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Red Cross Calling – ‘All In’, Team Efforts, My Team Digi

27 February 2019

Hi everyone,

Thanks to those of you who joined our monthly Q&A on Monday. It was good to be able to update you on how things are going and to hear and answer your questions. Super Granny seems to be getting quite a following – it was good to hear the story of how we found her and of the enthusiastic voting she inspired.

She is of course part of Red Cross Calling and it is that time of year again. Every year for the past 70 years, thousands of Australians come together to raise funds in their communities, workplaces and schools so that we can continue to help people experiencing hardship in Australia and overseas.

Many use Red Cross Calling to touch base and check in with those around them. Others use it to gather friends and family. Others still ‘hit the streets’ to raise funds for the work we do. Whatever the activity, it is a symbol of the compassion people feel for those around them. It is an important month for us all. 

I want to send a shout out to the Engagement and Support team for their great work so far. You may have seen a poster or an ad of our Super Granny fronting Red Cross Calling or seen or heard some of the media. They have been busy. 

Here are a few statistics so far:

100,000 - Phone calls from our customer teams
282  - Branches participating (there is still time to organise your event!)
171 - Collection boxes in Red Cross shops
4,000 - Collectors registered across the country
25 - Influencers who will support the campaign
3 - Days bushfire installation in Martin Place (from 28 Feb to 1 March)  
242 - Facebook fans voted to help us select our new tagline: Be a Hero, your way
388,000 -  People will see our Super Granny ad in cinemas
2,273 - Red Cross Calling radio spots will be broadcast
18th - The day when the Brisbane Broncos will collect in Brisbane CBD
1 - Ferrero hamper to win for staff members who collected the most to share with their team!

We’ve built a lounge room in Martin Place. It’s a lounge room that’s been destroyed by fire and it represents the thousands of people displaced by emergencies in Australia every year, along with the personal impact of a disaster.

The installation, complete with smoke and the charred remains of a family’s life, kicks off the annual Red Cross Calling month. If you’re in Sydney, or have friends or family in the city, encourage them to come down, take a and look and donate to Red Cross Calling.

Lounge room installation in Martin Place in Sydney kicks off the annual Red Cross Calling month. 

I’ve worked out what I am going to do this year for Red Cross Calling. I’m going to host four virtual conversations with my friends via my social media feeds. I’ll do one theme per week starting next week – for example, social connection, reconciliation, humanitarian impacts of climate change and the future of vulnerability.  I’ll include music, articles and stories of our work in these areas and include some personal anecdotes. Then in the last week of March, I’ll ask my friends to contribute to Red Cross Calling. This is really different to what I did last year which was to wear skirts for a month in return for seeking contributions from my friends. Let’s see how it goes! My kick off song on the weekend will be Absolutely Everybody by Vanessa Amorosi.

Australians and compassion

Also as part of Red Cross Calling we released the results of a survey we completed. The findings include:

Nearly 2 in 3 (64%) would like to do more to help people in need

  • People 16-17 top the nation, with more than 8 in 10 (82%) saying they agree.
  • More than 7 in 10 people (71%) aged 18-39 agree and 3 in 5 (59%) people above 40 agree.
  • Women tend to feel this sentiment more than men, with 7 in 10 (70%) of women agreeing compared to around 6 in 10 (58%) of men.

More than one in two (56%) say they would like to do more to help out in their local community

  • People under 40 feel this more, by comparison to people over 40. More than 3 in 5 (63%) under 40 agree versus 1 in 2 (50%) over 40 agreeing.

Around two in five (38%) are actively engaged in their local community

  • Just under 1 in 2 people aged 18-39 (45%) are more likely to be actively engaged than those above 40 (1 in 3 - 34%).

Nearly three out of five (59%) say we should do more than just think about helping others in need, and take action. This compares to just over half (53%) from last year’s survey

  • Younger people hold this view more compared to older people.
  • More than 2 out of 3 Australians (67%) aged 18-39 agree compared with around 1 in 2 people (54%) above 40.
  • Women tend to feel this sentiment more with over 3 in 5 (63%) agreeing compared to just over 1 in 2 (55%) of men.

Team efforts

Each week I see the great work of teams everywhere. For example, just in the last two days these have crossed my desk - our preparation for Red Cross Calling; our migration, Legal and Finance teams working together on ethical supply; our major donor and program teams working an initiative for community resilience in drought, and, the ICT team and fundraising teams working on a digital payment gateway. 

There are two which I wanted to highlight. 

The first is a team led by Lee Prouse, comprising state and territory members involved in our place-based sites, which came together intensively for over a two-month period. They used an agile approach to clearly define the key intergenerational changes that communities have told us that they want to make. We refer to these as Community Determined Indicators, with these communities being supported by our place-based teams to drive the changes that they want.

These range from: increased training, education and employment for young people, reduction in young people being imprisoned, increased community leadership, more young people finishing year 12, and increased cultural connections for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Our teams will continue to work with communities in driving activities to achieve these CDIs over time.

The second relates to our work internationally. In the last few months the international team has worked tirelessly with our peer Red Cross organisations in the Pacific and and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to build a new approach to how we work internationally. The approach will include:

  1. Core funding and National Society development to support the shift towards more locally led humanitarian work;
  2. Disaster risk management with expertise in disaster management, protection, gender and inclusion (PGI), shelter and settlements, emergency health and, where we’re best placed, surge response in response to disasters
  3. International influence and advocacy; and
  4. Community based surveillance for epidemics and pandemics and forecast based action.

These are five-year outcomes that will over time shift towards greater investment in risk reduction and anticipatory action and significant reform around how the Red Cross operates collectively, especially in Asia Pacific.

The whole International team has been engaged in this process, there are many people to list, but a special thanks to Veronica Bell, Kalene Caffarella, Anna Bowen.

My Team Digi

Speaking of teams, the My Team digital project has recently launched a 6-week user-testing phase with 25 people living with mental health concerns. The testers were recruited from our partner organisations: Beyond Blue, Black Dog and Lifeline. Initial results are showing participants are excited by the app and its future potential.

Putting the user at the heart of the products development, in the true spirit of co-design, the product team will soon be embarking on a new round of design to introduce features that meet our users’ needs and expectations. The app will be launching in market at the end of April through an extensive outreach campaign developed by our marketing team. There will be internal communications coming out soon so all Red Cross people can get on board and help support, and promote My Team. Please get in contact with Rebecca Cunningham or Ben Hanley for more information.

Tropical Cyclone Oma and other weather

Southeast Queensland and northern New South Wales were on alert last week due to the tropical cyclone off the coast. Tropical Cyclone Oma has weakened but will still cause abnormally high tides and dangerous surf conditions.

In the Townsville area, 280 Red Cross people have supported over 6,500 people in the recovery hubs and outreach. We are coordinating field operations, logistics and liaison activities in Townsville as well as coordinating operations from Brisbane. 

In the towns of Cloncurry, Julia Creek, Richmond and Hughenden, our people have provided psychological first aid to over 1,100 people since 12 February. 

In terms of our drought appeal, the drought relief distribution is still underway. As at last week 6,046 grants have been paid, for a total of $9.45m. The final $750,000 will be distributed to partner agencies next week. This is a huge achievement – thousands and thousands of Australians donating to support farming families late last year and now getting close to the final donations getting out to those families who most need the support.  We have done this by working closely with Red Cross people across QLD, NSW and in Gippsland and, critically, with our partners such as the Country Women’s Association.  A significant collective effort. As we know the drought continues to bite and to bite badly and we are working on how we can ramp up our community support to those farming families and their communities who continue to bear the brunt of it.

A huge thank you to the emergency services team for their work day in and out in supporting the different emergencies, and silent crisis, across the country.

Talk to you soon.