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Opinion: Finding long-term sustainable income source for programs

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Each year the not-for-profit sector is growing, and we must attract new loyal donors to fund the ever-increasing need for essential services we provide. Pooling experience and expertise to tackle this challenge, four of Australia’s leading charities have come together to create a not-for-profit social venture called Rippling.

CanTeen, Starlight Children’s Foundation (Starlight), National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) and the Australian Committee for UNICEF have formed Rippling to disrupt current fundraising models. Together, as part of Rippling, we will test new ways to deliver innovative, cost-efficient fundraising to fund more impact for the children and families we support, and in turn more impact for the donors who support us.

Over the last decade, the face-to-face fundraising model has attracted tens of thousands of new donors into organisations like ours. In a constantly changing world we must look at new ways of retaining donors – delivering a positive and engaging donor experience and connecting them with the impact of their gift.

Our goal is to create a long-term sustainable income source for our programs and in time the hope is that some of these solutions can be scaled and applied sector wide. It has been a four year process to get to this point, but as the name Rippling suggests, we hope what starts with a small ripple will create a wave and eventually start a movement across the sector.

For our donors, we want them to feel like they are being invited into a conversation that will help them to live their values, and make the difference that they want to make with their philanthropic dollars. We want them to feel like they are in a dialogue not just with our fundraisers, but a part of the communities that make up our organisations. We want them to have transparency, an easy “customer” experience, trust that we are going to keep costs low, and knowledge that their contributions will deliver genuine impact to the causes we represent.

For our team, we want them to see themselves and to be seen as valuable first points of contact on the work that we do. We want them to be advocates, educators, and enthusiasts, engaging with potential donors and giving them something that will enhance their day. We want them to feel valued through the living wage that they are paid, and in sharing achievements as a part of our organisations.

For the people we support, we want to pour funds into the services that they receive from us. We want them to have predictable income from our organisations, so that together we can plan for and react to their needs now and in the future. In an uncertain economy, that means securing dedicated sustainable revenue and a commitment to long-term investment in their futures.

We hope that we can share this journey with other organisations, inspire them to try new things and ultimately find a new way for the industry to raise funds in a cost-efficient way.

Jennifer Tierney is the Director of Fundraising & Communications of Unicef Australia.

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Jennifer Tierney is the Director of Fundraising & Communications of Unicef Australia.


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