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Goal 5: A strong Red Cross

Connecting Red Cross people to our mission and their role in achieving it.

This year, we invited Reconciliation Australia, partner organisations and our people across the country to co-design our third Reconciliation Action Plan: building on our previous plan to build our cultural ladder and make reconciliation more personal and heartfelt for each of us. The new plan begins in November 2018. Photo: Australian Red Cross/Lara Cole.

Goal: Maintain a strong, innovative, sustainable and accountable organisation capable of achieving our humanitarian goals

All Red Cross people are empowered, engaged, accountable and acknowledged for their contribution to our humanitarian goals

80 cents in every dollar raised is going directly to humanitarian outcomes and impacts

There are diversified multi-year funding streams in place with no single funding source exceeding 50%

Through an annual report, we have been transparent with the public each year about what we have achieved, where we have failed and the impact we have delivered

We owe it to everyone who connects with Red Cross to be accountable and transparent. This year we looked for more ways to reduce costs, set high standards for ourselves, and think outside the square to achieve our goals. 

Connecting our people with each other and shared values

This year Red Cross introduced our Ethical Framework. It’s a practical, positive tool for all Red Cross people: providing clear, shared understanding of the values and principles we commit to. Just like our courses in work health and safety, risk management and fraud prevention, the Ethical Framework can be easily accessed online by staff and volunteers everywhere. 

We also strengthened our Child Protection Policy to ensure all children can be active participants in Red Cross work. There are Child Safe Contact Officers in every state and territory.

Rolling out Skype audio and video equipment across the country not only made it easier for staff to connect with each other, but saves on travel and teleconferencing costs too.

We’ve invested in training staff to use innovative tools such as ‘agile’ and ‘lean’. These flexible methods, created by software developers and manufacturers, allow the organisation to rapidly explore, test and validate our approaches to solving humanitarian problems and achieving our strategy 2020 outcomes.

Reducing costs

We lowered our cost base and saved $4 million this year by reducing the costs of fundraising acquisition, lowering administration expenses and other process efficiencies and system improvements.

We began rolling out Our Space, a new accommodation strategy to consolidate our properties, give people greater choice in how they work, and reduce costs by more than $1 million each year. Our transition to Our Space is complete in our Sydney office and is now underway in Melbourne, Hobart and Perth.

What we learned

Staff underpayments and how we’re fixing them

What began as a review of pay and benefits for our future remuneration strategy, unearthed mistakes that had been years in the making, and affected substantial numbers of current and former staff. These mistakes arose from a combination of different approaches across states, and included applying incorrect awards and enterprise agreements (or applying them incorrectly), errors in job classifications and classification levels and omission to pay annual leave loading in some cases. 

We were deeply disturbed to find we’d underpaid around 800 current staff members and a significant number of former staff members. We announced this to all staff in May 2018 with a profound apology, and released a public statement.  We also informed the Fair Work Ombudsman and the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission.

To fix these mistakes, we are rebuilding our pay system in its entirety, seeking advice from the Fair Work Ombudsman and having the payroll system audited by Ernst and Young.

Volunteers at our largest ever pop-up store event, held at Melbourne Town Hall. The one-day event contributed $90,500 in gross revenue and engaged a new audience with the work of Red Cross. Photo: Australian Red Cross/Alex Hahn.

New ways to raise funds and deepen engagement

This year we’ve been exploring new fundraising initiatives and lower-cost digital solutions. These ranged from our interactive ‘Pass it On’ bequest campaign – asking supporters to share what they would pass on to the next generation – to our American Express points offer, giving bonus points to card holders who donated to our campaigns.

We also enhanced existing initiatives. The Red Cross Calling campaign raised $1.3 million this year, and saw 14,565 people join in through new initiatives such as a peer-to-peer challenge and a digital ‘donation jar’. Our tax-time fundraising campaign saw 1,038 generous new donors sign up.

We’ve increased the number of Red Cross shops, opening new stores in Toowoomba (QLD), Bondi (NSW), Coolalinga (NT), South Melbourne (VIC), Marrickville (NSW), Neutral Bay (NSW) and North Haven (NSW). Each one offers local bargains, rare finds and a way for people to donate quality clothing to a good cause.

Transparency and sharing of information

This year we took several steps to increase transparency. For the first time we set and published measures for our strategic outcomes. We use these to assess our performance and inform better program design. Our FY19 Annual Plan outlines these measures.

We invested in a business intelligence tool to collate, analyse and share information, to help us better track progress towards our ambitious strategic outcomes.

Meanwhile, we successfully completed an external and evidence-based review to achieve DFAT re-accreditation and published an award-winning 2016-17 Annual Report.

Because we want all our assets to be used to help vulnerable people, we’ve developed ethical guidelines for our investment portfolio. We’ll excluded any investments that derive 10% or more of their annual revenues from activities that run counter to our purpose; or whose investments structures or mechanisms are not transparent.

What we learned

Stories of strength connect with donors

This year, our two major fundraising campaigns challenged a common approach within traditional fundraising. We wanted to highlight strength and achievement rather than need and crisis, with storytelling that showed the positive genuine changes our clients had made.

Our ‘Season of Belonging’ festive campaign raised more than $1.9 million while our ‘Bring More Good’ end-of-financial-year campaign raised $4.2 million. Each campaign showed how our clients were the most important players in overcoming their own adversity.

Both campaigns exceeded expectations, showing that donors want to know that their contribution is truly helping people make a difference.