Advice & Inspiration

Everyday Hero Gift Shop

Everyday Hero 1Christmas is a time of year when many donors feel especially generous.  If your organisation is looking for new ways to enable your donors to give this year, here is one idea you might like to try out.

Your cause can now have their own virtual gift shop through Everyday Hero complete with your organisation’s branding and three virtual gifts of your choice for only $1,495 (plus GST).

There are many gifts to choose from including a toy for a child, a food hamper for a family or even a goat.  All you need to do is tell Everyday Hero which three gifts you would like in your shop and how much you want them to cost.

After purchase of the gifts, eCards are sent to your donors (or their gift recipient) with your logo and an image of their virtual gift.

The gifts are suitable for just about anyone, especially the person who is tricky to buy for. Being easy to set up and simple for donors to use is a big positive.

For more information on getting your charity an Everyday Hero gift shop, click here.

Valuing our Volunteers

Making sure your volunteers feel appreciated is one of the most important things you can do… if you want to keep them around!  After all, they freely give their time and energy and expect little in return – certainly they don’t do it for the money!  There are a number of ways that you can make your volunteers feel special. Here are some ideas below, and while most of them seem quite obvious, I’m surprised at how many non profits forget them!

We’re so glad to see you!

There’s nothing like a warm welcome to greet you on arrival and it’s a sure way to your volunteers heart. Make sure you include your vollies in conversations and let them know that what they are doing is important and valued. Be sure to ask them how their week has been or what they did on the weekend – and take an interest in them as individuals.

Coffee with heart

Include your volunteers in the coffee run

Buy them a coffee! $3.50 is money well spent and such an easy way to show your appreciation.

Ongoing training and opportunities

Where possible offer your volunteers the opportunity to learn new skills through training. Encourage them to develop their volunteer skills within the organisation or take on other roles that they might find interesting or challenging.

By doing so you will increase their feeling of being valued and reduce volunteer turnover. If your volunteer applies for a job elsewhere show your support by providing a written reference or agreeing to be a referee.

Formal recognition

Make sure you tap into the opportunity to thank your volunteers by celebrating International Volunteer Day and National Volunteer Week (NVW). Volunteering Australia has some great information regarding NVW – with everything from celebration tips to Fast Facts about NVW – check out their website for more information here.

Hold your own volunteer thank you function – high tea, barbeque, picnic lunch or breakfast is a great opportunity for a get-together of staff and volunteers. Part of the function could be a formal presentation ceremony where volunteers can be presented with a certificate, badge or organisation t-shirt.

Some non profits hold activities such as bare-foot bowling or a movie night so that volunteers can get a sense of how they fit into the overall structure of the organisation and the good they are doing.

You could also consider nominating your volunteers for awards or even featuring a volunteer in your newsletter.

Don’t forget the little things…

  • Birthday and Christmas cards.
  • An anniversary card highlighting their year(s) of service. Note how they made a difference in your organisation over the past year.
  • A little (or big) card saying well done with a chocolate waiting on their desk following a recent project they completed.

Just say it – “Thank you!”

Just two small words – thank you – but they mean so much. Let your volunteers know you appreciate their time and effort. They could have been spending their time playing tennis, having lunch with friends or having their nails done – instead they chose to help your organisation.

Whilst recognising and celebrating volunteers’ achievements can take some time and planning, it is well worth it as the rewards can be substantial. It will help maintain volunteer loyalty and increase retention levels, which in turn benefits your organisation.

Do you agree with these ways of acknowledging volunteers? Are there any other ways you recognise your unpaid team members? Let us know. 

See you in the pond,

The Fish Chick.

Thank You Thursday: Get Moving Australia

A recent survey revealed that more than half of all Australians do no formal exercise, and despite this alarmingly high number of sedentary lifestyles, more than 63 percent of the population expressed a desire to lose weight. Go figure. Clearly, as a nation our actions aren’t living up to our actions.

Well, whilst this isn’t driven by a charity, one Aussie company is trying to change that by encouraging a change in people’s attitudes to exercise and fitness. It’s clothing brand, Lorna Jane, who have created Active Nation Day.

Taking place this Sunday, September 30th, Active Nation Day is part of the Move Nourish Believe campaign and encourages all Australians to get moving and engage in physical activity. For more than twenty years the brand has inspired women to not only look great when exercising, but to actually get active, and now it’s hoping to get the entire nation moving.

After doing some research with Roy Morgan in late 2011, Lorna Jane realised that we are one inactive country and wanted to play a part in making a shift. Founder, Lorna Jane Clarkson says of the initiative:

“It’s time for the women of Australia to invest in their health and wellbeing and take the first step towards living an active life. Lorna Jane is taking the next crucial step to bring about a fitting change and inspire the nation to get moving.”

They developed the following promotional video to discuss the issue.

As part of the campaign, you can download the free Lorna Jane iPhone app and track your runs, walks or cycles via GPS, motivating you to move for the movement. Once you have completed the workout, you can upload it to the Now Move It website and track it along with your friends’ and the rest of the nation’s activities.

To get involved in some of the free activities happening around the country – check it out here.

While The Fish Chick has been writing Thank You Thursday blogs for some time now, it is the first time I can incorporate one of my personal passions into a post. I’m thrilled to acknowledge Lorna Jane Clarkson, the Lorna Jane brand and the Move Nourish Believe movement for their efforts to not only inspire a nation of women to be fit, but now also tackling Australia’s issues of inactive lifestyles and obesity head on. A brilliant effort.

See you in the pond,

The Fish Chick.

P.S Just quietly, I might add, I’ve been a huge LJ fan for a long time and one of the best things about running my own business is being able to make my LJ wear my unofficial uniform. So an extra little thanks from me too. Lol. ❤

Thank You Thursday: A Taste of Poverty

When was the last time you spent two dollars? Not five dollars but just two. What did you buy? I bet it wasn’t much. You can’t even get a coffee for $2 nowadays, can you?

The average Australian lives on about $94 per day. To be living in extreme poverty in Australia, as defined by the World Bank, you would be living on just $2 per day. That’s $2 every day for food, shelter, health care, education, transport and anything else you might need. Sounds impossible, doesn’t it?

What about just living on $2 worth of food a day, forgetting about the cost of your home, clothing and so on. Could you do that?

Thank You Thursday: Money for Nothing

Last week I came across an initiative that wasn’t only about raising funds for a good cause and creating a better world, but doing something for yourself and creating a better you. And I believe the ‘better you’ that is created will in turn be a healthier and happier member of the community. It is Mindful in May and it is a project developed by Dr Elise Bialylew.

Mindful in May is a one month meditation campaign for both beginner and more experienced meditators that benefits you and raises money to bring clean drinking water to people living in developing countries.

Create a clear mind for you and clean water for others.

Developed as a way of creating support for those who felt time poor but wanted to create a habit of mindfulness in their lives, Mindful in May asks participants to make a donation of at least $20 to go toward bringing clean water to 2 two villages sustaining more than 500 people.

Mindfulness is about paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment and non judgmentally. Throughout the month participants will be supported in learning new skills to enhance their internal resources, whilst simultaneously contributing to bringing external resources to those living in poverty. They will have access to weekly audio meditation downloads, instruction and daily motivation.

I know I’ve talked about the issue of clean water around the world on this blog before, but just to recap; every 20 seconds a child dies from a disease caused by lack of access to safe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene. Mindful in May is an initiative raising funds for Charity: Water and hoping to do something about such statistics.

Basically, the project enables you to do good by doing nothing. 10 minutes of nothing every day for 31 days. I’m getting in on this one. A bit of mindfulness is what this Fish Chick needs right now, and clean water is obviously a necessity for everyone, fish and human alike.

So this Thank You Thursday we acknowledge the work of Dr Elise Bialylew and her efforts to make a difference in the world with Mindful in May.

See you in the (fresh) pond,

The Fish Chick

Thank You Thursday: It Started with a Pig

Many animals in human care in this country are excluded from the protection of Australia’s animal welfare legislation. That is, about 500 million ‘food animals’ (as they are called) endure lives of misery in factory farms as they are without socialisation, sunshine and freedom.

When a lady named Pam Ahern learned of these facts she decided to do something about it and create a place that could be a sanctuary for rescued farm animals.

Edgar Alan Pig – a large white and landrace cross pig – was the first animal Pam rescued from a piggery and she named her sanctuary after him.

Edgar’s Mission aims to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome wherever possible. They seek to create a humane and just world for humans and animals through education, advocacy and empowerment.

The sanctuary is home to over 250 animals so a big part of what Edgar’s Mission does is help care for them. The other part of their work is to run education programs for students and community groups. While being conscious of not telling people what to do, the mission provides information and hopes to inspire people to be have more empathy for animals, respect for the environment and an understanding of the impact they are making on the world around them.

Check out the video below for more information about Edgar’s Mission.

If you’re in Melbourne, Edgar’s Mission have a few open days each year, and being only an hour from Melbourne it’s a a lovely day out. And, in particular, this Sunday (April 15) they have their Kids Day Out.

The Fish Chick thanks Pam and the team at Edgar’s Mission this Thank You Thursday.

See you in the pond,

The Fish Chick