From raising just $10,000 in cash donations in its first year to nearly $700,000 in 2019, Officeworks Back to School Appeal has gone from strength to strength.

The Smith FamilyStudents doing it tough will receive much-needed support for their education, thanks to the success of the 2019 Officeworks Back to School Appeal in partnership with The Smith Family.

Nationally customers shopping in-store and online raised close to $700,000 for the children’s education charity – enough to sponsor more than 1,100 disadvantaged students through The Smith Family’s Learning for Life program.

This is the sixth year Officeworks has run a Back to School Appeal, asking customers to pay it forward by purchasing a donation card along with their tech, furniture, print and copy or stationery supplies throughout the month of January. At point of sale, online and in store customers can also choose to round up their purchase with the difference donated to the appeal.

Since its inception in 2014, the appeal has gone from strength to strength – from raising just $10,000 in cash donations in its first year to nearly $700,000 in 2019.

“Year on year we have seen incredible growth in the campaign,” said The Smith Family’s Head of Strategy and Philanthropy, Judy Barraclough. “A big part of the success of the campaign is the work we’ve done with Officeworks to engage their teams.

“Our partnership involves deeply engaging their team members and customers around our cause – to provide disadvantaged young Australians with the tools and support they need to succeed at school. Each Officeworks store really takes ownership of the appeal and drives it internally, knowing that the money raised by their store will enable them to sponsor students in the nearest Smith Family community.”

Prior to the appeal launching in 2014, Officeworks had partnered with The Smith Family on a number of smaller initiatives. However, the Back to School Appeal grew out of a desire to have a bigger, more tangible impact.

Officeworks Managing Director, Sarah Hunter, said: “Lots of people probably don’t realise that we live in a country where some children still don’t have access to the basics to help with their learning. The Back to School Appeal is one of the ways we’re helping make a difference in people’s lives, through the passion of our team and kindness of our customers, which makes me so incredibly proud to be part of.”

With over 160 Officeworks stores across the country, the appeal has incredible reach and is helped by a healthy dose of competition between stores.

“We’ve been blown away by the generosity of our customers during this year’s Back to School Appeal and applaud the efforts of our team to make it the biggest year yet. We’re so proud to contribute to the funding of vital programs for students who really need some extra support, to help them grow and develop throughout their education journey and beyond,” said Sarah.

Top tips for a successful partnership

The Smith Family’s Head of Strategy and Philanthropy, Judy Barraclough, shares the principles that underpin the charity’s partnership approach:

  • We seek and steward long-term, mutually beneficial strategic partnerships, with a genuine shared vision, shared objectives and measures of success.
  • We work with all our partners to provide opportunities to make the biggest possible difference to the lives of Australian children and young people in need.
  • We offer many ways for partners to get involved with our work – not just through donations, but also through fundraising, volunteering and programs.
  • Our volunteering experiences involving the students we support provide unique opportunities to connect with a diverse group of young people from our future workforce.

Growing appeal

The Officeworks Back to School Appeal in support of The Smith Family has gone from strength to strength…

2014 – $10k*

2015 – $79k

2016 – $102k

2017 – $235k

2018 – $461k

2019 – $698k

*Cash donations only – in 2014 the focus was on collecting books


The Smith Family is a national, independent children’s charity helping disadvantaged Australians to get the most out of their education, so they can create better futures for themselves. Officeworks is Australia’s leading retailer and supplier of office products and solutions for home, business and education needs.

Subscribe to access this article.

Continue reading your article with an F&P subscription

Join with other top fundraisers to receive insight, analysis and inspiration to help you raise more funds.

subscribe now for $1

Cancel anytime.

Already a subscriber? LOGIN HERE