We're raising awareness of the many services Red Cross provides,' says Liz Atkinson.
You may have seen them in shopping centres, on city street corners or outside your local cafe, talking with people about the work of Red Cross. They are the fundraisers who connect Red Cross with the Australian public. They work to secure donors who give on a regular basis - our valuable 'regular givers'.
Regular giving is one of the most effective methods of raising much needed donations, so that we can continue helping vulnerable people.
Our ongoing work is not possible without regular donations from the Australian public, which is why Red Cross has worked in partnership with cause-driven fundraising agency Cornucopia for ten years. Cornucopia has a team of fundraisers who specialise in engaging the public in conversation to raise awareness of non profit organisations and to recruit ongoing, regular donors.
Liz Atkinson has made a career out of regular giving fundraising. She started work as a fundraiser when she was backpacking in Australia from the UK. She loved the work so much she stuck around, and now, eight years later, Liz is training and managing fundraising teams. Liz feels it's so important that charities like Red Cross are conducting this method of fundraising. 'Every single day we have people out there on the street, we secure a certain number of regular donors for Red Cross,' she says. 'But, apart from that, we're raising awareness of the many services Red Cross provides to the thousands of people who pass us every day. So we're helping to educate the public, too.'
Regular Giving Manager Mike Nixon was once a street fundraiser before joining Red Cross in Sydney. 'We can't always rely on people going to the website and making donations,' he says. 'It's important we directly reach out to people. The number of people who know about our emergency services work, but don't know about our other services, is remarkable.'
Many of the regular giving fundraisers are young people, so it's an effective way to reach out to other young people who are unaware of the many services Red Cross offers.
Cornucopia recently gave Liz the opportunity to see first-hand how water and sanitation programs improve lives in Cambodia. 'It really changed my life. There's a very big difference between understanding the work of Red Cross, and then seeing for yourself how that work makes a difference to the lives of people living in remote communities,' she says. 'I use that experience when I train our fundraisers. They can see the emotion behind my experience and that makes a massive difference to the way they communicate with people on the street. We make sure that everyone working for Red Cross has a real emotional attachment to the work we do.' Liz explains that many of the regular giving fundraisers are donors themselves.
Next time you see a Red Cross regular giving fundraiser in your community, stop and say hello. To find out how you can become a regular giver visit www.redcross.org.au or call 1800 811 700.
Photo: Louise Cooper