Presenting in Perth

Last week, The Fish Chick was in Perth to present at the Fundraising Institute’s WA Fundraising Forum.

With almost half of all philanthropic income for non-profits coming from individuals, the presentation delved into the importance of caring for our donors. Titled Devoted to your Donors, it focused on cultivation, stewardship and acknowledging those that invest the most in us, to ensure they continue to support into the future.

Sharing some key tips on donor engagement and useful examples, Bianca provided encouragement and inspiration for the room full of enthusiastic fundraisers.

Bianca was delighted to be part of a great learning and networking event and enjoyed hearing about both the achievements and challenges of charities in the west.


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.

Thank You Thursday: Finding Good

Last year when I was in Italy I had the delight in meeting a beautiful soul who called herself Mary. A few years earlier, when the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting happened, Mary was particularly upset by it and her Mum reminded her to focus on the good in the world. So her and a friend set up a Facebook page to help share acts of kindness.

Mary and her Mum, Pat.

One thing I most noticed about this bubbly young woman when I met her was how she exuded happiness like she didn’t know that sadness existed. Except she did. Mary lost her Mum, Pat, to cancer four years ago. In fact, it was four years ago, yesterday.

Thank You Thursday: The Keys of Change

What if you could do something that helped create employment for someone that desperately needed it, whilst also giving a gift of inspiration and positivity to both yourself and others? Perhaps it’s time you took a look at The Giving Keys?

A social enterprise born out of the simple idea of providing people with confidence and belief when they needed it most, The Giving Keys was established in Los Angeles. Inspirational words are engraved on old, recycled keys and used as pendants on necklaces, made into bracelets and rings.

The work is undertaken by disadvantaged people who are transitioning out of homelessness. People for whom often this job was their only chance at making a better life for themselves. Over the past few years, as the business started to grow, The Giving Keys partnered with local community organisations including United Way, PATH and Chrysalis, to help find more employees, ensuring that those employed were truly in need and looking for a way to recreate their lives.

As if that doesn’t create enough of a feel-good product, The Giving Keys encourage all wearers of their keys to pay it forward and once they meet someone who needs that message more than them, they pass the pendant on. Here is a short video about the concept:

The brains behind The Giving Keys is Caitlin Crosby, a young woman who grew up in a world of narcissism, glamour and craziness; she grew up in Hollywood. The daughter of an entertainment manager and a model, she rebelled against the world of vanity and started producing items and writing songs and music with the motto ‘Love your flaws’.

One day she had had an idea and got that motto engraved on an old hotel key she had, and the rest, as they say, was history.

Caitlin was destined for big things and it’s such a delight that a lot of the ripples she is making are about empowering others. She is someone who genuinely wants to make a difference in the world, having recently said in a TED talk, “I think it is our responsibility as humans to take care of each other.

The concept of The Giving Keys, and Caitlin herself, are a shining example of Mother Teresa’s quote about helping others ourselves.

This Thank You Thursday, we acknowledge the creativity and kindness of Caitlin Crosby for coming up with The Giving Keys initiative; giving not only confidence and love to key-wearers, but the opportunity for change to key-makers.

See you in the pond,

The Fish Chick.