It’s an interesting experience to put pen to paper and share one’s own view of the world When I started my first fundraising job, I never imagined fundraising would become my life long career and commitment. In fact I tried many times to get out of fundraising! Recently I have done this by taking on a CEO role I love. But I’ve found, whatever your role, if you work in a charity, the subject of and need for fundraising will always come up.
It’s a truism that no charity ever has enough resources. Yet we manage to do extraordinary things with the resources we do have and many achievements would only happen because charities take action. I have often wondered what more we could achieve if we pooled our resources and worked on our goals more collaboratively.
I believe a good plan today will always out perform a great plan ‘some time in the future’. I hope we can work together more effectively to solve some of the world’s trickier problems. We certainly need all of us coming up with solutions to win the day.
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/ .
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.
Three Royal Spoonbills preening
I 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!
Red Necked Avocets
Red Necked Avocets
Red Necked Avocet
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!
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.
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.
Red Browed Finch in She Oak
Little Wattlebird looking down from a towering gum
White Eared Finch
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.
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.
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 🙂
It’s that time of year when you reflect on your accomplishments, celebrate your successes, and plan a path for the future. One thing we all need as we delve into 2017 with our global dream is a healthy dose of inspiration. Hopefully, we are giving you a little of that here at WEGG but in case you need more, read the article below for stories about how women overcame challenges and grew their businesses beyond borders.
In 2017, may you be globally ambitious! We look forward to learning, growing and inspiring one another together in the new year.
Follow Louis Vuitton: Connect with community, increase brand loyalty … and sales.
Today I see Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH) is investing more than A$155m in a contemporary art museum and performance space via the Fondation Louis Vuitton. A little grand, I’ll admit but essentially it confirms the adage: connect with your community and your sales will benefit. CEO of LVMH Monseiur Bernard Arnault commented that the new museum in Paris is about sharing its values with the public. It’s certainly saying ‘we’re nice people, you would do well to do business with us’. And if Louis Vuitton sees the benefit of it, a brand that is synonymous with luxurious style and good taste, it would seem a good idea for us all to consider.
For instance, I’m delighted to see that Macy’s in the US raised more than US$3m with their Shop for a Cause promotion. Shop For A Cause is an all-day shopping pass for 25% off regular, sale and clearance merchandise throughout the store. Money raised helps many US charities.
As many of you may know, I believe corporate philanthropy is an oxymoron: I’m very keen on the idea that when companies help charities it’s a two-way arrangement – i.e. both sides benefit. After all, its their shareholders’ money that they are contributing so share holders usually want some kind of return on their investment. So I like the Macy’s model. I’d guess LVMH is not just in it for the continuing respect it creates for their brand but for the ongoing sales which may ensue.
But we don’t all have the resources of an international brand so I thought I’d share a few ways I’ve come across for companies to give back to the community and build their own sales and brand. That’s also why I started my own retail trading website http://www.joynin.com to assist Australian corporates and NFPs work together to mutual advantage.
Here are 7 ways companies with great products to make more sales and support their favourite charity.
Create an offer that benefits the charity and your brand. In Macy’s case, the charity sells discount vouchers for $5 each . The customer then uses those vouchers in store to obtain the Macy’s discount. Macy’s makes a sale (albeit discounted but they do that presumably with regular seasonal promotions) and the charity gets the $5.00. A good mutual benefit. And doesn’t Macy’s look good!? Balletonet in Australia will donate $5 from every pair of ballet flats purchased in October, to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. All ways to raise funds for charity and increase sales.
Offer useful goods in kind to drive PR opportunities. This is a common way companies offer to help charities: by providing goods and services at no or very low cost instead of actual cash. Valuable goods in kind should replace something that the NFP would otherwise have paid for therefore saving them real cash they can apply elsewhere. So most NFPs need assistance with accounting, auditing, IT, advertising. Can you help them cover the costs of these services by providing measurable, reliable assistance that you can then leverage in PR?
Skilled volunteering. This is a continuation of providing goods in kind but usually its called pro bono or skilled volunteering. By providing NFPs with skilled resources they would otherwise have to pay for, you do at least two things: You improve the knowledge and acumen of the NFP and you give your own staff members interesting opportunities to expand their business knowledge in new environments. A win:win.
Joint promotion to each others’ customers and market segments. When you work with a NFP to promote your business and your relationship with them, you potentially open up new markets or deepen penetration into both of your primary target audience segments. In this way, you attract new potential donors (or visitors, stakeholders) for the NFP and your business grows by selling products to new customers. When you create an attractive offer, both sides benefit.
Link to each others’ websites. A simple link and a profile of your charity partnerships on your website linking to theirs is a great way to promote their cause and show how much you care. It can enhance your brand equity.
Donate your discount! Don’t like offering discounts? Consider offering your customers the choice of say, 10% off a product which you’ll donate to a worthy cause. Research has shown that consumers respond to this kind of cause related marketing.
Make explicit your choice of charity or NFP partnership. By strategically considering and getting your staff involved with the decision on which organisation or cause you partner with, you are:
much more likely to create a mutually beneficial relationship.
able to do more good for that cause by focusing on it
likely to reduce the number of generic solicitations you receive from other organisations requesting support
able to build relationships with key business leaders and collaborate on more interesting and longer term projects
Joynin.com is a great new retail website that directs donations from sales of your products to your favourite cause. Help retain your brand values and raise much-needed funds for your favourite charity. To find out more visit www.joynin.com
I do hope this was helpful for you. I am always looking out for ways to help NFP organisations raise much-needed funds in the most economical and transparent way possible. Please do share your thoughts with me. And if you have a favourite NFP organisation (that includes sporting clubs, schools, hospitals etc.) that could use some donations, why not nominate them at www.joynin.com/ Happy shopping!
Just 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.
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.
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:
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
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.
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!
Now 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!