Thank You Thursday: Bales of Love

Here in Australia we live in the second-driest continent in the world with average rainfall less than 600mm every year on most parts of the land.  Across the country, April to June this year has been the fourth-driest in over 100 years. Drought is definitely upon us.

For many Australians this concept of drought is an abstract thing, but for the farming families living on the land it is their every day reality.  Diminished crops, dwindling feed for livestock, water levels in creeks and dams dry up and eroding land is damaged.

For many farmers, even some in their 60s, this is the worst drought they’ve experienced in their lifetime. And recent rainfalls across parts of NSW have not really made much difference. It will take much longer, and much more rain, to see improvements in agriculture, let alone end the drought.

Two small non-profits have been working to help Aussie farmers before the drought, but are really stepping things up and advocating for them through this really tough time.

Rural Aid was founded in 2015 by Charles and Tracey Alder to provide a holistic support program to rural Australia after hearing about how some farmers were having to shoot their own cattle and being forced off the land. One of their main initiatives is Buy a Bale and helps get bales of hay to farmers in need. A trailer of hay can cost up to $2,500 and sometimes up to $5,000 in transportation costs which can often mean the difference between cattle surviving or not.

Friends Natasha Johnston and Nicki Blackwell began Drought Angels just over four years ago when they heard stories of farmers – who were working hard to feed Aussie families – were struggling to put food on their own tables. Among the support that they provide, they ensure a personalised approach with the provision of food hampers, care packs, prepaid visas, local store vouchers, stock feed and hay.

Rural Day Off is one of their initiatives that invites farming families to a day off their properties. They have a whole day to socialise, feel valued and reminded they are not alone. Mental and emotional wellbeing are an important part of healthy farming communities and the Rural Day Off helps provide some time out in a relaxed and friendly environment.

So this Thank You Thursday, we say the heartiest thanks to the founders of these two wonderful organisations and the work that they each do in supporting farmers.  But perhaps the biggest thanks should go to the Aussie farmers who work so hard, day in, day out, for their entire lives to grow the crops and breed the livestock that help feed our country.

See you in the pond,

The Fish Chick.

 

Thank You Thursday: Less Plastics, More Boomerangs

On the weekend, Western Australia and Queensland introduced state-wide bans on thin plastic bags, joining Northern Territory, ACT, Tasmania and South Australia – who was first to ban the bags almost 10 years ago now. We’re hoping Victoria and NSW will follow suit soon as some of the biggest retailers also introduced national bans. Billions of single-use plastic bags are given out at major retailers across the country and millions end up in landfill, or damaging the environment in other ways.

There’s been one little non-profit that has been working to reduce plastic bags for a few years, and with these recent bans, things are really heating up for them. Boomerang Bags works to reduce the use of plastic bags by engaging local communities in the making of Boomerang Bags – community made, using recycled materials.

Businesses and shops in towns and suburbs across the country have been introducing Boomerang Bags in the hundreds. The idea is then that customers treat them like boomerangs, using them to take their purchases home and then bringing bags back to the store another day.

Boomerang Bags began on the Gold Coast in 2013. Two locals, Tania Potts and Jordyn de Boer, wanted to do something about reducing the number of plastic bags in their local beachside community of Burleigh Heads. Today there are hundreds of Boomerang Bag communities across the country and has expanded internationally now as well.

Boomerang Bags are a simple, yet meaningful way to connect with others in just four easy steps…

  1. Connect to a bag community or start your own
  2. Collect materials – scrap materials, old quilts, table cloths are great
  3. Make the bags – get together with your group and get sewing
  4. Put them to use again, and again, and again!

Have a watch of this short video…

 

While plastic bags are not the only problematic materials creating havoc with our environment – and most notably sea life such as fish, whales and turtles – reducing the usage of plastic bags is a great first step as a country we can do in reducing our waste. And it’s been so fabulous to have the team at Boomerang Bags – and the many communities of volunteers around the country – making headway with this journey.

See you in the pond,

The Fish Chick.

More Conferences and Meeting The Footy Lady

March was a busy month, with The Fish Chick presenting three different presentations at two conferences. The Collins & Co Not-for-profit Conference was held at the MCG on 15th March and the inspiring Susan Alberti AC was the keynote speaker.

Bianca’s two presentations, The Power of People and Key Tools for Small Charity Success, were well received and some attendees provided some really lovely feedback.

Excellent presentation Bianca. Many thanks. Your clarity and relaxed style makes it a pleasure to listen to you.

The Fish Chick was thrilled to here Sue speak about respect, responsibility and making a difference. And as a successful businesswoman and philanthropist, Sue told her story of passion, generosity and an incredible ability to take on the seemingly impossible and triumph.

Bianca was also later both delighted and honoured to meet Sue in person, and, as a fellow Western Bulldogs fan, have her sign a copy of her biography, The Footy Lady.

FIA Conference 2018

The Fish Chick recently presented at the 2018 Fundraising Institute’s conference in Sydney as part of the Toolbox track.

Her presentation was a practical session that delved into the key components of a fundraising strategy – a key document that every organisation needs.

The 8am session attracted a room full of eager participants ready to learn and early feedback has been very positive:

I attended your session on at FIA 2018 and wanted to say how much I enjoyed it. There was a lot to take in given the time available but it was choc-full of useful tips and a simple guide, which I plan to use as a framework as I build our own FR strategy.

 

Fundraising strategy is a topic that comes up as you know at every conference (and I have been to a few of them), but your approach really stood out for me as a way to demystify the thinking around this. Your fundraising strategy structure is so simple and practical but is still comprehensive in terms of what needs to be covered. Thank you so much for sharing.

 

It was great to be part of such an inspiring conference this year and big thanks to all involved in organising a fabulous program.

Thank You Thursday: Give Simply this Christmas

With Christmas a mere few weeks away, I’m wondering if anyone else has felt like it has snuck up on them? No matter how much time I have – or in the case of this year, don’t have – for Christmas shopping I always like to make the effort to make an extra donation of sorts to a children’s charity or similar.

And this year, given I’m going to be pressed for time, I think I’ve found the perfect solution to spread a little extra cheer.

Simply Giving is an online toy drive facility bringing convenience, cost-savings and appropriateness to the giving process. They do this by partnering with charities and establish a branded page to facilitate a toy drive.

The business was founded about ten years ago as a way to assist charities reduce their costs, increase their donations and increase their efficiency of getting donated gifts to those in need.

Simply Giving not only provides the digital interface for charities, they also store and coordinate the toys in their warehouse before distributing them to various locations around the country – effectively taking the logistical challenges away. This makes it super easy for donors and the organisations who now only have to deliver to families and children.

Since beginning it has facilitated the giving of over $2m worth of toys. For charities in need of sourcing toys for their beneficiaries, or donors hoping to get into the spirit of giving, you need to connect with Simply Giving.

So, this Thank You Thursday, we say howdy to the team of elves at Simply Giving for helping bring Santa into the digital age and making an otherwise busy time of the year just that little bit easier for charities.

See you in the pond,

The Fish Chick.

Two Feet Gained for Fish

Earlier this year we were offered a place in the Two Feet accelerator program for social enterprises with The Difference incubator (TDi).

Wow, what a busy six months it has been and so much white-boarding! Haha! From refining our intent and theory of change, to identifying key the challenges of our client-base so we can better work with small charities. As the course comes to an end it has been nice to reflect on the experience.

In addition to learning from the expert presenters and business coaches, it was wonderful to connect with other social entrepreneurs and relate to their experiences too.

As part of the program we’ve developed a new initiative that will help connect and better support small charities across Australia. We hope to launch this in early 2018, so stay tuned. Exciting times ahead!