Industry insider: March fundraising news

Catch up on our March fundraising news! Find out all the activity, moves and news within fundraising and philanthropy. Lise Taylor reports. You are welcome to email her with your news at



finz conference 17FINZ Annual Conference: go to the edge of the emerging future of fundraising…

If you're based in New Zealand or just want an excuse to go there, don't miss the Fundraising Institute of New Zealand Annual Conference. It is the premier learning event for fundraisers and charity and community sector leaders and those doing great things for good causes in New Zealand. It's being held at the Rydges Lakeland Resort in Queenstown, with masterclasses on Wednesday 3 May and the two-day conference on Thursday and Friday 4 and 5 May with topics and sessions for every level of fundraiser and fundraising director.

Keynote speakers include experts from the US, UK, Australia and New Zealand, including Michael Whitney (USA), Stephen George (UK) and Sommer Davies (Australia).

See the full conference program here and register for conference here.



aegn conferenceStatement in response to Australian Government State of the Environment report 2016

On Tuesday 7 March the Australian Government released its fifth State of the Environment report (SoE). The AEGN recognises the significance of this report, which is prepared by independent scientists and released every five years, and believes this year’s edition presents a bleak outlook and demands an urgent and catalytic response.

The State of the Environment report ensures that the health of Australia’s environment is tracked, reviewed and reported on. It provides recommendations so that policy makers, the public and philanthropy can direct scarce resources and efforts where they are most needed.

The report highlights serious declines since the SoE 2011 in many areas of concern to philanthropists who are members of the AEGN. These include the continued loss of Australia’s unique flora and fauna, land clearing, invasive species and urban development. New and emerging threats are also highlighted, including significant increases in marine waste, particularly micro plastics. However, one area that affects all aspects of humanity is the escalating impact of climate change.

The report demonstrates some improvements, including conservation covenants with private landowners, citizen science and Indigenous Protected Areas. Many of these improvements are the result of individual and community action, often with philanthropic support.

Amanda Martin, CEO of the AEGN said: “A healthy environment is the bedrock of our economy and our wellbeing. Armed with the knowledge presented in the SoE 2016, the AEGN calls upon the philanthropic sector, and those who desire a healthier environment, to be bigger and bolder in their funding. The impact on humanity will be irreversible if we do not act now in a bold and strategic way. Philanthropy has the opportunity to play a key role in turning this around over the next decade.

“It is vital that philanthropy continues to recognise and support leaders who are taking on these environmental challenges. We are equipped with a skilled and effective community sector which is the powerhouse of change, and a scientific sector which is world-renowed for its environmental research and policy application. Philanthropy can support these people and organisations so that they can help lead the transition into a new era where we are not reliant on fossil fuels and can care properly for our natural world.

“Many donors ask the question ‘but what can I do that will make a difference?’ The AEGN, its members and expert advisers can help donors identify solutions where philanthropy can make a difference.”

The State of the Environment report will provide the focus of this year’s AEGN conference to be held at Cargo Hall, Melbourne, from 2-4 May 2017. For full conference program and registrations visit

For more information on the State of the Environment report visit


accor hotels fundAccorHotels launches the Community Fund

AccorHotels Australia has founded a Community Fund, a unified identity where money raised through national fundraising initiatives will be directed.

The AccorHotels Community Fund is committed to building healthy families by supporting three focus areas – youth, health and wellbeing and diversity – through four foundation partners: Kokoda Youth Foundation, The Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Lifeline and AIME Mentoring.

Money raised through AccorHotels' national fundraising efforts will go directly to key focus projects within these charities during the term of the three-year agreement.

Simon McGrath, COO of AccorHotels Pacific, said, “AccorHotels has a history of giving over the past 25 years in Australia and we have donated in excess of $5 million to charity. In ascertaining our ambitions for the next 25 years and our contribution and commitment to the Australian community, we decided to set up our own Community Fund; a passion project that aligns with our values and is designed to have even greater impact.

“We see investment in mental health, cancer research, Indigenous employment and supporting our youth as being critical to the nation’s wellbeing and to this I am delighted to have our four founding partners on board.”

The Garvan Institute of Medical Research will be directing Community Fund money into Rare and Neglected Cancer Research Programs, Lifeline will use the funds for their Text Crisis Support Project, AIME Mentoring funds will help grow the mentoring program from 6,000 to 10,000 Indigenous high school students by 2020, and Kokoda Youth Foundation will direct funds to their On the Right Track Program, a program that targets Year 9 students with learning, behavioral or social challenges which detract from educational outcomes.

Throughout 2017, over 10,000 staff across 200 AccorHotels Australian properties will be fundraising through a variety of initiatives with a goal of raising $800,000 for the Community Fund. The culmination of the year’s fundraising efforts will result in a three-day adventure challenge – ‘Race to Survive’ – in association with the Kokoda Youth Foundation, where teams compete in a survival of the fittest adventure race on the Gold Coast in October 2017. To find out more visit

Image (from left): Executive Chairman Kokoda Youth Foundation Doug Henderson, AccorHotels Pacific COO Simon McGrath, AIME CEO Jack Manning Bancroft and Chief Scientific Officer Garvan Institute of Medical Research Dr Marie Dziadek.


nobody knew what a flower could doDebut Australian author seeks to make the world a better place for local kids who’ve experienced trauma with inspiring new children’s book

Written by Eddie Hadzig and illustrated by Sunshine Herbert, Nobody Knew What a Flower Could Do is an inspirational children’s book about following your dreams, which traces the story of a young boy named Max and his pursuit of a rare flower.

At the heart of the book is a simple message: while we all have big dreams of making the world a better place, sometimes changing only one person’s life can be just as amazing.

Eddie Hadzig, House with No Steps Area Manager for South West Queensland, was so inspired with the spirit of the book when writing it that he decided to embark on his own project to change to world for the better. “I thought, how can I make the book change peoples’ lives? That’s how I came up with Project Max,” said Hadzig.

Project Max will see a portion of the sale of each book go towards the establishment of innovative programs based on mindfulness that will aim to enhance the lives of young people who have experienced childhood trauma.

“Through my work at House with No Steps, I’ve helped many children who have experienced trauma. Seeing them trying to cope day-to-day, in a world that doesn’t make a lot of sense, is a huge challenge,” Eddie said. “It made me think it would be great to raise funds that could be used for projects and resources to support them.”

“Max’s story is not just about pursuing a dream but also his attitude and how he chooses to believe in positive outcomes because he is in a state of mindfulness, and it is through the philosophy of mindfulness that we will focus the new programs funded by Project Max,” he said.

A self-published book, Nobody Knew What a Flower Could Do is available at for $4 with $2 per book going towards Project Max.


Energy Pledge imageFree donation model helps to fund initiatives for nonprofits

An innovative fundraising model launched by social enterprise Energy Pledge is helping nonprofits such as The Tipping Foundation, Sands and Starlight Children’s Foundation to raise funds at no cost while at the same time saving their supporters money.

Energy Pledge, which was was founded by four executives experienced in energy, marketing and technology, uses an existing energy brokerage model where supporters switch to a cheaper energy provider and thereby donate $40 to a cause of their choice. The $40 donation comes from the commission Energy Pledge receives from the energy retailer the donor moves to. 

The free $40 donations complement nonprofits' fundraising efforts, while also rewarding supporters with savings and a reduction in their carbon footprint. It is said to be particularly effective with loyal supporters and people who would like to donate but who are not in a position to do so.

The most recent initiative funded by Energy Pledge’s model was for The Tipping Foundation, a charity that supports people with disability. Its goal of raising $1,500 was achieved in two months as a result of people switching to a better deal with Energy Pledge. The Tipping Foundation had been working towards raising funds for purchasing two lawn mowers and garden trimming equipment for its volunteering centre in Morwell.

"Energy Pledge’s approach helped us to fund this requirement quickly and with little effort. We were very happy with this result and look forward to working with Energy Pledge on the next initiative,” says Michael Smitheram, Senior Fundraising Manager.

To set up a campaign with Energy Pledge, email Managing Director, Dinesh on


Anthony ryan youngcareThe Benevolent Society now a leader in the provision of specialist disability community support

Australia’s oldest charity, The Benevolent Society, has been chosen as the new operator of Australia’s largest provider of clinical services for people with disability, “demonstrating that an nonprofit can remain competitive and true to mission in an increasingly commercial environment,” says CEO Jo Toohey.

“The transition of community services funding directly to recipients through the NDIS and CDC will continue to attract new private and international organisations so we need to remain competitive and relevant to our customers,” says Toohey. “Many nonprofits will find this difficult, but we have set firm goals around social outcomes underpinned by an ambitious growth target and commitment to innovation. Being chosen to take on NSW’s Specialist Disability Community Support is a significant step towards our vision to help all Australians live their best lives.” 

The NSW Minister for Disability Services, The Hon. Ray Williams, made the announcement on 2 March that The Benevolent Society was selected as the new provider for NSW’s disability clinical services, which are currently part of the NSW Department of Family and Community Services.

“We anticipate the merger of The Benevolent Society with approximately 7,000 clients and 800 staff from specialist disability services will create a much stronger Benevolent Society and enable us to increase accessibility to services for more Australians,” added Toohey.

Image (from left): The Benevolent Society CEO Jo Toohey, The Benevolent Society Board Director Rob Warren, The Benevolent Society Chairman Lisa Chung, The Hon. Ray Williams, Minister for Disability Services, and Jim Longley, Deputy Secretary, Ageing, Disability and Home Care (standing).


Anthony ryan youngcareNew CEO at Youngcare

Anthony Ryan joined the Youngcare team as CEO in November 2016, bringing with him a reinvigorated vision to lead the organisation into its next crucial phase.

With Ryan at the helm, Youngcare says it will be actively pursuing partnerships to amplify its goal of supporting the 700,000 young people currently living in, or at risk of, entering aged care across Australia.

Prior to joining Youngcare, Ryan was CEO of the Edmund Rice Foundation for four years and founding Director of the Mimiki Foundation, which provides aid and support to marginalised youth in South East Queensland and South Africa. He has extensive experience across the nonprofit, business, education and stockbroking sectors.

In 2009, Ryan was a recipient of a Queensland Great Award for his work establishing Eddie’s Street Van and Paddie’s Van assisting Brisbane’s homeless, street kids and elderly. In May 2017, he will be walking 250km across the Simpson Desert to raise vital funds and awareness for young people with high care needs.


aet grantsLaunch of the AET Discretionary Grants Program

Australian Executor Trustees (AET), one of Australia’s largest professional trustee organisations, recently launched its AET Discretionary Grants Program for 2017/2018 at an event in Adelaide.
The AET Discretionary Grants Program brings together 13 charitable trusts whose donors have entrusted AET to make granting decisions on their behalf. The Program will grant up to $600,000 to eligible charitable organisations before 30 June 2017.
The aim of the Program is to invest in South Australian based not-for-profit organisations (or those delivering programs in South Australia) that are building organisational capacity and effectiveness.
Funding will be provided to eligible organisations that demonstrate leadership through: adapting their organisation and revenue models; developing capability in their staff, volunteers or partners through professional learning opportunities; and developing new and innovative programs.

The AET Discretionary Grants Program forms part of the nearly $6 million AET will distribute to Australian charities in 2017 as trustee on behalf of over 100 charitable trusts.

The funding round opens on 27 February 2017 and closes on 1 May 2017. Organisations that meet the funding criteria for the AET Discretionary Grants Program and are endorsed as Item 1 Deductible Gift Recipients are encouraged to apply. Expressions of interest should be emailed to For more information, click here.


nab rewardsTech guns gathered to advise Good2Give

Giving innovator Good2Give has established a Technology Advisory Group that collectively brings more than 100 years of knowledge to steer the organisation on technology, trust, security and digital innovation.

Referred to at Good2Give as the ‘TAG’, the advisers include:

  • Business futurist and former lead in technology at Macquarie Bank and KPMG, Margaret Wright

  • Digital communications guru and founder of the Disruptor’s Handbook, Gavin Heaton

  • Atlassian Senior Trust and Security Manager, Bill Marriott

  • Former IBM Executive, Michael Graf

  • Good2Give Board Director and Principal of Good Reason, Stephen Garrett.

The advisory group also includes Good2Give’s CEO, Lisa Grinham, and Head of Product Development and Technology, Jared Ortlipp.

Good2Give is revolutionising how people give at work through its purpose-built online solutions for workplace giving, grants and foundations – making corporate community investment a reality throughout Australia and aiming to deliver $300 million to charitable communities by 2020.

“We’ve got an ambitious goal and we need to be innovative, creative and careful about how we develop the right technology to make giving easy and effective in Australia,” says Grinham. “We’ve gathered the best minds in the business of IT infrastructure and digital communications to work with us on our solutions and ensuring the service we provide is keeping pace, secure and trustworthy.

Recent innovations in service delivery at Good2Give include:

  • Providing donors with a personalised dashboard to track their giving journey, including how much they have given over a specific period of time and to which charities.

  • Developing customised sign-up pages for participating companies so they can engage their staff in their specific corporate giving initiatives.


sage foundationSage Foundation launches US$1 million Enterprise Fund to back the brightest ideas from smaller nonprofits

On 24 February, cloud accounting software company Sage launched the Sage Foundation Enterprise Fund. The new $1 million fund is open to nonprofits with enterprising ideas to help improve the lives of military veterans, young people or women and girls.

The $1 million will be split between two rounds of US$500,000; with the second round ready for release in July 2017. Applications for the first round are open until 5 April; grants between US$5,000 and US$35,000 will then be awarded to successful applicants.   

Sage Foundation is especially keen to support organisations that are currently small but have ambitions to expand, grow and deliver sustainable change. It is also hoped the fund will support traditionally hard to fundraise needs such as capital projects, core running costs or new ideas.

Sage Foundation will be playing a central role at the upcoming Sage Summit conference in Melbourne (2-3 March) where three entrepreneurial charities will take part in the Big Give. Each charity will ‘pitch’ to keynote attendees, whose votes will then determine which organisation gets the largest slice of an AUD$15,000 funding pool.

Click here to apply.


betty amsdenOne of Australia’s most inspiring and beloved philanthropists, Miss Betty Amsden AO, will be greatly missed

Melbourne philanthropist, Betty Amsden AO, passed away peacefully in her sleep overnight on 25-26 February, aged 90.

Anyone who had the privilege of knowing Betty will tell you she was one of the warmest and most spirited people you could ever hope to meet. She always had a twinkle in her eye and a big grin that spoke volumes about her life of adventure.

Her humanity was legendary, both in terms of her generosity as a philanthropist and the warmth she bestowed upon those around her: associates, friends, kids, puppies, staff at the Arts Centre cafe – it didn’t matter who you were or where you were from, Betty was everyone’s friend. Mind you, she wasn’t afraid to speak her mind.

Betty’s generosity spanned the arts spectrum and beyond. Melbourne Chamber Orchestra, the Arts Centre Foundation, the Australian Ballet School, Orchestra Victoria, Polyglot Theatre and Guide Dogs Victoria all enjoyed her support.

Her community mindedness and work ethic were legendary: “The harder you work, the luckier you get!” she counselled. “My money wasn’t handed to me on a silver platter. I’ve worked really hard. I’m not a Pratt or a Potter, I’m just Betty Amsden doing my bit in the little way I can.”

One of Betty’s closest mentoring relationships, which, over the years, came to be more of a familial relationship, was with Melbourne-based arts philanthropist, James Ostroburski.

“Over the past five years, Betty had become the voice in the back of my head. Generosity and love formed part of her DNA,” James says fondly. “She was a mentor, a fairy grandmother (to many) and an outstanding Australian. I will miss her like crazy.”

Melbourne Women’s Fund founders Pat Burke and Gillian Hund honoured Betty’s passionate and fearless spirit. “A wise woman, a great friend, a very generous philanthropist, Betty will be remembered for her quickness of mind, absolute commitment to the organisations receiving her support and her great belief that through example we can, and should, become vital members of our own giving community.”

Guide Dogs Victoria's CEO Karen Hayes says, “For over 35 years, Betty has been an extraordinary force championing the rights of people with low vision or blindness to live rich and fulfilling lives. While many supporters focused on the Guide Dog, Betty’s heart was always about what the Guide Dog could do for the person, and she advocated tirelessly for the stories of our clients’ achievements to be told.
“Over the course of the last seven years, Betty has been an extremely active and influential member of the Board and as Vice Patron, providing a level of leadership and stewardship of immense value and insight. It is no overstatement, when I say that Guide Dogs Victoria would not be where it is today without Betty’s amazing insight and passion. She has provided the greatest and most enduring service to Guide Dogs Victoria and her legacy will remain forever.”
Betty didn’t just write cheques, she rolled up the sleeves and got involved with the organisations she supported attending performances, working on sausage sizzles, sitting on boards, and staying in close contact with the scholarship recipients she funded.

But the last word surely goes to Betty herself, who, as one of philanthropy’s most passionate advocates, never missed an opportunity to encourage others to give: “There is joy in giving – I just love it. I wish I had twenty times the money I have so I can do 20 times more good. You can’t take it with you – you might as well do something with it while you’re here.”



fundraising professionalThe Businesswomen’s Hall of Fame honours Australia’s top female business trailblazers for 2017

The Businesswomen’s Hall of Fame has recognised a prestigious collective of quiet achievers, high profile industry leaders, emerging entrepreneurs, and champions of the community and nonprofit sectors as its 2017 inductees.
Now in its 19th year, the Businesswomen’s Hall of Fame recognises Australia’s female business trailblazers.
“The collective influence that women entrepreneurs have on business in Australia has never been as cohesive and prominent as it is now,” says Dafnis, CEO of HerBusiness. “The women inducted into this year’s Hall of Fame are incredibly inspiring with stories of determination and passion that have set them on paths to success – paths that often have quite a few big bumps along the way.”
“Being a business owner is one of the most rewarding, yet challenging, experiences a woman can have. The Hall of Fame shines a light on Australia’s most talented women entrepreneurs and shares their authentic stories, which inspire other women to be bold and confident in business – even when the going gets rough or they lose their mojo. Successful women inspire other women to strive for success,” says Dafnis.
The 18 entrepreneurs inducted into the Businesswomen’s Hall of Fame in 2017 stem from industries as diverse as health and beauty to agriculture and farming, construction and mining to fashion and homewares. They include both established and emerging business owners and champions of the not-for-profit and burgeoning social enterprise sectors.
Every year the Hall of Fame inductees are asked to share their business story and success secrets. Some of this year’s keys to success include:
Overcome fear and take calculated risks as a catalyst for change in business
“Investing in cloud systems as early as we did was a brave decision and we followed our gut instincts as entrepreneurs. When your business is moving fast, it's important to trust yourself and not stall your progress with paralysis by analysis.” Kelly Baker-Jamieson, Founder, Edible Blooms
Never underestimate your impact, accomplishments and abilities – don’t fall victim to the Imposter Syndrome
“The key is to embrace the evidence, have the courage to lead where others follow and to enjoy the journey for what it is.” Kim Liddell, NDEA – Non-Destructive Excavations Australia.

“It's a very common feeling. I stop and look at what it was like before I started, and look at the growth I have achieved since then. I also stop comparing myself to others.” Roslyn Campbell, Founder, Tsuno.

Surround yourself with a solid support team, including networks and a board
“One of the things that I took very seriously from day one was that I needed to access expertise and experience that I did not have. To counter that I formed a board that had expertise in areas such as corporate governance, law, finance, science and marketing. It was not an easy thing to do for a start-up company but I consider myself very lucky and have formed a great relationship and respect for my board members.” Leanne Preston, Founder, Wild Child
Pay it forward: find yourself a great mentor, then be one to someone else
“My mentors have provided amazing insights and experiences that have gifted me with great guidance and more knowledge. When times have been really tough, they have believed in me and the future of the business and have also given me very honest and relevant feedback when I've needed it most. They have all variously provided me with mental strength and ‘carried me forward for an hour' when I have been exhausted by the enormity of some of the challenges that I have faced. I know that Manbulloo would not be in as strong a position if I had not had mentors.  There are a few situations that I wonder whether Manbulloo would have survived without them.” Marie Piccone, Managing Director, Manbulloo
Find a healthy balance and create boundaries between work and personal
“You need to schedule in a meeting with yourself every day. This is the time where you need to focus and recharge, whether it be going to the gym, a walk, sleeping in or meditation.” Teresa Cutter, Owner, The Healthy Chef