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The Constellation Project, Updates from the Board + Real Good Gifts

31 October 2018

Hi everyone,

Wow, It’s such a busy time of year and last week was no exception.  Led by our Community Programs team and Jody Broun, we launched The Constellation Project with our partners PwC, Mission Australia and the Centre for Social Impact. It has been close to a year in the making. It is a collective partnership and our shared goal is ‘to end homelessness within a generation’. It is directly related to our goal that those experiencing deep social exclusion be supported by their communities to overcome it.

The launch was accompanied by a report by the Centre for Social Impact on homelessness. This report finds that on any given night, 1 in 200 people are homeless. The total number of people experiencing homelessness grew by 14 per cent between 2011 and 2016. The report is an excellent review of the drivers generating homelessness and what can be done about it. The proposed solutions will now be the focus of our partnership.

Real Good Gifts for your loved ones

We’re coming to the end of 2018. In the coming weeks, while you’re thinking of what to get for your loved ones this festive season, consider a gift that brings real good to the world.

We’ve launched a brand new range of Real Good Gifts. You can buy chooks for a family in Timor Leste, a hot healthy meal for a person sleeping rough or a blanket for someone whose life’s been turned upside down due to a natural disaster somewhere in the world. And the best part is: all Real Good Gifts fund our work helping real people through times of crisis.

Please tell your friends and family about our Real Good Gifts and keep them in mind when you come to write your own shopping lists over the next month or so.

We came together as the Leadership team

One of our focusses was how we lead better – how to focus and prioritise, how to ‘let go’ and delegate, how to lead so we are good at adapting, and how to phase our initiatives better so the pace is better for all of us. We then looked at our year-to-date results for the annual plan – while financially we are ahead against the budget we haven’t completed the work we had planned. So we spent time on how we correct this and agreed where to:

  • Allocate more money – for example, for our digital platforms, Get Prepared and more support for volunteers and members
  • Reduce spending – for example, making more savings in procurement (eg travel providers, property management)
  • Give more 'oomph' – rally together to deliver, for example, getting 1 million Australians prepared for disasters (particularly given the scary summer coming at us), supporting those who are deeply socially excluded
  • Stop or pause – we’ve agreed on several areas where we can stop work to help us free up time.

This session was what we call our quarterly ‘pivot’ where once a quarter we track progress and look ahead for the rest of the year. 

Board meetings Friday and Saturday

We had a fantastic session with both Boards – Blood Service and Society on Friday – looking to the future and trends. You can find one of the documents we used as background here. We talked through the trends and what the implications might be for us all looking 10 years out as we steer Red Cross in Australia. We talked through some tricky stuff, like – the pressure artificial intelligence and manipulated coding/algorithms will put on impartiality, communities adapting to and managing the impacts of climate change including what health issues might arise, etc. Yvette and Cecelia led the session really well. Yvette’s discussion on how we think of the Fundamental Principles into the future was excellent – these are our core guiding principles now and into the future.

Our dinner speaker was Gemma Borgoti-Caratti, National Director of Australian Youth Climate Action. It is Australia’s largest youth-run organisation and their mission is to build a movement of young people leading solutions to the climate crisis. She gave a great talk about what they are doing, and importantly, how they do what they do. You can find their most recent update here.

After dinner, some of us dropped in at a Red Cross Pop-up shop at our old premises in Carlton. We met the amazing staff and volunteers and made quite a few purchases. What great initiative and effort on the part of the team.

I’ll also add that we all got incredibly excited by the news that ‘we’ are about to have our first Board baby – well actually Dr Melissa Philips is having a baby but of course we see the baby as ‘ours’. It was lovely to see her beautiful baby bump and we were a bit relieved we were only five minutes from the hospital.

On Saturday, the Board worked through how we’re performing so far this financial year and the results of the ‘pivot’ meeting which I mentioned above. The Board approved our Humanitech brand and our own International Humanitarian Law action plan. Noel gave an update from the drought summit in Canberra attended by the Prime Minister, five Premiers and others. We were privileged to be one of only a four not-for-profits invited. We also talked through our proposed Member Connection platform (due to launch in November) and our plans for rolling out our digital infrastructure and building data security this year. We also had our Annual Report approved by the Board. Our 2017-2018 Annual Report is all about connection – a common thread in everything we did this year.

Talk to you next week.


PS As this blog was being finalised we launched our Reconciliation Action Plan. I’ll include it in next week’s blog to give it the space it deserves!