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A strong Red Cross

Empowering and strengthening our organisation and the people who support us

Aboriginal Elder Keith Nye worked tirelessly to save his house and help his community after the bushfires destroyed his town of Mogo. He helped set up a recovery centre with support from Red Cross. Photo: Dilini Perera

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

Red Cross people are empowered, engaged and acknowledged

The Red Cross team of supporters, volunteers, members, and staff found strength together in the face of this year’s challenges.

Our monthly Pulse survey that measures employee engagement showed consistently good results, an average of 3.9/5 for the year.

Red Cross people feel empowered and engaged, with 70% of our staff saying they would recommend Red Cross as a place to work.

Once COVID-19 took effect in Australia, within weeks we shifted 90% of our work to remote ways of working, stepped up work health, safety and wellbeing measures. We delivered over 70 online sessions including working from home tips, staff Q&As, and managing wellbeing.

Employees clearly felt that the efforts to ensure their health, safety and wellbeing were equal to the efforts being directed to fulfilling our humanitarian mandate.

Survey results showed that employees regularly recognise others for their achievements (95%), consistently seek to grow their knowledge and skills (92%), believe Red Cross is making sufficient adjustments to deal with COVID-19 (89%) and that their team is working in a constructive way in the current environment (86%).

However, there is room for improvement with only 54% of employees reporting they know about achievements of others outside their team, 58% understanding the rationale behind difficult decisions made by leaders, and 60% feeling safe to make a mistake when trying something different.

We have been using these insights to create more opportunities to connect more frequently with all our people (members, volunteers and staff) so we can be transparent on the challenges presently being faced by the organisation and we remain committed to building our organisational Agile and Human-Centred Design capabilities.

We’re working smarter

Data science continued to guide and enhance our work via machine-based learning, predictive analysis and increased personalisation for donor engagement. We applied data science to our Festive appeal and generated positive results. We will continue to refine and test with our future campaigns.

We’re trying new things

Using customer insights, we are exploring new ways to connect and engage with our supporters. We tested a new crowdfunding campaign, Baby Hub, which reached its $15k target in just 3 weeks. This initiative enabled people to help us send sewing machines to the remote Aboriginal community of Galiwin’ku.

We successfully piloted Hero Kids, a subscription program of monthly family activities that promotes good values to children as well as information on Red Cross work.

First Aid & Mental Health Training launched a new booking system in May, improving the experience for our customers. Early results are really positive, with website booking conversion up from 2% to 15%. We also launched an exciting new product, Pet First Aid, a veterinary-approved online course teaching essential cat and dog first aid basics.

In our retail business, we opened six new Red Cross shops and closed and consolidated two warehouses to create a new Distribution Centre. We have now installed new point of sale hardware in all the targeted stores, meaning we will be better able to understand and communicate with our customers in the future. And we joined Moving the Needle, a collaboration to reduce waste in fashion.

Our online reach is growing

Website sessions were up 281% and website revenue increased 129% to $20m.

Our social media channels showed strong growth in follower numbers – Instagram up 589%, LinkedIn up 27%, Facebook up 12% and Twitter up 4.9%

More importantly, we’ve seen a significant increase in engagement – people liking, sharing and commenting – across all our social channels with a mostly positive sentiment. Instagram engagement increased by an enormous 366%; this was largely driven by the bushfires.

We adapted to COVID-19

Net income raised by the Australian public was $54.1m (excluding emergency appeals), $5m below budget, due mostly to COVID-19 restrictions which closed our entire retail store network for three months, cancelled key events and stopped face-to-face First Aid & Mental Health training from March.

However, when restrictions eased, we quickly worked to adapt and recommence activity in a safe way that aligned with government regulations. We reopened some of our retail stores and restarted our First Aid training from June.

Despite all of these challenges, our fundraising efforts achieved 5% growth on last year, when excluding First Aid and Retail.

Our Festive campaign exceeded expectations, delivering $3m revenue ($2.2m target).

We adapted and applied customer insights to our Tax campaign, ensuring our messaging was relevant for the COVID-19 climate. The campaign was our most successful Tax appeal to date, generating $5.1m ($4.4m target), and 2,230 new donors.  

In response to the pandemic, we identified new ways to interact with supporters and the public – we wanted to offer our support as well as provide different ways to support Red Cross work.

We adapted our Real Good Gifts, making them more relevant by creating low cost virtual gift ideas as new ways to reach out to family and friends.  

We made over 75k wellbeing calls to our supporters during the pandemic, with 24.5k conversations.

Ten significant company partners joined a COVID Collective, with the goal being to build on the collective goodwill to support the community through COVID and explore new ways of working together. We also recruited corporate volunteers to support COVID Connect, our national telephone outreach program to tackle social isolation and loneliness.

Transparent reporting

Our FY19 annual report won the not-for-profit online reporting category, and overall silver award, in the Australasian Reporting Awards.