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New IFRC Secretary General | Fundraising Institute of Australia Awards | International Volunteer Day

5 December 2019

  • We met with the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership Team to ensure First Nations peoples will have a leading voice in the new direction.
  • Get to know Charles Burkitt, our new Deputy President and his association with Red Cross that goes back to Cyclone Tracy.
  • Red Cross Red Crescent Movement veteran Jagan Chapagain announced as IFRC’s Secretary General.
  • This week we celebrate International Volunteer Day and the amazing things volunteers do to make our community a better place. 
  • We were announced as finalists for two categories in the Fundraising Institute of Australian National Awards. 

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership Team Meeting

Hi everyone,

I’m taking over the blog for the next couple of weeks while Judy and our Australian Red Cross delegation are in Geneva to attend to the Movement meetings.

Last week, I joined the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership Team along with board member Ian Hamm and our RAP champions at their face-to-face meeting in Meeanjin (Brisbane).

Critically, the three days looked at ensuring First Nations peoples will have a leading voice in the new direction, set by the board on Saturday. 

The Queensland Leadership Team provided an update on transitioning services to locally lead Yoonthulla Services in Woorabinda, as well as an Emergency Services project lead by Queensland Rep Sam Savage, aimed at better understanding how Indigenous people responded to disasters and how we can better support their needs.

Charles Burkitt elected as Deputy President

At the annual general meeting, Ross Pinney was re-elected for a further two years as President of Australian Red Cross. We also have a new Deputy President – Charles Burkitt, who will take on the post for the next two years.

Charles’ association with Red Cross goes back to Cyclone Tracy in Darwin.

This resulted in directly experiencing the Red Cross Power of Humanity. Since this time he has continually volunteered to the Red Cross cause. Charles has been a member of the Australian Red Cross Board since 2014, while serving as Chair of the Northern Territory Divisional Advisory Board over the same period. He is currently Chair of the Finance Committee and a member of the Audit & Risk Committee.

Charles commenced his professional career as an experienced investment adviser specialising in financial markets having worked in that industry for more than 15 years, before being involved in the commercial property sector for a number of years. He also has extensive Board experience having been an active board member of numerous organisations for more than 20 years.

I would also like to thank Lyndal Moore, the outgoing Deputy President, for her tremendous contribution to the role of Deputy President for the past two years. We’ve been really fortunate to have the opportunity to work alongside Lyndal who has played a critical role on the Board and with the Finance Committee and Audit & Risk Committee and played an important role in the Lifeblood Board. Thank you for all your contribution, Lyndal.

Nepali humanitarian announced as new IFRC Secretary General

I’d also like to congratulate Nepali humanitarian and Red Cross Red Crescent veteran, Jagan Chapagain, who has been appointed as the new Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

An engineer by training, he brings more than 25 years’ experience within the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. Most recently, he has served a series of senior IFRC roles, including as Regional Director for Asia Pacific, as Chief of Staff and as Under Secretary General for Programmes and Operations, a role that sees him guide all IFRC relief and development efforts around the world.

Announcing the selection, IFRC President Francesco Rocca said:

"He brings a deep knowledge and understanding of the Red Cross and Red Crescent: he started his path in our Movement as a volunteer and I am sure he will bring all his first-hand experience as an added value to this position. He also has a strong vision for the role the IFRC can and must play, both within the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement and as part of the broader humanitarian sector.”

We also acknowledge outgoing Secretary General, Elhadj As Sy, for his leadership and contribution to humanity and the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement.

Thank you for all that you do

This week we celebrated International Volunteer Day on 5 December. My heartfelt thanks goes to all volunteers for their contributions in making our community a better place.

Red Cross began with volunteers tending the wounded on battlefields and to this day, volunteers enable everything we do. Volunteers create a place where people feel supported and included. 

Volunteering isn’t always with an organisation – some might regularly work at an op-shop or host a fundraiser, but others are simply taking out the bins for their elderly neighbour, cooking a meal for a family facing a cancer diagnosis or reaching out to offer help to someone in their community going through a rough patch.

There are many stories from our volunteers that make me smile and I’m sure you’ll find some inspiration from them too. There are plenty of other small things you can do to give to your community, from connecting with someone who needs support to donating blood.

In the recent bushfires, we've seen dedication and tireless contributions from our volunteers out in the field helping out where they can be it in evacuation centres or providing support and psychological first aid to people impacted. Since the recent fires began there have been some 200 Red Cross people involved in supporting communities.

And as we continue to monitor the Millmerran fires in Queensland and watching closely the situation on the NSW south coast, we know we can always count on the support from our volunteers in times like this.  

Thank you again for contributing your hearts, minds, efforts and energy to make our world a better place.

Fundraising Institute of Australia National Awards

Lastly, a huge congratulations to the Engagement and Support team who was announced as finalists in the Fundraising Institute of Australia (FIA) National Awards for Excellence in Fundraising 2020 for two categories:

  • Most Innovative Campaign: for Red Cross Calling Re-Imagined
  • Best Supporter Experience: for Getting To Know our Regular Supporters loyalty initiative

Each year the awards recognise the outstanding initiatives and innovative efforts of professional fundraisers, volunteers and organisations. They present the opportunity to celebrate members’ hard work and successes throughout the year.

Red Cross Calling was to be the first national campaign that we would manage and run in-house, the main objective to deliver a more authentic, efficient and satisfying customer experience and Project Amica (our regular supporter initiative), was focussed on transforming the loyalty communications and experience for newly acquired regular giving supporters.

This is an amazing achievement. Congratulations to everyone who worked on this!

Chat to you soon.