Advice & Inspiration

Thank You Thursday: Trash Talkin’

Chilli Beach is a really remote location in north Queensland, which takes two days of driving mostly on dirt tracks to get to from Cairns. It’s part of the coastline of Cape York Peninsula and could possibly be one of Australia’s most polluted beaches. What is most shocking, though perhaps, is that the rubbish there is not left from beach-goers because there are not many people that visit this beach due to its remoteness. It is purely rubbish that has washed up on the beach from the ocean.

2017 Fish Scholarship Winner Announced

2017 was the fourth year of our Fish Scholarship and we’re thrilled to announce it has been awarded to Mandy Linsley from Smile for Me.

Smile for Me is an Australian-based charity that works to improve the lives of children in the Philippines born with cleft lip and cleft palate deformities. They use the time and expertise of volunteer medical teams to perform the necessary surgeries to correct these birth defects that affect 1-2 in every 1000 Filipino children.

As a registered nurse, Mandy (pictured above) is one of these dedicated volunteers, as well as the fundraising officer and a Board Member of Smile for Me. Her enthusiasm for improving the lives of children and the work of the organisation is inspiring.

I want to learn more so we can secure the organisation and ensure we can continue to help the children in the Philippines. There is an overwhelming need for this life-changing surgery.

Fish Community Solutions’ Director, Bianca Crocker, is looking forward to seeing the progress that Mandy can have after being awarded the Fish Scholarship.

Mandy’s application demonstrated her understanding of the challenges faced by small charities and the complexities of the sector. We are confident that with a little extra support and guidance, Mandy will be able to learn the basics of fundraising theory to improve the success of Smile for Me.

Mandy hopes the Fish Scholarship will help her to fundraise more and allow her to teach others in the team to help with the fundraising.

I aim to learn more about fundraising this year so that I can develop a fundraising program that ensures we help as many children as we can. We raised enough for our recent mission but I have so much to learn to make this a and successful charity.

Here at Fish, we’ve very excited about our 2017 Fish Scholar and we congratulate Mandy on this achievement.

Thank You Thursday: Inspiring Philanthropy

The Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove, approved 891 awards in the Queen’s Birthday Honours this year, many among them were philanthropists and individuals involved in the charity sector. One appointment made was to Chris Cuffe, for distinguished service to the community as an advocate for philanthropy, as a supporter of improved financial efficiencies in charitable organisations, and to the funds management industry.

Private ancillary funds (or PAFs as they are known) are structures for strategic long-term giving that can offer donors tax deductibility, flexibility, and more meaning with their charitable giving. Since being introduced in 2001, there are now over 1,400 PAFs in Australia and collectively they have more than $4b in funds.

Chris Cuffe established a private ancillary fund himself and found the experience frustrating due to the lack of awareness of these structures. While he believed in the model, he quickly learned it was not that well known amongst wealthy Australians and their advisers. So, to inspire and support more individuals and families to use this structure to manage their giving, Chris founded Australian Philanthropic Services, a non-profit organisation helping increase the impact of giving and build the sustainability of those within the sector.

“The difference between a merely prosperous society and a truly great one lies in the strength of its non-profit sector.”

Chris also founded the Third Link Growth Fund, an equities investment fund that also donates to a number of charities that provides an opportunity for investors to participate in a professionally managed investment fund, but all fees received from managing the Fund’s investments, go to support the non-profit sector. They currently have about $140m of investors’ funds in it and in less than ten years the Third Link Growth Fund has distributed about $5.7m of donations.

Both of these organisations that Chris founded are supporting the philanthropic sector and inspiring people to be more planned in their giving and support of charities.

So, this Thank You Thursday, we send a big thanks to Chris Cuffe for his work in promoting philanthropy in Australia, and congratulations on your recent Officer of the Order of Australia award.

See you in the pond,

The Fish Chick.

Photo courtesy of The Australian

The Unfunded List

So many grants are written and so many are often left unfunded, even the good ones, simply because there is not enough money to be distributed to every good grant.

More and more today, we are also told by philanthropic bodies that they cannot provide feedback due to the sheer volume of proposals they review. So how do you know if what you’re writing fits into the ‘good’ category or if there are substantial improvements to be made. This proves very challenging.

But now, a relatively new organisation called Unfunded List is supporting organisations working for social outcomes by providing ‘thoughtful and candid feedback’ about unfunded proposals.

If your proposal is selected, it is reviewed (for free!) by an expert in the field and your proposal and associated feedback is added to the Unfunded List website.

Visit the Unfunded List website…

Thank You Thursday: Gifts of Dignity

Last Sunday, 28th May, was Menstrual Hygiene Day. The vision of this initiative is to create a world in which every woman and girl can manage her menstruation in a hygienic way – wherever she is – in privacy, safety and with dignity. While our thoughts may initially go to women and girls in developing countries and the scarcity of sanitary resources they have and lack of education about hygiene, it is important to note that similar challenges are facing women closer to home.

About 46,000 women are homeless across Australia and, for them, menstrual hygiene is an ongoing issue that is often not talked about. Homeless women face the challenge of menstrual management and hygiene EVERY month and from stealing or asking strangers for sanitary products, using old socks, or even dried bark or leaves, these are some of the solutions they turn to.

One young woman decided to change that.

While she is most-known for her role on Neighbours, actress Saskia Hampele has a Bachelor of Social Work degree and has worked in the homeless sector. It is this part of her life that sparked her idea for creating a sustainable solution to this reoccurring problem so many women face.

Shocked by the lack of resources for women struggling to access sanitary care, Saskia decided a sustainable solution was needed, so she took a product that every woman needs, and is using the proceeds to help less fortunate women. Through an organic tampon subscription service, women can have their monthly sanitary products delivered and know that for each box they purchase, one box if being gifted to a woman in need. It’s called Gift Box.

Another organisation working in this same space is the Melbourne Period Project – a local organisation distributing donated sanitary items, like tampons and sanitary pads, to women living on the streets of Melbourne. Founded over three years ago, the small charity believes that the subscription service of Gift Box will be a great help to their service.

And, with more than 220,000 homeless women across the United States, this challenge is faced there too. However, last year, New York’s Mayor, Bill de Blasio, signed a package of legislation increasing access to feminine hygiene products for New York City’s shelter residents, students and inmates, saying: “There should be no stigma around something as fundamental as menstruation. These laws recognize that feminine hygiene products are a necessity – not a luxury”.

He is 100% right. Feminine hygiene is a necessity not a choice or a luxury.

Menstrual Hygiene Day is a global platform to catalyse progress towards a world in which all women and girls manage their menstruation hygienically, with confidence, with dignity and without stigma.

So, this Thank You Thursday, we give a shout out to Saskia and her social enterprise, Gift Box, as well as other initiatives out there doing their bit toward this same goal.

See you in the pond,

The Fish Chick.

Donor Retention is Key

The adage that it’s cheaper to retain a current donor than find a new one is bandied around a lot in fundraising, but I’m beginning to wonder if it’s really understood.

If so, why are so many charities seemingly more concerned about attracting new donors than taking care of the ones they already have – no matter how small that list may be.

Sure, growing our databases is important to our organisations’ survival and ability to have further impact, but unless we have literally zero donors, it will always be more important to retain the ones we have and develop those relationships. So how can we do this?

Donor care is critical. I cannot emphasise that enough. Small improvements in donor retention can have tremendously large improvements in the long-term success and stability of your fundraising.

A fantastic piece of advice from donor relationship expert, Simon Joyaux is to:

First, believe deeply – in your heart and then in your brain – that donors matter.

For more tips from other fundraising experts have a read of this article from npENGAGE here.