Australia, conservaton, fundraising, leadership, protecting species, world environment day

World Environment Day June 5th: What do we have to celebrate?

World Environment Day. What are we celebrating?

World Environment Day (WED) celebrations are happening around the country and around the world to acknowledge our progress and to encourage further action to protect our blue planet. There are lots of dinners and other celebrations but… what are we trying to achieve? Saving the rainforest, saving the whales, fighting palm oil plantation owners, reducing the hole in the ozone layer…. Is it all too big? Too hard to get a clear indication of what we want to see happen?

Goals like the Millennium Development Goals around Environmental Sustainability do help us. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are a set of eight goals set by United Nations member countries with the goal of halving world poverty by 2015. Goal number 7 is about Ensuring Environmental Sustainability Under these they have specific targets:

• Target 9: Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes; reverse loss of environmental resources.

• Target 10: Reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water.

• Target 11: Achieve significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers by 2020.

Oxfam and other international aid organizations are working hard to help achieve the Millennium goals. And they do a better job of spelling out what is needed. Read here on Oxfam’s  website: ‘What are the Millennium Goals?’

According to the World Health Organisation, we have made some progress. In 2010, “the world met the United Nations Millennium Development Goals target on access to safe drinking-water, as measured by the proxy indicator of access to improved drinking-water sources, but more needs to be done to achieve the sanitation target.” I think this means we’re doing something right but still have a way to go.  So this is something to celebrate this World Environment Day.

And what are we doing in Australia? With one of the highest extinction rates on the planet and the most cryptic, unique and enigmatic of species under our protection, we also have plenty of work to do if we want to hold up our end of workload that is protecting our planet.  The appointment of an Australian Threatened Species Commissioner in July 2014 was a good step. After almost a year in the job, it will be interesting to see what he has and can achieve.

In the Commissioner’s report after his first 6 months he states: “Australia’s extinction history is unacceptable. Australia has lost 29 mammals since European settlement. According to the Action Plan for Australian Mammals, another 56 land-based mammals are at risk of extinction, and 11 of these are critically endangered. The total list of threatened species has grown to over 1750 plants and animals. The Threatened Species Commissioner model brings a new national focus and effort to secure our threatened flora and fauna.”

He has invested in feral control and some specific projects for some of Victoria’s critically endangered species but the jury is still out.

More information about the Threatened Species Commissioner’s role is available on the department’s website and on the Commissioner’s Facebook and Twitter feeds.

The investigation in to non-profit conservation organisations and a threat to remove their tax-deductible status is NOT a good step. According to a report on the ABC’s website by Conor Duffy, a parliamentary inquiry into the Register of Environmental organisations has asked for submissions, with some Government MPs agitating for a reduction in of the register of more than 600 environmental orgs. There is a suggestion the list should only include those orgs which do ‘practical’ environmental work. Putting more pressure on to orgs. with limited resources will not assist the cause of environmental protection in Australia.

So. The various dinners, events, festivals and awards will acknowledge the great work being done by our green community around Australia and around the world. It will highlight the work still to be done and the need, now more than ever, to Act Local and Think Global.

World Environment Day Festival on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, which has some fantastic workshops and activities. . The United Nations with its “Think Global; Act Local” slogan has WED Awards for the best performers (perhaps they should consider some ‘must do better’ awards too?)  The Wilderness Society is launching a new campaign on WED with an event at the Provincial Hotel in Fitzroy.

May we have even more to celebrate next year.

Australia, Business Strategy, fundraising, philanthropy, Women, Women in Business

Should you be certified?

CFREJust recently I decided to apply for certification as a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) Why? What? Did you know you could be such a thing? I was encouraged by my highly professional and effective fundraising colleague Stephen Mally of Fundraising Force that this was something that was considered highly important for all fundraisers and I do agree that it is important that we help recognise the skills and abilities required to be provide excellence in this challenging – and somewhat undervalued –  field.  It is not, as a lovely contact said to me the other day, just a matter of sending out a few ‘begging’ letters. He added: ‘Surely your assistant could do that?” I hope there’s more to fundraising than a few sporadic mailings no matter how well written?

For me, it was a choice to acknowledge the commitment I had made to my own career over these past 16 or more years. It was a way to promote the continuing professionalism of the sector and to encourage others to seek to further their own careers.

So I’ve signed up and will take the exam later this year.  I had a look at the number of  Australian ‘graduates’ to the certification and while there were a few there were not that many. So it made me ask? Do you think it’s worth the effort? Should it matter whether you’re a CFRE?  I’m interested in your thoughts.  And will let you know how I go with my study before the exam.  It never hurts to brush up on your knowledge and I’m sure I’ll also learn a few things I didn’t know before. If you’d like to find out more about CFRE, visit www.cfre.org or go to the Fundraising Institute of Australia website for more information.

Australia, fundraising, Melbourne Zoo, Not for Profit Sector, partnerships, philanthropy, Threatened Species, Victoria, Women in Business, Zoos, Zoos Victoria

Fundraising Excellence… Helping Australian threatened species

For the first time Zoos Victoria and our Foundation (fundraising and sponsorship) team were recognised by the Australian Fundraising Institute for our very special fundraising campaign leveraging the 150th anniversary of Melbourne Zoo.  It was my privilege to head up the ZV Foundation during this highly creative period, a role I still hold.

mali

One of the main projects was Mali in the City with 50 sculptures of our very own (then) baby elephant Mali were painted by professional and amateur artists and positioned all around the city. Each sculpture had a paid sponsor for the period of the installation and at the end of the exhibition, all of the sculptures were successfully auctioned off. A wonderful event that brought the Melbourne community back in touch with its fantastic city Zoo.  We raised almost AUD $1m with the campaign across our various events and activities for our Victorian and International conservation programmes. And had a great time in the process!

Here’s the story which was featured recently by the FIA talking about the awards:

Zoos Victoria

Winner of the 2014 Most Effective Creative Campaign and the 2014 Special Projects, Events Award

Campaign: Melbourne Zoo’s 150th Anniversary Mali in the City Campaign.

Key Personnel: Jenny Gray, Kevin Tanner, Pamela Sutton-Legaud MFIA, Sid Myer AM

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What does winning this award mean for your organisation?
Winning the award meant a great deal for Zoos Victoria, in particular helping to acknowledge the hard work of a team of people that worked on Melbourne Zoo’s 150th Anniversary celebrations. It was also significant as it further demonstrated the love that people all over Australia share for Melbourne Zoo and Zoos Victoria as an organisation but also the love people feel for the charismatic animals that live at our zoos including Mali the Asian Elephant. Being successful in reaching a large number of people with our anniversary celebrations was extremely important for our organisation as it meant many people became engaged in our fighting wildlife extinction work and at the end of the day – this is the most important message.

How has it impacted on your work in terms of campaign strategies, staff morale etc?
The Award was a huge boost for the many teams involved in Melbourne Zoo’s 150th Anniversary celebrations. It was nice for staff to be publicly recognised for a campaign which touched so many different people. It has also made staff feel proud to be part of an organisation that is fun, has the ability to be bold and, above all, to be part of an organisation that the community clearly values.

Briefly tell us about the campaign that won you this award? What made this campaign so successful?
We won the Award for our 150th Anniversary celebrations which took place in 2012. In particular, we held a public art exhibition called ‘Mali in the City’ which saw 50 life-size artist decorated fibreglass elephant sculptures displayed all over Melbourne’s city streets and later sold at auction with all proceeds donated to Zoos Victoria fighting wildlife extinction efforts. The campaign was extremely successful as the sculptures were modelled on the exact dimensions of Mali the elephant, (at the time) a two year old elephant calf who was the first female elephant calf born in Australia and arguably one of the most popular animals at Melbourne Zoo. The campaign was also extremely unique, it was eye-catching and helped to brighten the wintery streets of Melbourne and it involved a large number of local people from local business to community and high profile artists.

Why did you/your organisation decide to submit an entry?
We decided to submit an award to help recognise the huge amount of work dedicated to the project by a large number of staff members across many departments of Zoos Victoria and also to help acknowledge the incredibly positive support from the Melbourne community. It was also another avenue to help raise awareness of our fighting extinction work with threatened species within a community that cares about causes.

What advice or suggestions can you give to other members considering submitting an awards nomination?
The Awards are a great way to celebrate your team’s hard work and successes within the fundraising industry. It was also a good way to benchmark your campaigns against what the rest of the industry is doing. In particularly winning the award had numerous benefits including media opportunities as well as the opportunity to build new relationships at the Awards event.

pamela FIA

Austin Kleon, Australia, birds, christmas hampers, Victoria, Women in Business, Writers, Yarra Valley

Another Australian adventure…

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I’ve always been interested in promoting ‘Australian-made’ and so for a long time I’ve looked for interesting ways to promote home grown innovation.

Of course, Australian food and wine have a deservedly excellent reputation so with this in mind, i’ve decided to start a ‘pop up online store’ to promote Aussie products by way of Christmas hampers. This brings together my love of Australiana, creating a new online alternative and …shopping! What a great combo!

Christmas hampers are mostly very traditional so I’d like to offer something a bit different.  With my pop up store, you can choose the traditional option but also one with a contemporary slant and a luxury alternative.

So what would go into a ‘true blue’ Aussie Christmas hamper? My thoughts are some of the regulars – like Tim Tams. While not a ‘just for Christmas’ item, who doesn’t eat packets of them over the festive Aussie summer season? Then there’s wine. We have some fantastic Shiraz… just right for that family get together. And I’m even learning to love Chardonnay… the less oaken varieties have won me over so they would need to be well represented.  Living as I do in Victoria, I would need to have in my basket some of our fantastic cheeses and relishes possibly from the Yarra Valley. My mouth is watering at the idea. Perhaps a bottle of sparkling wine of the Domaine Chandon variety or something equally gorgeous to accompany that cheese platter? A Botrytis Riesling from the Yarrawood Vineyard? Or a classic Rose from Dominique Portet also of the Yarra Valley. So many choices!

show-your-work-cover1Now normally I wouldn’t share this with you so soon but I’m taking a tip from Austin Kleon and his book ‘Show your Work’ and while this isn’t about my art (as his book refers) but to a new ideas I’m developing, I still thought it a good idea to start getting things out into the world and worry less about waiting til it’s absolutely ‘ready’. It may also generate some great ideas or even some Australian producers who’d be interested in collaborating with me.  Therefore: I’ll be opening my ‘store’ in just a few weeks in time for Christmas orders.  Look forward to sharing some Aussie delights with you.  I’d love to hear what you’d like to find in your Australian Christmas Hamper? Do tell me!

 

 

Australia, birds, Birdwatching, Uncategorized, Victoria, Williamstown, Williamstown

Wild Williamstown

Happy New Year! I hope like me you had a chance to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors over the holidays. As Christmas falls at the start of summer in Australia, we have no excuse (apart from current unseasonably cool weather) to stay indoors.

We have a wonderful nature reserve not far from our our home in Victoria, Australia and we walk there regularly. So I thought I’d share with you some of the wonderful wildlife that lives at the Jawbone Reserve.  It used to be a rifle range… glad it has been saved for other purposes now! I’m a keen birdwatcher (if you haven’t noticed already!) and so I’ll share with you some of our fabulous feathered friends. Some you may be familiar with but others may be new and exciting:

IMGP3648Sooty Oystercatcher: an amazing looking coal-black bird with bright red eyes as well as legs and beak so it really stands out! Occasionally we see its cousin, the Pied Oystercatcher (Black and white rather than all black) and it’s just as stunning to see.

pelican pelicansAustralian Pelican The Australian Pelican is a large waterbird of the family Pelecanidae, widespread on the inland and coastal waters of Australia and New Guinea, also in Fiji, parts of Indonesia and as a vagrant to New Zealand.Wikipedia I love watching them land … those big feet come down and you wonder if they’ll crash land but they never do. Flying over you in formation, they are like bomber squadrons 🙂

 

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Little Pied Cormorant – or Little Shag… whence comes the term, “like a Shag on a rock” (which means when you are left on your own to fend for yourself)

DSCF5354The Little Pied Cormorant’s cousin, The Little BlackCormorant drying his wings in the sun after a morning dip

little honeyeaterOne of my favourites, Little Wattlebird also known as the Brush Wattlebird is a honeyeater; a cousin of the Red Wattle Bird below

Red WattlebirdRed Wattlebird – these are big honeyeaters which regularly visit my garden and surrounding area; they are territorial and fantastic aerial hunters – watching them chase after and almost always catch a fast moving moth or bug is a sight to behold as they turn almost 360 degrees in mid flight. I’ve never managed to catch it on video… I’ll keep trying. They are particularly active at dusk when their aerial displays can keep me amused for a long time.

white fronted chatWhite-fronted Chat – I rarely see these cheeky little guys possibly as they feed on the ground chasing insects though I often hear them. I managed to get just some blurry photos of them recently so this pic was sourced from BirdLife Australia.

crested tern

Crested Terns are sea birds with attitude. Check out that hair (well, feathers but you get the idea). They will fly over the sea, looking around for a tasty fish and then dive into the water at break-neck speed. It’s amazing to watch. Here’s a short Youtube clip as an example from RedJered.

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These little seabirds are difficult to identify … so many different breeds look similar! So after some research, I’m suggesting that this is a Sharp-tailed Sandpiper. If you know better, please let me know!

IMGP3663Around at the same time is this little guy (in fact there were quite a few of these and a large group of Sandpipers). I’ve identified them as Red-Necked Stints (non breeding colours).  They are smaller than the Sandpipers with all white breasts and shorter bills.  Again, if you can enlighten me happy to hear from you 🙂

I hope you’ve been inspired to visit a local shoreline, park or patch of green somewhere near you. You never know what you might see.  Happy 2014. May your skies be full of happy (rather than Angry) birds …

artists, Australia, Melbourne, Music Stores, Uncategorized, Writers

Want to revitalise your creative juices? Visit your local music store

What do you mean… what music store? I know, so many of them have vanished, eaten up by the e-monster that is that online fruit store but if you can find one (and I’ll let you in on the secret of a few of my favourites as a gift for your kind attention) then you are in for a treat.

Today, I walked around my absolute favourite and came away buzzing with creative ideas. Is it the fact that they have reintroduced actual LPs? With cover art? Joy! Is it the rows of beautiful art books that have recently appeared? Double happiness! Or perhaps it’s the calmness of the music playing and the almost mystical potential of rows and rows of fabulous and enticing CDs? All of this was experienced by me spending 1o minutes (which should have been spent rushing to my parking meter) in a joyful, tactile, friendly, sense-enhancing environment. But for my need not to have a parking ticket (so I have more cash to spend on music) I would have spent more time testing the knowledge of the store manager about whether, really, there is a definitive Ella Fitzgerald collection.

Yes! I know as soon as I buy the CD I’ll upload it and probably never look at the cover again. Yes, I also know that beautiful art book that I covet and think will make a great gift will stay – after purchase – on my own book shelf because, really, let’s face it, no-one else will really appreciate it as much as I do.

As I departed the store with the tips of my toes a few centimetres above the pavement, into the glorious sunshine of a Melbourne late-spring afternoon (before the cool change: Melburnians, you know of what I speak) I fancied I had discovered something new, a place to recharge my batteries and my creative notions.  In fact, it was a trip to the past and also a sign of things to come when we remember WE LIKE SHOPPING IN REAL STORES! So. Just in case you do in fact still have a music store (or for that matter a book store) in your part of town, protect it. Love it. Visit it. And buy things. You wont regret it. 🙂

A few of my favourite music stores:

Thomas Music Store, 31 Bourke Street Melbourne 3000 Ph: (03) 9650 9111 (Actually, this is my No.1 favourite)

Basement Discs, 24 Block Place, Melbourne VIC 3000 Ph: (03) 9654 1110 (Love this underground cave of a store!)

Polyester Records, 387 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy  (03) 9419 5137

Go on … be a slave to the rhythm.

Australia, Suffrage, Uncategorized, Women in Business

After Margaret Thatcher: No Turning Back

margaret thatcher

I read with some sadness of the death of Margaret Thatcher at the ripe old age of 87. What a good innings she had even if her last few years were troubled by dementia. I also read with interest the comments that she was ‘unique’, ‘one of a kind’ and therefore unlikely to be replicated. Is it to early to say I beg to differ?

One of the surprising things about women in positions of power is that … well, when we get there we often do very well. This seems surprising to some parts of the community who show considerable consternation when a woman is appointed to a tough top job. What? A women? At the head of a government (or company, or department) making brave decisions? Must be a one-off. She must be unique. But she wasn’t and she’s not – at least in terms of women who know what they are doing and what they want.

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I am forming a theory that what’s really scary (for some) about women in positions of authority, for example female prime ministers, is that they actually do a very good job. Now that’s not to say they don’t make unpopular decisions or that they don’t break their word (just like their male counterparts) but they are strong-willed, determined, often very good leaders and highly resilient. And there are more and more of them and that is what is making some of our (XY chromosome) community extremely nervous. Clever, well placed women are often very, very efficient and very, very much here to stay.

Some examples: Angela Merkel: Ms Merkel, at 58, is a German politician who has been the Chancellor of Germany since 2005, and the Leader of the Christian Democratic Union since 2000. She is the first woman to hold either office. Big boots to fill I’d say. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angela_Merkel
Hillary Clinton
And what about Hilary Clinton? Once she got out from under the ‘First lady’ tag, did she take up knitting ? She did not. She was the 67th United States Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013, under President Barack Obama and a United States Senator for New York from 2001 to 2009. And closer to home, we cannot ignore our own Prime Minister. Love or hate her political leanings (or anyone else’s), becoming the first woman Prime Minister of Australia is no small feat and she was the Leader of the Australian Labor Party from 2010. She is the first woman to hold either office.

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And away from the pollies: Oprah. She's known just by her first name: that's a very good start and for her self-titled, multi-award-winning talk show "The Oprah Winfrey Show" which was the highest-rated program of its kind in history and was nationally syndicated from 1986 to 2011. She has been ranked the richest African-American of the 20th century, the greatest black philanthropist in American history, and was for a time the world's only black billionaire. She is also, according to some assessments, the most influential woman in the world.[There are so many more who were inventors, scientists, doctors… It was a woman who invented Liquid Paper, Bette Nesmith Graham; Lady Mary Wortley Montagu created the first smallpox vaccine; Rosalind Franklin played a pivotal role in mapping out the double helix of DNA in the 1950s; Helen Greiner cofounded iRobot-a packbot that dismantles explosives (source: http://lifestyle.allwomenstalk.com/things-women-invented-first/) Randice-Lisa Altschul invented the world's first disposable cell phone and who can forget Marie Curie who discovered radium and furthered x-ray technology.

“To those waiting with bated breath for that favourite media catchphrase, the U-turn, I have only one thing to say, you turn if you want to. The lady’s not for turning” – Speech at Conservative Party conference, 1980.

Of those who believe that a successful, powerful woman must be an aberration,get ready for a shock. It is time to accept that strong women are and will increasingly be appointed to positions of power all over the world. And to paraphrase the Baroness, there’s no turning away from that.

Australia, Business Strategy, Corporate sponsorship, Economy, fundraising, Melbourne, Not for Profit Sector, partnerships, philanthropy, Uncategorized, Women in Business

What’s in a name? that which we call a Fundraiser by another name would it be as sweet?

Apologies to Shakespeare… But I’m pondering: Why do we call Fundraisers… well, Fundraisers?  Yes we do the action of raising funds … but that is so much only a part of the end result. What we do more than just raise dollars is build long term relationships and help philanthropists deliver on their own philanthropic goals.

In doing that we must do so much more that is often overlooked in the focus on the bottom line.

If you hire a Sales Person for your sales team, you want certain specific things from them in terms of meeting budget goals and building client relationships.  And clients hopefully are getting a product they want and need in exchange for their cash.

And yet a Fundraiser often must manage more than you’d expect from a sales person and it’s time we found a new description of this much misunderstood role. As a Fundraiser,  if you are to be successful in encouraging others to donate their time, talent and in particular treasure to an organisation, any fundraiser must learn an entire range of skills hidden in the term ‘fundraiser’ .

If you’ve ever met a great Fundraiser then you’d know that we are the sum of many parts. They are often good people managers, good financial managers, have a strong understanding of strategy: can take a helicopter view of a business to understand not just its financial needs but its priorities and urgencies.  They learn how to build long term relationships;  must learn how to recognise a philanthropist’s needs and goals and try to match them with their organisation’s needs and goals. It’s a tricky, sensitive business and one that takes maturity, knowledge and understanding of the role philanthropy plays in any non-profit business’s success.

Perhaps worrying about the title is a red herring. As with many things, it starts with the brief when a recruiter is starting to look for someone who can raise funds.

1. Forget the title: Look for relationship people – that is those who understand other people AND understand money and how it works within a business. 

2. Look for those who understand how to put together a strategic plan and can explain the organisation’s priorities to potential donors.

3. Look for those with a track record – yes, the bottom line does come into it, it’s just not the only thing.

4. Look for a link to your cause. Does the potential recruit really care about what you’re doing.

Just because I started this off looking at the title, I’d like to suggest a few alternative (nice) names for fundraisers:

Chief Relationship Officer; Strategic Prioritiser; Philanthropic Advancer, Bonding Adviser….

Perhaps the US has become more inventive – whatever we call them, fundraisers deliver a very valuable service to our non-profits and I believe it could be time we gave a higher recognition to their varied skills. They bring more to most organisations than just dollars. But as a ‘Strategic Prioritiser’ myself, perhaps I have a bias view. Over to you.

 

Australia, Uncategorized, Women in Business

Dont ask permission (or forgiveness)!

It’s International Women’s Day and I’m mad. No not that sort of mad… I’m assertive, vexed, inquisitive, willing to put the elephant in the corner on to the top of the table and point at it in an annoying way. In a word, I’m being unashamedly Woman and I’m not asking permision or forgiveness.

Sadly, there are so many women in the world who do not have the strength, financial capacity or forum to fight for their rights safely. Australian women have so much of that and yet…  two examples of it today of a sort of unspoken need to have men’s approval of our wants and needs: At an international women’s day breakfast, the (50:50 male female panel) discussed why women were ‘different’ how we can deliver a ‘softer’ side to the boardroom….! Am I in 1952? I heard a senior officer (male) from the Australian army talk on the radio about how he was going to Washington for IWD to talk about getting more women into the Australian armed forces. Was it only me who noticed the irony of the Australian Army NOT sending a women on this mission

“The strength of a woman is not measured by the impact that all her hardships in life have had on her; but by the extent of her refusal to allow those hardships to dictate her and who she becomes.” 
―    C. JoyBell C.

We’ve made huge strides forward; we’ve made change happen. But it is time – now more than ever – to take off the gloves and push in to spaces where we are not wanted, where we will be deliberately provacative by our mere presence and we stand and face what ever is thrown at us.

I wish all women a happy and inspiring International Women’s Day. Be proud of everything you and we have done and everything we will do. With or without permission.