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A strong Red Cross

Empowering and strengthening our organisation and the people who support us.

You get to a time in your life where you say it’s time to give back – as little or as much as you can.
— Virginia, one of our Red Cross supporters

This year we introduced a customer experience framework to ensure voices of people like Virginia guide our work to engage with supporters. Virginia arrived in Australia as a refugee and now enjoys giving back by donating to support the work of Red Cross. Photo: Australian Red Cross/Katrina Harrison

For everyone who relies on our support and for everyone who gives, we need to be a strong and accountable organisation. This year we worked to give our supporters the experience they want, to better understand and enrich our culture and we looked for more ways to get the most out of every dollar.

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

Empowered, engaged and accountable people

In October, we launched our third Reconciliation Action Plan. The plan aims to move reconciliation from the head to the heart. It encourages every Red Cross person to make their own personal commitment, with hundreds of Red Cross people completing ‘I will’ plans that outline the reconciliation actions they will take.

As part of our Reconciliation Action Plan, we committed to developing a way for staff to continually improve their cultural understanding and competency through what we call the ‘Cultural Ladder’. It launched during Reconciliation Week 2019 and provides access to resources, reading materials as well as on-line and face-to-face training.

11 new retail stores were opened during the year

In FY18 we advised that we had made mistakes in the way that some current and former employees had been paid. Those mistakes arose from incorrectly applying awards and enterprise agreements and errors in job classification. We are working with the Fair Work Ombudsman to ensure our employees receive back pay and are remunerated correctly and the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) have now completed a review. We have now corrected the hourly pay rate and annual leave loading for the majority of our current employees and made partial back payments to approximately 600 employees. Funds for the partial back payments and any future back payments were set aside in a provision from non-operational funds in FY18. We thank our employees for their incredible patience and understanding as we make progress to finalise back payments.

Funding and support for today and the future

In the past year, we worked to improve the regular giving program using a new customer-centric approach and continuous testing and learning. We worked to improve the experience of people who interacted with face-to-face fundraisers, ensured people who signed up stayed engaged and looked for new ways for people to take part in regular giving.

We developed new ways for people to engage with Red Cross. The Go Without Challenge was aimed at engaging school kids in Red Cross Calling.  This new product drew on the insight that young people want to be involved, like to empathise with the beneficiary and want to see the impact they are making to a specific cause.

We saved $3 million by reducing expenses and increasing efficiency

We developed the product iteratively and put the people who wanted this product at the centre of this work. As it was developed, students, parents and teachers were able to give weekly feedback on prototypes directly to the project delivery team. The end result: a challenge for students to ‘Go Without’ food, their bed or words (including their phone) and fundraise with their family and friends for Red Cross. More than 1,000 students and 500 schools took part.

Our new Hero Kids program aimed to engage families with young children on humanitarian issues, while the re-launched Real Good Gifts surpassed revenue targets, raising $46,000 and engaging 631 families. The vast majority of donors (94%) were brand new.

In addition to our ongoing fundraising work, we ran four major fundraising appeals to support disasters and emergencies at home and overseas. At short notice, our team pulls together to give people the information and the opportunity to give. The drought impacting parts of Queensland, NSW, South Australia and Victoria, earthquakes and tsunamis in Indonesia and fires in Greece all resulted in major appeals and raised a combined $12.7 million.

Reducing costs

More than $2 million of ongoing savings were achieved through consolidation of properties in Melbourne and Perth and downsizing of property in Sydney.

We also achieved $3 million in procurement and cost reduction initiatives including renegotiation of contracts, replacing our travel booking, printer & fax systems and reducing spending on travel and recruitment.

1,000 children and 500 schools supported the new Go Without challenge

Several Finance & Business Services processes were refined. New treasury processes, invoice payment automation, a new fleet management portal and self-booking system for travel were just some of the improved processes that helped unlock time and resources.

What we learned

Giving our supporters a better experience

In the past year, our focus was on reinventing the way Red Cross engages with its supporters so they can have the best possible experience when donating to or buying from us. A well-designed experience, alongside our legacy, trust and programs, helps ensure we remain relevant and front of mind when people decide to give.

We have applied a new customer experience framework to help us better understand our customers. Developing personas and improving segmentation let us better understand who they are, how they respond and what inspires them to give to the campaigns and products we offered.

From this work, we know that people want us to be transparent, they want to see the impact they’ve made and they want to choose how they engage with us. The framework lets us test strategies to meet these needs and learn how our fundraising is engaging our customers.

People come back year after year because everybody is respected and included. They come to join with others in a great atmosphere and being around people of all different ages.
— Veronica Morrissey, President, Red Cross Bindaring unit

The members of the Red Cross Bindaring unit in WA raised $192,000 through their annual clothing sale in Perth – and they had plenty of fun while they did it. Photo: Australian Red Cross