The experiences and advice of people like Marcus, Robert and the women of Galiwin’ku are not just relevant to those we support, they are relevant to our entire organisation. We also need to understand what is really important to us, to go back and try again and to have a plan in place because this year has shown us, there are challenging times ahead.
Disasters are more intense and frequent. The number of people experiencing extreme disadvantage is growing and at the same time, how people give and support is changing too.
Many people give directly to projects and causes and, increasingly, volunteer in informal ways. Those who donate want to be much closer to the cause they are giving to and to have a say in how their donation is spent.
These trends have made it a challenging year. We would have liked to have made a bigger impact for people experiencing vulnerability with increased investment and focus.
Despite the challenges, Red Cross people did their best with limited resources to be innovative, to experiment and to find new ways forward. Humanitech, looked to the future at what will drive vulnerability and how emerging technology will help us address it; we helped Australians connect with drought-affected farmers and contributed $11.5million in a single month; our Climate-Ready Communities guides supported communities to respond to changing climate conditions; the Go-Without challenge engaged schools with online fundraising tools; and we worked collaboratively across sectors through ventures like the Constellation Project, working to end homelessness in a generation.
We also worked to make our organisation more streamlined and efficient, rolling out Skype for business to reduce the need for travel and improving communication for remote teams. We also shifted more teams to ‘Agile’ ways of working allowing us to move faster and adapt to change more easily.
But still, we know we need to have more impact. So as the financial year came to a close, with these challenges and achievements in mind, we started a journey to make changes to our organisation. Changes that will allow us to adjust more easily and be resilient in a changing world. Most importantly they will allow us to do our very best for people experiencing vulnerability.
One thing we know won’t change is how much we rely on and cherish our incredible Red Cross people – our members, volunteers and staff.
I thank them for their continued efforts, their amazing contributions and their own resilience.
Chief Executive Officer