Kathleen points out her favourite vegetable, celery, which is growing in her school community garden in western Sydney. Australian Red Cross/Arunas Klupsas
Reviewing our progress
A mid-term review of Strategy 2015 was carried out during the year to analyse progress including the development of a three-year plan. The plan is to assess the progress and performance of Strategy 2015, and analyse emerging internal and external factors. The plan identifies key activities with a three-year lifespan, highlights interdependencies between planning areas to maximise efficiencies and provides costings for activities. This is the first time a three-year plan has been undertaken and will inform future annual planning.
Key strategic priorities and recommendations confirmed through the mid year review included:
- Enhancing member engagement and growth as detailed in the Membership Strategy
- Enhancing volunteer engagement as detailed in the Voluntary Service Strategy
- Renewed focus on the three newer priority areas: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples; Social Inclusion; and the youth, families and communities components of Locational Disadvantage
- Establishing capacity for monitoring and international tracing services in offshore processing centres in Manus Island, Papua New Guinea and Nauru
- Honouring the Centenary of Red Cross in Australia
- Reaffirming the importance of Red Cross’ role in providing a safe and efficient Blood Service - for Australia
- Greater focus on strengthening, recognising and engaging our supporters
- Investment in new technology that will result in systems improvements, efficiency gains and enhanced supporter engagement
- Developing more effective partnerships with partner agencies, governments and donors to build - on our work with clients and communities by strengthening financial sustainability.
The review also identified and analysed risks to the Strategy and subsequent mitigations. Foremost among these were risks to funding as a result of government changes or the external economic environment; the possibility of a major disaster or humanitarian emergency, and the effect if there was an unexpected reduction in the number of members, volunteers or supporters.
Engaging our volunteers
Strategy 2015 guides Red Cross to ‘value voluntary service’ and work towards ‘engaging and enabling’ volunteers. A renewed, forward looking strategy for voluntary service is required to respond to:
- changing demographics
- the changing nature of voluntary service towards a model of building social capital
- the rising cost of volunteering
- focus on impact, innovation and collaborative partnerships.
Red Cross recognises that the ability to build sustainable, trusting relationships with others is the heart of voluntary service.
In 2012, Red Cross undertook a strategic renewal process of volunteer engagement, recognising that increasing the visibility and strengthening the strategic value of voluntary service would enable Red Cross to reach more vulnerable people.
More than 150 diverse volunteers were engaged in the consultation process over nearly 10 months, leading to a future focused, more informed strategy. In February 2013, the Australian Red Cross Board endorsed the ‘Voluntary Service Strategic Framework 2020’, which recognises community as the fundamental pillar of our Voluntary Service Strategy. Through advocacy and sustainability, we aim to ensure clients and communities benefit from voluntary service. We aim to partner with other organisations to provide best outcomes for clients and ensure our volunteer base is representative of the diversity of the Australian community. We also aim to inspire individuals to contribute to building stronger, more interconnected individuals and communities through voluntary service.
Our renewed strategic focus compels Red Cross on a journey of change in order to meet future challenges and realise our potential.