Transparency required at every stage of the journey

By: Jo Kelly   |   Chief Customer Officer, Good2Give   |

The last two years have held some pretty challenging moments for us all.

Jo Kelly

The Bushfires Crisis and its continued aftermath, and the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic around the world are of course the most obvious examples. The pressure has weighed heavily on individuals and communities, and the organisations that support them.

And yet, during the same period, we have seen unprecedented large scale charitable giving.

A staggering 53 per cent of all Australians donated at least $50 to Bushfires Crisis-related charitable and community organisations – perhaps the most widespread outpouring of generosity in our nation’s history. I strongly believe this level of engagement with charitable giving has the potential for creating a huge behavioural legacy. As part of the philanthropic business community, I see this as a remarkable opportunity.

With that in mind, our team at Good2Give, in partnership with CAF International, have just hosted our first Worldwide Symposium on Philanthropy. Bringing a range of corporates, charities, philanthropists and donors together for a 4-hour event, our content was curated to spotlight the power of giving on a local and global stage. Pairing insight with inspiration, the Symposium provided a unique perspective on giving, connecting charities and corporates in the spirit of collaboration.

Forming part of a worldwide initiative by Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) International, we brought together thought leaders in local and global philanthropy from Australia and New Zealand. This local perspective will now form part of a global library of insights and information, along with contributions from India, South Africa, Russia, Turkey, Bulgaria, Brazil, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the USA.

Hearing from a range of panelists and inspirational speakers, we saw a consistent theme become clear throughout the day; the central premises of connection, transparency, and alignment of goals. And within that, the notion that transparency is multi-faceted.

At every stage of the giving journey, there must be transparency of intention, operation, and impact. This is equally important for the creation of productive relationships with charities, corporates and donors alike.

Our speakers shared some truly inspirational insights, as well as practical applications and advice. Dr Joe Collins’ work has contributed to funding around $100 million for childhood cancer research programs. Currently Chairman of the Findex Client Advisory Group, he spoke passionately about finding your purpose and taking a leadership role in giving. Joe acknowledged the importance of strong relationships, not only in creating a high-performance philanthropic environment, but in creating organisations with a stronger sense of loyalty and purpose.

Creating robust communication channels, with charities and donors alike, acting with respect, setting boundaries, as well as building and valuing trust. All play a vital role in creating and supporting an environment where giving will thrive.

A firm believer in using the power of business and partnership to change the lives of people in poverty, Audette Exel AO, CEO and Founder of the Adara Group, spoke eloquently on the cultural value of giving internationally. An accomplished senior corporate executive, Audette believes every individual has the ability to impact, influence and inspire change on a global scale. Citing the four key humanitarian principles that underpin disaster recovery, she believes these can easily apply to our personal attitudes to giving; humanity, neutrality, impartiality, and independence. By changing our perspective, cutting through the noise and fear, she spoke of the greatness we can find in the low and middle-income developing countries. Through the Adara Group, Audette is providing a different model to create, generate and harness wealth, power, and capital for those in huge need. Over the years, she has seen the increasingly significant role corporates are taking in building a fairer, and more equal world. Against the backdrop of that momentum, she spoke of the continued need for corporate leadership to act.

Not only for what they are able to achieve themselves, but to inspire others to create change. This will also unlock the potential for the greater, and more sustainable, impact that can be made when we stand together.

We also bought together panels to explore the opportunities for corporates and charities on a local level. Charities had the unique opportunity of hearing directly from corporates on what they are looking for in a charity partner. On the panel were Shane Boladeras, Principal Community South 32, Danielle Maxwell, Head of Philanthropy and Sustainability Findex, Melissa Schulz, General Manager Sustainability QIC, and Karen Woo, Sustainability Manager Community, Vicinity Centres. Again, transparency and shared values played a significant role in the conversation. Whilst there was no expectation that community partners would be at the same level of reporting as a corporate organisation, willingness to engage with, and learn about measuring impact and outcomes is vitally important for success. The panel also talked about an executional shift they are experiencing, with some partnerships moving away from the traditional philanthropic model to a two-way community investment model.

We rounded off the Symposium with a panel of senior corporate executives. On the table was a deep dive into a subject I feel very passionately about, the role of leadership in creating a culture of giving in corporate life. Hearing directly from Marc Bennie, Indigenous Programs and Community Investment for Accor, Sarah Collier, Social Impact and Media Relations for KFC and Nicky Tracey, Head of Community for Australia Post, it’s clear they, and their organisations share that passion. When leadership seeks to understand and foster employee interest in giving, there is a collective benefit. Not only do the charities receive much-valued funds, the workforce, often spread over many locations and roles, are unified by a common purpose. These organisations are all doing great work, setting the bar for corporate Australia to follow.

Recent ATO research reports that 33 percent of working Australians now have access to workplace giving, but only 5 per cent of employees participate. If participation doubled to 10 per cent, charities would receive an additional $40 million per annum. The opportunity gap that represents is staggering. Throughout the Symposium we heard from so many individuals and organisations committed to continued engagement and growth in giving. They’re achieving remarkable results; however, the wider corporate Australia and New Zealand community needs to consider how they can do more. Not only on the number of corporates participating in workplace-related giving, but in turn on employee participation rates. I continue to be inspired by the work so many organisations do to actively participate in philanthropy, but we need to ask the tough questions of those who do not.

What role are you going to play in creating a more giving society?

You can watch the full Symposium here.

Nov. 11, 2021

Philanthropy Weekly Newsletter

Sign up to our weekly e-newsletter for sector news, expert opinion and resources.

Sign up here