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Strategy 2020 midpoint review

Halfway through our ambitious strategy, we reflect on what we’ve achieved and learned.

Our five-year Strategy 2020 has six goals aimed at building a humanitarian movement, supporting people in disasters, preventing suffering and promoting peace, overcoming adversity, strengthening our organisation and providing safe, secure blood products.

We have just released our 2018 Annual Report, looking back over the last year. In the past few months, at just over halfway through our strategy, we also took stock of the past 2.5 years, since Strategy 2020 commenced. In FY17, we refined the strategy with measurable outcomes against each goal, and a roadmap to achieving each outcome – based on changing rules, changing minds and changing lives. In FY18, we built strong foundations across many of the outcomes, with significant research and testing, along with continuing our everyday work.

We are immensely proud that we have:

  • broadened the concept of volunteering to include not only formal, traditional roles, but inspiring self-organised, mass mobilisation of people to take humanitarian action.
  • focussed on building a better experience for our customers, starting with our website, as well as a positive and strengths-based approach to fundraising.
  • built stronger partnerships with the not-for-profit sector to support our clients; with the corporate sector to expand our reach and bring innovation; and across the Movement to address regional issues such as migration.

We are progressing well against most of our outcomes, although we are not quite where we had had hoped to be. We are confident the strong foundations built over the early years of the strategy will allow us to amplify our efforts and focus over the next year towards our outcomes.

In our mid-point review, we also clearly identified five outcomes that we will not achieve as intended within the timeframe. These are some of our most ambitious, complex outcomes that we recognize our ambitions are unlikely to be achieved by 2020. Our aspiration is unwavering and we are now re-looking at our targets for 2020, to articulate and drive for the difference we want to make.

As we move towards 2020, we will maintain the focus on our outcomes and we’ve also identified three key areas to strengthen:

  • building our digital capacity, both in customer-focussed digital products and internal financial and communication systems.
  • working more collaboratively internally and externally to achieve outcomes; being more willing to try, test and learn; and being flexible and adaptive through human-centred design and agile principles.
  • better understanding and telling the story of the difference we’ve made, using appropriate indicators to measure progress and impact.

Progress and success against each outcome at this mid-point of Strategy 2020 is detailed below.

Goal 1

Build an inclusive, diverse and active humanitarian movement based on voluntary service.

2.5 million people, reflecting the diversity of our community, take voluntary humanitarian action with us to help others

50% (of 2.5 million) are self-organising and leveraging our knowledge, expertise, and evidence to advocate for and help others

  • At the mid point of our strategy, over 100,000 more people were taking action (from baseline measured at beginning of Strategy 2020 in 2015/16 of just over 700,000)
  • Implemented a lean four-step recruitment process for volunteers with hubs being set-up nationally.
  • Developed a ‘Taking Action’ framework and tested 10 initiatives, experimented with models to guide mobilisation at scale.
  • Established key partnerships with a collective impact working group of five corporates and three not-for-profits to reimagine business’ role to mobilise people to take voluntary humanitarian action.
  • Invested in foundational research about the giving of time/money, taking action and connection to brand and cause.
  • Tested how to scale action efficiently across existing initiatives through Project Gecko in 2018, empowering Red Cross Calling participants to fundraise and share emergency preparedness messages. Through this project, we connected over 2,000 young people about how to mobilise to take more action.
  • Activated young people to start a conversation and take simple steps to tackle a problem through the launch of social change campaign, #BeatLoneliness.

Australians trust and respect Australian Red Cross

  • In 2018, while our overall reputation score is virtually unchanged (84.2 vs 84.3 in previous year), we ranked 19 this year, down from 14 in prior year.
  • Continued focus on activities to ensure that we maintain and/or grow trust and respect, by better demonstrating our impact, being an ethical and innovative organisation and improving supporter engagement. 
  • Shifted our fundraising positioning to strengths-based messaging aligned with our strategic outcomes – such as last year’s tax campaign Spark the Connection and festive campaign Bring more good to the world.
  • Revamped the website to make it more user friendly and customer focussed, so that help, information and opportunities are easy to find. 
  • Conducted data security process, system and behavior improvements under the Trust Initiative, to ensure the information we are trusted with remains private and secure.
  • Increased transparency with our Annual Report focussing more on impacts and publishing our Annual Plan online (for the first time in FY19).

Goal 2

Save lives, build resilient communities and support people in disasters.

3 million Australians are equipped to be prepared for and recover from disasters

  • Shifted our approach from how we can directly equip people, to how we can reach more cohorts through clever use of digital tools and networks.
  • Founded a shared value 10-year partnership with IAG on community readiness for emergencies and partnered with Jaguar Land Rover, underpinned by $600,000 over three years, showing the different ways we can work with corporates towards shared outcomes.
  • Developed, tested and launched the first version of a digital Rediplan - the Get Prepared app.

There has been a four-fold national increase in investment (government, corporate, other) in disaster risk reduction and community resilience

  • We are producing evidence and shifting the conversation from disaster response to disaster risk reduction with the Australian Business Roundtable.
  • We are the key community sector representative in the development (by the National Resilience Taskforce) of the new five-year National Disaster Risk Reduction Framework.
  • In the Asia Pacific, we have taken a leadership role to encourage the Movement to work differently around disaster risk reduction. Working closely with the IFRC, we are changing our operating model to have a stronger focus on community based disaster risk reduction and more anticipatory action (early warning, early action). We secured a $1M investment from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for an Early Warning Early Action fund in the Pacific.

Key partners in 14 Asia-Pacific countries can demonstrate increased capacity to support communities prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters and humanitarian crises

  • There has been a fundamental shift in our approach to international work – of which we are only at the beginning.
  • Our 2017 research into localisation of aid in the Pacific Going local: Achieving a more appropriate and fit for purpose humanitarian ecosystem in the Pacific' has provided a strong foundation for future focus.  Our transition to a new program model has commenced with the aim of ensuring “as local as possible, as international as necessary”.
  • We signed an Australian Red Cross-Federation Cooperation Framework, strengthening our combined approach in the Asia-Pacific.

Australian Red Cross is responding to disasters and other significant emergencies 100% of the time

  • In FY18, we responded to disasters and other significant emergencies 100% of the time.
  • An emerging priority in Australia has been our capacity and capability to respond to mass trauma events – such as the Lindt CafĂ© siege, Bourke Street incident and Dreamworld accident. We will continue to build our expertise and experience for these events.
  • Significantly adapted our emergency services strategy, and refined our approach using data to overlay disaster prone areas with locations experiencing vulnerability – this allows us to better target our direct service delivery, and to ensure resources are where they are likely to be needed.

Goal 3

Prevent and alleviate human suffering in times of war and conflict and promote non violence and peace.

Australian attitudes and behaviours strongly reflect humanitarian values

  • In the past two years, we undertook foundational work, with inaugural research to understand humanitarian values identify underpinning attitudes and determine what motivates people to take action.
  • Identified six key segments of the population, their sizes and characteristics from a research in 2017. The research identified 39% of the population as having stronger humanitarian attitudes, who are open to taking action, if the right opportunity at the right time presents itself.
  • Over the remainder of Strategy 2020, we will take a stronger focus on shifting behaviours, recognising that shifting attitudes is a longer term goal.

100% of Australian organisations working in conflict zones have implemented an IHL action plan

  • The past two years has seen meaningful work to build the foundation for this outcome. IHL Action Plans are an innovative approach to IHL dissemination, providing a tool for organisations to know their roles and responsibilities under IHL.
  • Developed our own Australian Red Cross IHL Action Plan.
  • Identified the organisations working in conflict zones we will target – 15 in the private sector and a smaller number in the humanitarian sector. Our medium for implementation will be an online portal – this came through in research as the way most organisations would want to engage with IHL Action Plans.
  • This completely new approach has not been tested anywhere else in the Movement. We aim to share successes and lessons with other National Societies as we progress our work.

We have contributed directly to the Movement’s increased impact in migration, disaster risk reduction, ensuring respect for IHL, the elimination of nuclear weapons and health care in danger

  • Took a lead role in the Movement’s 2017 meeting in Nagasaki on the elimination of nuclear weapons. Soon after, we welcomed the introduction of an historic Nuclear Weapons Treaty and started planning how the treaty can be used as a platform for further campaigning.
  • Provided substantial influence and leadership over the Movement’s approach to the Global Compact for Migration, the first intergovernmental negotiated agreement that covers all dimensions of international migration.
  • Carried out close consultation with Movement partners to change the way we collectively approach disaster risk reduction in the Asia Pacific region, to shift to anticipatory action.
  • Finalised our Movement Engagement Plan, which refocusses the existing ecosystem of work we do, engaging with Movement colleagues through a strategic and coordinated lens.

Goal 4

Improve the wellbeing of those experiencing extreme vulnerability.

500,000 Australians are connected to and supported by the community to overcome their deep social exclusion

  • Conducted research to develop a deeper understanding of deep social exclusion and took innovative steps to design solutions for people with lived experience.
  • With the Federal budget announcements of additional funding to support people with mental illness who are unable to access the NDIS, we strongly advocated at a state and Federal level, using evidence from our programs and research (carried out with the University of South Australia). Data shows around 280k people will now have access to NDIS, who may have fallen through the gaps if we hadn’t acted.
  • Undertook a co-design project for people with mental health challenges.  Through an intense process with clients and their families, staff, volunteers, communities and other organisations, culminating in the development of three concepts:

- My Team - a way to help people imagine and realise a more positive future, by building a team of people to give the support needed, when needed.

- Navigator Network - Recognises the value people with lived experience bring in helping others on their journey to recovery and reconnection.

- Common Places - A community network of welcoming spaces to connect and learn.

  • The co-design project was instrumental in building co-design capability across the organisation. Combined with our community development approach, place-based tools and growing human-centered design competency, we are empowering our workforce to better work with clients and communities for their best outcomes.

The wellbeing of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples has improved by 20%

  • Adopted a clear position last year that we would not deliver Indigenous specific programs, but instead partner with and build capacity of Indigenous-led organisations. Over the coming year, we will more clearly define the best role we can take under this outcome.
  • Co-designed our third Reconciliation Action Plan with our people, Reconciliation Australia and partners.
  • Commenced building the ‘Cultural Ladder’ for our people – more than education and awareness, a Cultural Ladder will enable Red Cross people to connect, engage and respect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, their traditions and customs and with a willingness to develop their learning further.
  • Commenced co-design projects in Broome, WA and Darwin, NT, to create a set of ideas to support young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ wellbeing.

Migrants in transition have their humanitarian needs met and are participating in and included in Australian society

  • Worked with the sector as thought and practice leader (delivering practitioners forums, carrying out research and training with UniSA and UNSW), and worked with the sector to address critical destitution issues and support thousands of asylum seekers to urgently process visa applications.
  • Designed and launched our online platform – In Work Australia– to connect migrants with volunteer mentors and to help recently arrived migrants to find and enjoy work in Australia.
  • Successfully managed the transition out of the Status Resolution Support Services contract, ensuring appropriate continuity of care for clients, and acknowledgement of Red Cross people and 25 years of our work with migrants.
  • Broadened our trafficking work to support people at risk of severe labour exploitation and forced marriage.

There has been a 50% improvement in community determined indicators in up to 20 of the most vulnerable communities in Australia

  • Investment in the place-based approach in 10 communities over the past decade has allowed building of infrastructure and relationships in those communities. This has taken a genuine, committed approach over a long term period. In 2017, it was agreed to maintain concentration only on the current 10 communities to drive momentum and ensure further impact.
  • Highlights include:
  • the reinvigoration of the Skin Group in the Tiwi Islands, strengthening traditional governance structures. The Skin Group is starting to influence decision-making bodies including local council and schools.

- Young people in Woorabinda celebrating their culture through dance, winning a state competition and performing in the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony.

- Community led initiatives in Kempsey, from backyard gyms helping Aboriginal boys focus better in school, to community homework clubs to increase school retention, and local Aboriginal young men volunteering to connect young boys to culture and country.

- In Wallaga Lake, the community is driving social cohesion through a community study centre (providing safe space for study and homework) and an Elders Club (providing social interaction addressing long term family fractures).

Australian governments are directing into justice reinvestment at least 50% of savings delivered by a 10% reduction in Australian prison numbers

  •  Started leading justice reinvestment pilots in Port Adelaide and Katherine, and participating in a Bourke trial.
  • Increased funding from state governments into diversionary/prevention programs such as the QLD Government’s reinstatement of drug courts, SA and NSW Governments’ investment in justice reinvestment and WA’s investment in Regional Youth Justice Services Strategy.
  • We were requested to support brokering solutions between the NT Government, mainstream non-government agencies and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander led agencies following a major submission to the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the NT and further advocacy to NT Government.
  • Over the remainder of Strategy 2020, we will take a stronger focus on reducing prison numbers by 10%, focussing on less serious and non-violent offences.

Goal 5

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

  • Introduced our Ethical Framework to staff and now applying lessons learnt to roll out to members and volunteers.
  • Enhanced workforce mobility and made connecting using technology (such as Skype) easier - also saving on travel costs – and further rolled out fundamental support systems, including Client Case Management and Program Information Management systems.
  • Established a team to embed ‘agile’ and ‘lean’ capabilities to improve efficiency and effectiveness. The team supports us to rapidly explore, validate, and if necessary fail, in our approach to solving humanitarian problems and achieving Strategy 2020 outcomes.
  • Built digital skills and customer experience capability. Launched an online ‘learning gateway’ for staff and volunteers to access training courses to help develop skills and knowledge, any time, from anywhere. Also rolled out virtual and face-to-face training to build leadership, management capability and confidence.

80 cents in every dollar raised is going directly to humanitarian outcomes and impacts

  • We have undertaken activities at this midpoint to drive efficiencies, including consolidating and transitioning our main offices in Sydney and Melbourne to ‘Our Space’ – an activity based way of working that gives flexibility and choice to our people, and delivers $1M annually in savings in property costs.
  • The significant work on our future operating model will support this outcome; this work in currently underway.

There are diversified multi-year funding streams in place with no single funding source exceeding 50%

  • This outcome was achieved in FY18, with the highest percentage of revenue from Government Grants 28%, down on 46.54% at end FY17. We will be focusing on sustainability of our diversified funding for remainder S2020.
  • In early 2018, our major campaign, Red Cross Calling, raised $1.9m and had over 14k people join through initiatives such as the peer to peer challenge or by supporting us digitally by adding coins to our digital ‘jar’. Our Season of Belonging festive campaign, focused on social isolation, raised over $1.9m, and our end of financial year fundraising campaign raised $4.15m, using strength-based stories focused on connection.

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

  • Released our 2016-17 Annual Report, showing our work and impact towards our Strategy 2020 goals for the previous year, in a more accessible, transparent format.
  • For the coming year, for the first time, we have shared our key priorities online in our FY19 Annual Plan.