Volunteer Minnie Vo, staff member Sean Williams and volunteer Lina Jimenez celebrate World Red Cross Day 2016 in Brisbane.
Australian Red Cross/Susan Cullinan

Voluntary service has always been a fundamental principle for Red Cross, but under our new strategy it’s brought to the fore more than ever. This year we continued our work in attracting and supporting a diverse body of Red Cross people and supporters, while maintaining the excellent reputation that makes us one of Australia’s leading charitable organisations.

Reaching out to communities in new ways

Our association with the national Spirit of ANZAC Centenary Experience enabled us to reach new people and gain more supporters right across Australia, with the support of our existing members and volunteers who helped out at events. As part of the ANZAC commemorations, we held exhibition events in Hobart and Melbourne to share the history of our tracing service, which reunited families during the world wars and continues to do so today. We also held well-attended face-to-face panel events for hundreds of our supporters and the public in partnership with the SBS program Go Back To Where You Came From find out more about this campaign.

Championing voluntary service

Our National Volunteer Week campaign in May reached a wider audience than previous years, with 83 letters to the editor published, more than 550 website visits and 1,300 ‘likes’ on Facebook (with a reach extending to over 70,000 people). This campaign is an amplified version of our yearround communications promoting volunteering and raising awareness of the many ways people can join with Red Cross.

Going forward, we are working to simplify our induction processes for volunteers and open the door to new forms of volunteering. A new national framework for volunteer roles and on-boarding requirements was adopted in June and will be implemented in 2016/2017, enabling us to recruit volunteers more quickly and work with them more flexibly.

Meanwhile we laid the groundwork for some new initiatives in our membership program, including the introduction of family memberships.

Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

We further rolled out cultural competence training across the organisation, supporting our staff to work effectively and respectfully with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients and partners. A key focus of our latest Reconciliation Action Plan [PDF] (adopted in July) is to raise the level of Indigenous employment with Red Cross. Our goal for the final year of the action plan, 2018, is to employ 9% Indigenous staff; we are currently at 7.7% (up from 6.2% last year).

Through our partner Career Trackers, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander university students are gaining work experience across various Red Cross departments. In 2015/2016 we appointed 13 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander trainees across the organisation, supporting them to build their skills and gain financial independence. In the coming year, we will be using the findings of our recent research project Helping and caring, not only our family: Northern Territory Indigenous perspectives on volunteering to attract and support more Indigenous volunteers.

Staff engagement and development

Our staff engagement level is 86%, well above the national benchmark of 82%*

We were honoured to receive a $50,000 NAB community grant, enabling 16 members of our leadership team to attend a tailored program for emerging leaders delivered by Melbourne Business School. Other ongoing learning opportunities continued to be offered to staff and volunteers at all levels of the organisation.

Our biannual staff engagement survey carried out in 2016 shows that our staff are heavily engaged with Red Cross and our work, believe in our positive reputation, and feel that our actions are in line with our values. Responses also showed that staff believe our workplace to be supportive of inclusion and diversity, reflecting our efforts through initiatives such as introducing 12 staff disability inclusion champions and preparing an accessibility and inclusion plan to be launched in the coming year. The survey results show that we still have room for improvement in innovation, change management, and clarifying direction from the leadership level – areas that we will work on in 2016/2017.

We received over 51,000 media mentions with 99% positive sentiment

Our 2016 brand research found Red Cross is ranked 1st for trust and respect among Australian charities.

88% of staff feel positively about our reputation, compared to the national benchmark of 72%*

Growth in our social media support:
35% on Facebook
91% on Twitter
126% on Instagram
34% on LinkedIn

*Measured by Willis Towers Watson through staff surveys across 173 organisations.