In the spirit of Christmas, we’re bringing you our round-up of the top 12 articles of 2020. No partridges or pear trees were harmed in the making of this list.
Congratulations on making it through a rollercoaster of a year (even if it felt like, at times, you were barely hanging on)! Before 2020 comes to a close, we’ve decided to take a walk down memory lane. I’m sure some of you are thinking, “What?! You’re crazy! Reliving 2020, again!!” And the rest are probably feeling like Christmas couldn’t come any sooner.
Nonetheless, like the ghosts of Christmas past, here’s what you were reading at F&P each month this year.
After the most devastating bushfire season Australia had experienced, one of the greatest concerns for our sector – after, of course, the loss of lives, the destruction of sacred flora and fauna, homes and livelihoods – was what this would mean for fundraising.
At the end of 2019 (which feels like a decade ago), we saw a generous outpouring of donations and assistance to environmental and conservation, animal, and social welfare organisations. But what would this mean for organisations championing for other causes?
In January, we broke down what this spike in donations could mean for charities not on the frontline of the fires in ‘Will Bushfire Giving Affect the Fundraising of Non-Bushfire-Related Causes?‘
In February, we had our eyes on the Australian Charity Reputation Index, the annual study measuring and ranking Australia’s largest 40 charities. CareFlight and Royal Flying Doctors Service of Australia were ranked our two most reputable charities with Guide Dogs coming in third. We covered this is our article ‘Australia’s Most Reputable Charity Revealed’.
This month, Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, also announced the Royal Commission into National Natural Disasters Arrangements inquiring into natural disaster management coordination in response to the 2019-20 bushfires.
March quickly turned into unchartered territory as COVID-19 went from an unknown flu-like virus to an international public health crisis. In March, we were unsure of what this meant for the world, let alone our sector.
At F&P, as the debate over whether to cancel the F1 Grand Prix in Melbourne raged (yep, it got cancelled) we held our first (and last) in-person conference of the year, EventRaise. A week later and we probably would have cancelled too.
Our world was quickly changing before our eyes – handshakes were discouraged, cafes and restaurants were shutting down, cities were going into lockdown, toilet paper was scarce. For charities, our events and face-to-face fundraising disappeared overnight.
At the end of March, Jessie Ballantyne from The Grants Hub wrote ‘Funding and Grants in a COVID-19 World’ advising us on what funding recipients and providers needed to consider in the ever–evolving landscape. Looking back over it, there are some great tips that we should consider outside of a global pandemic, too.
By April, it was clear this thing was not going away, JobKeeper had been announced on the second last day of March – a lifeline for many sectors, including ours. At this point in time, we were wondering whether we would come out of the other side (we were also thinking the other side was only a month or two away).
We knew that charities, who were then being inundated with requests for help, needed financial support from the government and philanthropy to weather the storm. We covered the launch of the Charities Crisis Cabinet in our article ‘Saving the Nonprofit Sector: The Fight to Survive COVID-19‘.
The Cabinet aimed to provide a forum for sector leaders to share knowledge and strategies to help keep charities alive. We also saw the philanthropic community rise up to the challenge, committing funds and grants to support the sector.
May, all eyes were on the JBWere report that did a deep dive into giving trends in Australia. We covered it in ‘Giving to Fall Back to 2012 Levels: Report’, which was your favourite article in May. Second waves of infections had started to emerge in Victoria connected to a quarantine hotel, and we were beginning to feel like this was the new normal.
Having never faced a global pandemic and an impending recession before, the sector didn’t know how this would affect fundraising. Was it still appropriate to go out with a tax appeal? How honest should organisations be with donors about their future? What does this mean for the future?
It was no surprise that we were still analysing giving trends in June. ‘Giving to Fall Back to 2012 Levels: Report’ was our most viewed article as many of us were thinking about how to budget for the next year.
Runner-up article was ‘How Dry July Quickly Changed its Strategy During the Pandemic’ investigating how Dry July overhauled their campaign to Dry(ish) July adding on additional challenges to their original 31-day challenge of 14 or 21 days. Many of you were looking for examples of what event fundraising in a pandemic looks like.
July seemed to be a continuation of June – the same problems and the same top articles. Melbourne reintroduced stage three restrictions for – at the time – at least six weeks. The border between New South Wales and Victoria was closed for the first time since the Spanish Flu.
In August, s p a c e held Australia’s Biggest Virtual Dinner Party will all proceeds supporting Lifeline. Guests followed a cooking demonstration by Atlas Dining, had live entertainment by MADD, and sat around a virtual campfire.
At F&P, you were still interested in learning about ‘Giving to Fall Back to 2021 Levels: Report’, but runner-up, was voyeuristic article ‘How Parachute Digital Moved to a Four-Day Week’. Was this a sign that we were re-prioritising and re-evaluating what was important to us, favouring work-life balance? Could COVID-19 be the push we all need to the four-day working week?
The Australian economy officially goes into recession. The Victorian Government releases their five-step roadmap to easing restrictions. Would the whole country be looking at a COVID-normal Christmas?
‘R U OK? Fundraisers?’ was our top article for September, coinciding with R U OK? Day. We wanted to know whether those working in the sector were okay and look into the strategies and activities organisations had implemented to support their staff.
This year, R U OK? Day felt even more vital. The toll of social distancing, the stress of uncertainty, fear of illness or financial insecurity, being separated from family and friends was evident. On Tuesday 8 September, Lifeline had its busiest day ever with a record 3326 calls. This is a 30% increase from the same day, last year.
October was budget month, and we found out that JobKeeper will be extended until March 2021 – a huge relief for the sector. However, it wasn’t all good news with no investment into social housing deemed a missed opportunity. After months of free childcare, many also felt like this was the government’s opportunity to boost access and get more women back into the workplace – a win for workplaces and the economy.
At a time when women were shouldering the burden of frontline care, and also carrying a heavier workload at home, the male-driven recovery scheme put forward by the government seemed … one-sided.
The trans-Tasman bubble came into effect, allowing travellers from New Zealand into NSW, the ACT and the Northern Territory without having to quarantine. Australian travellers flying into New Zealand were not exempt, however, and would be still required to quarantine for 14 days. Victoria’s State of Emergency and State of Disaster were extended until November.
Meanwhile, Goodcompany released a list of the best workplaces to give back in 2020, which you were all keen to read about. We covered Origin Energy’s win in our article ‘Best Workplaces to Give Back 2020’.
We recorded our first day of zero cases of community transmission! But only a few weeks later, South Australia deals with another outbreak and reintroduced a number of restrictions. On 24 November Victoria record no active cases – the first time since February. We all feel like we’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
We also had the hottest November in Australia’s history, but we did see some near average rain for spring meaning excellent conditions for grain farmers.
Not only were all eyes on the U.S. election, but your eyes were also on the announcement that Barhead Solutions was the official launch partner for Microsoft’s Fundraising and Engagement for Dynamics 365 sales. We covered the story here.
While we’re not even halfway through this month, it’s probably no surprise that everyone’s looking forward to waking up in 2021. On 1 December, we published an article ‘Income Down, Stress Way Up in the Wake of the Pandemic Reveals New Report’, which showed that the entire sector is in need of a holiday (domestic, of course).
The RESET 2020 National Impact+Need Research study by The Xfactor Collective, supported by Equity Trustees, aims to capture the impacts of COVID-19. Their second phase of their study reveal that the sector is finishing the year working longer hours with less volunteer support and less income. We’re also feeling more frustrated, exhausted, anxious and stressed.
What the study shows is that while, there is no doubt some much-needed time off is what the doctor has ordered, we also need to make sure that we come back in 2021 and learn from this year. The global pandemic has exacerbated existing limitations of the sector and the wellbeing of the workforce is coping the brunt of it.
So let’s make a new year resolution: that we come back refreshed and ready to solve the world’s problems, but also to change how we work, fundraise and support each other. Our sector depends on it.