The community services group is attempting to stand out from an overcrowded corporate charity market with a new offering.
Anglicare WA has launched a flagship charity initiative harnessing iconic St George’s Cathedral as an intimate dinner venue in the CBD to raise money for children caught up in the trauma of domestic violence.
Anglicare hopes its Angels Rising dinner on Friday, November 10, will help it stand out in a Perth fundraising market saturated by charity balls, and one constrained by tougher economic times.
The community services organisation held its last Op Shop Ball in 2015. The fundraiser peaked in 2011, attracting more than 750 people and raising more than $250,000.
But after 10 years, Anglicare chief executive Ian Carter believes the organisation has been hampered by what he calls “charity fatigue” among corporate sponsors and in the community.
Patrons had become overexposed to similar fundraisers and underwhelmed by the variety of charity events, Mr Carter said. This had given rise to some new and distinct events to raise money.
Anglicare, which aims to raise $100,000 from corporate sponsors in its first year, will partner for the cathedral dinner with Fraser’s Group, which owns five hospitality venues including its Kings Park restaurant.
At the event, the restaurant group will launch its new business arm, Fraser’s Events & Catering.
Anglicare hopes the strategy will help it build long-term partnerships with supporters.
“It is an interesting time, it’s not only big events like balls (on offer) but it’s a lot of the other things that people are running these days,” Mr Carter told Business News.
“You’ve got yellow this, white this, red that … and we’re all competing for a population of 2.5 million in Western Australia.”
“At the end of the day we looked up and we felt it was time for a change.”
He said the St George’s Cathedral venue provided a key point of difference for the event. It would be a smaller, more intimate function with only 30 tables (300 people).
Fraser’s executive chef Chris Taylor said his company had been operating for a number of years and he was interested in taking the business to new venues.
“I think it’s important we always change up our game plan a bit; keep it fresh, keep it innovative, challenge ourselves; (otherwise) it does get a bit boring in all due respect,” Mr Taylor told Business News.
He said he was excited to launch his new venture at Anglicare’s cathedral dinner.
“I’ve got to be honest with you the church sort of did it for me,” Mr Taylor said.
Different to what you would see in a ballroom, St George’s Cathedral is of a Gothic Revival style, with stained glass windows throughout.
Mr Carter said the venue would be one way to connect with patrons.
Anglicare is one of the most diverse statewide community service organisations, running more than 75 different service types in more than 50 locations.
Unlike its op shop ball, which spread the money raised across a number of Anglicare’s community initiatives, Mr Carter said it would use the dinner at the cathedral to focus on a single cause to engage patrons – its Young Hearts program.
The Young Hearts program is a counselling service that relies purely on donations and corporate philanthropy to provide assistance to children who have experienced domestic violence and trauma.
“Family and domestic violence is one of our major focuses, it’s a significant issue that needs to be attended to and we really are concerned that children get overlooked,” Mr Carter said.
Mr Carter said a major purpose of the dinner was to attract corporate sponsors that understood the cause.
“It’s an ambitious target in a difficult market at the moment, lots of businesses out there are hurting, but we also know there are lots of businesses who are there for the long term and partnerships can evolve over time,” Mr Carter said.
“So if we can develop the relationship and the partnership as the economy starts swinging up, they can become a serious partner.”
Mr Taylor said Anglicare had given him control over catering decisions for the dinner.
“We (Fraser’s) want to use it as a big opportunity to get out there and say to the market this is what we can do,” Mr Taylor said.
“(At the event) we’ll have ducks hanging, pork hanging … there’ll be a bit of show,” he said.
Fraser’s already had the back-of-house support, chefs, equipment, production areas and years of experience and external catering was a natural progression from its in-house catering, he said
“Most of the caterers in the market don’t have what we have,” he said.
“Taking that (external catering) to the market, it’ll just sort of give us a little pick up and create more awareness in what we do.”