creativity, Fashion, Mothers Day, Women in Business

Feeling Crafty this Mothers’ Day?

 

Free weekend of craft videos

There is a great site I like to visit where I can see creative experts in action, Craftsy.com.  I dream of the day I will turn into a committed crafter instead of an art procrastinator. This Mothers’ Day Craftsy.com is doing a free Watchathon weekend where you can watch all their crafting videos for FREE! Love it.  I may not leave my computer long enough this weekend to put any of it into action (that’s not procrastination you see, I’m studying).  Want to join in? Here’s the link.

I’d love to be one of those people who can just get on with a great creative project and voila: days, weeks or months later they have a finished result. A great dress, a soufflé, a coastal water colour or a beautifully beaded bag… this is, unfortunately, not me.

I may not have time to knit that amazing scarf, jumper… you name it, I promised myself I’d make my mother in time for THIS Mothers’ Day but I’ll be ready for next year. Maybe even start a great quilting project to make in time for Xmas?  So what are you waiting for, get crafty here!  I’m right behind you 🙂

April Fool's Day

It’s just fake news, you April Fool!

April Fool’s Day is coming up… you know, April 1st?  The history of April Fools, or All Fools Day is unknown.  The idea though is to fool your friends or even the whole country into believing something that just ain’t so. Does anyone still do practical jokes on April 1st? Or is it only politicians? Ah wait, they do it all year round.

Over the next few days, a few questionable ideas might be put forth as truth… remember, it’s not fake news, it’s April Fool’s Day.

Here are a few .. would you have known you were being fooled?

Ikea takes to the skies

Ikea can do anything right? So why not an airline? Flikea was ‘launched’ this time last year as Ikea’s budget airline.  With Ikea seats and accessories of course!

Screen Shot 2018-03-25 at 7.00.12 pm.png

Man’s best friend

Sticking with airways, Virgin launched its first doggie crew.  Totally believable of course! Watch the video here  and see the new recruits in their cute uniforms

Screen Shot 2018-03-25 at 6.53.51 pm
Virgin’s newest crew member… woof!

Zebracorn!

The Museum of Hoaxes gives us a few corkers.  Try the Zebracorn from Monarto Zoo in South Australia,  Love that little ‘horn’ just making it self known!

2013zebracorn

And finally, my absolute favourite from the UK on the very serious program, Panorama in 1957 they fooled just about everyone except the Italians. It showed a Swiss family supposedly collecting ripe pasta strands from a spaghetti tree. It had us all fooled as Brits had not really seen much pasta and certainly didn’t know how it was made.

Screen Shot 2018-03-25 at 7.46.48 pm

Enjoy April Fool’s Day and remember you can fool all of the people all of the time if just for a little while.. You have been warned!

 

birds, Birdwatching, Garden, garden design, Gardening, Weather, Williamstown, Williamstown

Soil Mountains

“You’re gonna need a lot of soil to fill that hole”, said my husband after we removed part of the deck and discovered a 400mm drop to the ground. Even he didn’t know just how much! 6 cubic meters later and we’ll need more!  But the garden is definitely progressing…

When the soil arrived this morning I have to say I felt a little nervous. The truck delivering it was very large! The mound they tipped onto the driveway was much bigger than expected!

 

We’re using a granitic sand (also known as Tooborac Toppings), to create a path through the garden which will lead you  to a little seating area with a water feature.  I’m advised that this sand can be compacted down so it doesn’t just spread all over the garden!

So when another truck turned up with the sand and dumped another huge pile behind the first lot, I was started to feel very nervous! How would they move all this  by this afternoon? Will my neighbours start complaining we’re blocking the path? Will they clean up the trail of mud through the courtyard!?  Ah the joys of creating a garden!

IMG_7999

But the early results are very pleasing… the garden is coming together.  It even smells better 🙂 It has some order; the path is defined and the sand and earth look good together.  We might even have a garden in time for a planned birthday celebration… let’s see….

 

Australia, birds, Birdwatching, creativity, Garden, garden design, Gardening, goal-setting, protecting species, Victoria, Weather, Williamstown

Williamstown Garden revival

Work is underway to return my formerly ‘aircraft-hanger’ covered garden back into a nearly wild native space for our local birds and wildlife.  I’m very excited that I’ve managed to find a local gardener who sees the same vision as me and we’re hoping to get started next week.

It’s a funny thing creating a garden.  For a while I looked out on what was just a barren patch of dry dirt which was uncovered when we removed part of our timber deck.  It looked very unloved.

garden - 2

Over the past weeks, due to considerable rain and blazing sun in equal measure, weeds have established a foot hold.  Now initially, I wasn’t happy with the weeds as all I saw was the painful job ahead of removing them.  They go from a few green plants to fully- blown giant invaders seemingly overnight.  They nearly cover the bare ground now.

Strangely, now when I look out of my lounge window and I see their seeded, bobbing heads, I don’t feel annoyed in fact the opposite because the weeds have brought life back to my embryonic garden.

Already, butterflies have returned. Mostly Cabbage Whites but also lovely Dainty Swallowtails who until now only frequented the Melaleuca tree on my nature strip. I see at least one now every day and they always lift my mood as only a large, colourful butterfly can.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Dainty Swallowtail in Melaleuca Tree

Wattlebirds and Blackbirds visit (probably after the caterpillars I am sure are being left behind!); enormous Dragonflies zip about on the hunt and Rainbow Lorikeets have visited to eat berries from my neighbours’ tree which has only been revealed due to the demolition.

A neighbour who knew about my garden renovation offered me four of her most treasured plants that she no longer had space for, now that she was moving house.  So I was gifted a large, thorn-less Lemon Tree full of fruit; a beautiful pink and white

flowering Pelargonium, a scented Yellow Rose and an Agapanthus, all potted and happy to sit on my deck until a space can be found for them in the garden (although the 42 degree days did challenge all of them).

Next stage is to bring in at least 7 cubic meters of earth and start adding structure to the garden.  The weeds will have to go but I’m sure some of them will find there way back. Along with the butterflies.

 

 

Australia, birds, Birdwatching, Christmas, conservaton, fundraising, leadership, philanthropy, Photography, protecting species, Swans, Threatened Species, Victoria, Williamstown

Share with your community for 2018

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Australian Black Swans Jawbone Reserve Williamstown
So a few things that will keep me busy in 2018 and may be of interest to you or a local community group! I’ve recently joined the board of Seddon Community Bank which is a part of the Bendigo Bank Group and also BirdLife Australia.
Seddon Community Bank provides sponsorship and small grants to local groups so if you know of a group looking for financial or in-kind support  around the Seddon area, please apply for assistance for 2018.
Every Bendigo community bank distributes the majority of its profits (in some cases more than 80%) back to their community so if you are not in this area, please look for your local community bank.
With this in mind, Bendigo Bank has created a family and friends offer to anyone looking for a loan or banking advice.
As it’s nearing Christmas, you may be thinking of making a donation to a worthwhile charity. If so, I can recommend to you, as a dedicated birdwatcher, BirdLife Australia.  I recently joined the board of BirdLife after many years of support and know that Australian birds and their habitats need all the assistance they can get.
You may know (how could you avoid it!) that as an avid birdwatcher, I take a lot of photos and post them on Facebook and Instagram.  Love to hear your comments 🙂
Thanks for taking time out to read my update. I wish you, your family and friends a wonderful, safe and happy Christmas and hope to meet up with you in the New Year.
PS: Please do share these links with friends and family.  Merry Christmas!
birds, Birdwatching, Garden, Gardening, Native Plants, Photography, protecting species, Succulents, Victoria, Williamstown, Williamstown

In an Australian country garden …

IMG_7037
Beau guarding a large Echeveria (he’s afraid of birds and butterflies so no worries there).

I have the amazing opportunity to create a garden from scratch.  Before we bought this house, I have always had to work with the garden I’ve been given… on more than one occasion I’ve lived in a rental house and my main aim has been to keep the garden alive for the next owner inspection.  When I last owned my own home I knew next to nothing about which plants to choose, how to keep them alive or even what I really liked.

Over the years of tending these gardens and killing more plants than I care to admit, I have learned a few things, I’m glad to say.  During those years, I experimented with plants in pots in lieu of my own garden so I planted bulbs and watched what would grow where; I planted a lot of succulents and absolutely fell in love with them.  Who can’t love a plant that replicates itself?!  Echeverias and Sempervivums  and other succulents create little clones of themselves and so you can create whole gardens from just a few plants and a bit of patience.  After a bit of investigation, I learnt that in some countries Sempervivums are called ‘Hens and Chickens’ because of this habit of replicating their own little baby plants.  In other countries they are called ‘house leaks’ as they are used in some countries to grow on the roofs of houses to little plug leaks. I love that!.

Australian natives plants offer an amazing range of subtle, hardy and in many cases, very beautiful plants that can be chosen to suit your local environment.  There are many varieties like the gorgeous Grevilleas. So while many of us still choose to plant up our gardens with roses and other ‘exotics’, Australian native plants are becoming increasingly popular not least because of their tolerance of our extreme weather and low rainfall.

If you’ve read earlier posts, you’ll know i love Australian birdlife and a native garden is a great way to attract native birds.  They need all the help they can get as their natural habitats are disappearing.  Many Australian birds are very small and need protection from large predators like our very large aggressive ravens, butcherbirds and magpies. Suburban cats are an absolute menace. So planting ground cover for little birds is essential if they are to find hiding places away from predators.

fairy wren
Australian Fairy Wren

So in beginning to plan my own garden, I can start with a few of these lessons:

  1. I love Australian native plants
  2. I love succulents
  3. These two broad plant types for the most part go very well together as they require little attention and not a lot of water – both useful things for an amateur (read uneducated) gardener in a state where rainfall is intermittent.
  4. I love Australian birdlife and want to attract them so that I can enjoy them and photograph them and give then a little haven in an inner city suburb

This all means I want to create an Australian native garden in my very own backyard.

Over the next few months (and years as gardens are a lifetime commitment), I will be changing my 60sqm of dirt into a native Australian garden.

The garden I have to work with was, until a few weeks ago, covered by a huge aircraft-hanger construction that was supposed to be a pergola.  Made of thick pine planks, many struts, brackets, screws and nails, this construction was not only incredibly ugly in my opinion, it took up 3/4 of the garden leaving me just room for a patch of scrawny grass with a few paving stones leading to a small and inefficient shed.

 

 

garden - 5

This is all gone… including half of the cedar deck which covered most of the garden. The decking was repurposed to create a new deck to host our spa.

Now that the pergola has gone, the spa has been repositioned, the shed has been dismantled and redistributed and the essential water tank has been rotated so it’s in a more practical location, we are ready to start to build the garden.

Actually.we are ready to start planning to build the garden.  I really couldn’t envisage what I had to work with until the space was cleared.  What I’m left with is a rather big hole… ! When I reduced the deck I realised the ground beneath it was more than 30cms below the deck. We’re going to need a serious amount of topsoil before we can even think about putting in a plant.

I am entering that wonderful design stage… I can see what I have to work with and I know roughly what I want to create. Next step is to get some professional advice (we used professionals to dismantle the aircraft hanger and move the deck and water tank around – couldn’t have done it without help).  Possibly I wont plant much until next winter/spring as in Melbourne we are entering the end of spring and beginning of summer and many young plants wont enjoy the 42 degree days we’ll get in the summer.  But I will wait to see what my gardener advises.  Until then. Stay tuned.

Australia, Corporate sponsorship, Footscray, fundraising, leadership, Melbourne, Not for Profit Sector, partnerships, philanthropy, Victoria

Fire destroys offices of the Les Twentyman Foundation in Footscray

les twentyman.jpg

A fire today in Footscray  at Little Saigon Market has destroyed the offices of the Les Twentyman Foundation destroying hundreds of Christmas gifts, including 6,000 donated school books, intended for children of poor families.

The Foundation has been a part of the Western suburbs of Melbourne for over 30 years and Les Twentyman has been the major driver.

Donations can be made at www.ltfoundation.com.au and material donations can be made by phoning the organisation on 9689 480 or visiting Replenish for Health in Douglas Parade, Williamstown.