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Doubled donations to meet growing demand for PNDA support

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Over the last 20 years, Gidget Foundation Australia has seen amazing growth, expanding our services to support over 8,400 families since inception.  

Since 2022, we have witnessed a 132% increase in clients serviced; however, with over 2,100 parents having accessed our face-to-face and telehealth appointments already in the first half of 2024, this demand shows no sign of slowing down.  

While it has been great to see the organisation flourish and grow to support more parents than ever before, this growth is also indicative of a growing demand for support for expectant and new parents in Australia. In fact, new data from Gidget Foundation Australia reveals more than half (57%) of Aussie parents with a child under three have experienced mental health issues – yet just two in five (40%) have sought professional help.   

Expectant and new parents wishing to access support may face barriers trying to access care, including fear of stigma, cultural expectations, geographic accessibility, or associated costs. Sadly, cost and accessibility can present major barriers to those seeking care, with a family’s complete care over 12 months – including 10 counselling sessions with a specialist perinatal clinician – amounting to over $3,000.  

With an estimated one in five mothers and one in ten fathers experiencing perinatal depression and anxiety (PNDA), Gidget Foundation Australia is committed to raising awareness about PNDA and providing free, GP-referred psychological counselling and telehealth counselling.  

However, as a not-for-profit, the impact we make on the lives of expectant and new parents is driven by our generous community, whose donations allow us to continue initiatives such as our Workforce Development Program addressing the national shortage of specialist perinatal mental health clinicians.  

Each and every donation we receive from the community works to further our reach and for expectant and new parents. However, compared to driving corporate investments and donations, encouraging community donations can present unique challenges for charities. 

Donors from the community – that is, everyday individuals – are unlikely to proactively seek opportunities to donate of their volition. Furthermore, they may avoid the process entirely if they feel it is too time-consuming or difficult for them to engage with. In fact, research indicates donors are only spurred to contribute when they are directly asked to do so1 – highlighting the crucial role of meaningful, consistent communications with the community to encourage donations. 

In this way, how we position our requests for community support is just as important as the frequency and volume of the requests themselves. We must ensure opportunities for donations not only feel meaningful for the donor but are also an easy process for the donor to pursue.   

To maximise the impact of individual donors, while ensuring the process is as smooth as possible, one of our major annual community fundraisers relies on the process of donation matching. Held annually in June, Gidget Giving Day is a donation matching day wherein all donations in the 24-hour period are doubled by our Giving Day Matchers.   

Donation matching is a fantastic tactic not-for-profits often utilise and has been proven to increase the initial uptake of donations received, with over four in five (84%) donors saying they’re more likely to donate if a match is offered2. On top of this, donation matching increases not only the number of donors participating but also the overall amount donated per donor, with one in three (33%) donors increasing the amount donated when matching is applied to their donation2   

The act of donation matching itself also helps to strengthen our relationships with individual donors. By offering donors a greater impact from the same value donation, we are also able to amplify the feeling of connectedness and closeness an individual may feel towards our organisation by demonstrating our commitment to our community3.   

The community support we have received from donation matching has been overwhelmingly positive – raising over $585,000 for Gidget Foundation over the past four years. In fact, this year’s Gidget Giving Day saw over $130,000 raised in just 24 hours – an incredible amount of support from not only our community but our Giving Day Matchers.  

With the estimated cost to the health system, economy and monetised social well-being of those impacted by PNDA totalling over $877million each year3, it is crucial we are able to continue to support expectant and new parents with support and resources to help them through their journey.   

With over 19,500 free, GP-referred psychological counselling sessions delivered to over 3,000 expectant and new parents across the country last year, we are grateful for the continued support of the community helping us drive Gidget Foundation Australia forward and ensuring struggling parents can receive support without delay.   

Related: New data reveals demand for mental health support rises

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Arabella Gibson is the CEO of Gidget Foundation Australia, a national not for profit mental health organisation supporting the emotional wellbeing of expectant and new parents and their families. Arabella joined Gidget over 7 years ago, after a lengthy career in the media industry, working in executive management for small business as well as publicly listed entities in both Australia and the UK.

Arabella was formerly General Manager for iSUBSCRiBE, an online magazine subscription business, based in London. Prior to this, Arabella was the Director of Communications for Australian media business PBL Media (Nine Entertainment Co) as well as its subsidiary businesses the Nine Network Australia and ARE Media (formerly ACP Magazines /Bauer Media). Before this, Arabella was Global General Manager – Marketing & Sales for Australian icon brand, RM Williams.

Arabella participated in the advisory group to devise the Australian Government’s Women’s Health Strategy for 2020 to 2030 in Canberra and contributed to the COVID-19 National Mental Health Strategy for Children, Young People and Parents. Named as The CEO Magazines’ Not For Profit Executive of the Year in 2022, Arabella was also a finalist in 2018, 2019 and 2021 and a Finalist in the Women’s Agenda Leadership Awards in 2019. Arabella was a finalist for the NSW Government Women of Excellence Award in the 2023 NSW Women of the Year Awards.

Arabella holds a Masters Degree - Communication Management from UTS and is currently completing her Australian Company Directors Course. She is a Non-Executive Director of Future Women, an organisation supporting the advancement of women to connect, learn and lead and a Non-Executive Director of Motherland, a rural support network for mothers in the bush.

Arabella is a mother to twins – a son and a daughter.

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