24/06/2010 - 00:00

DRF 1000 club open for business

24/06/2010 - 00:00

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FUNDING is a perennial bugbear for not for profits – how to get more money, securing ongoing funding in order to make future projects viable, and attracting funds from individuals and corporations in a field crowded with worthy causes.

FUNDING is a perennial bugbear for not for profits – how to get more money, securing ongoing funding in order to make future projects viable, and attracting funds from individuals and corporations in a field crowded with worthy causes.

To this end, Diabetes Research Foundation of Western Australia executive director Sherl Westlund has developed what she says is a new fundraising strategy for the foundation to counter these issues.

“The biggest problem we have is that funding we obtain for research is sort of on an ad-hoc basis, we are dependent on the generosity of Western Australians,” Ms Westlund told WA Business News.

DRF does not receive any government funding and relies on the donations of individuals and corporations, as well as bequests.

Ms Westlund is launching the DRF 1000 Club in National Diabetes Week (July 11 to 17), a fundraising initiative that aims to attract 1,000 members to the club to donate $20 each month, amounting to $240,000 each year.

“What I wanted to do is get some funds coming in on a regular basis so we can plan our research and stay in the game. The way to do that is get people to give regularly,” Ms Westlund said.

“Twenty dollars a month is not a whole lot, you can take it out of your pay pre-tax and what that means is we’ll get a significant amount and I can award three and four research projects per year on an ongoing basis.

“So it really frees us up. We can continue to support existing research. There is a worry that when you award some projects that once that funding runs out that research project might just stop because of the funding.

“That is a real worry, you want to make sure that those research projects that you fund are going to be completed, they are going to have an impact, they can be translational and it ends up being that people will get the benefits in WA.

“The push behind it is we need to plan ahead and keep our research going on a year-to-year basis rather than waiting until we have got funds, calling for applications and deciding on a particular area.”

Ms Westlund said the funds generated by the DRF 1000 Club would go towards new projects lowering the impact of the complications of diabetes including nerve damage, kidney disease and vision disorders as well as the psychological impacts.

“One of our biggest focuses is the complications arising from diabetes, we need to prevent them from occurring. While there is a push to find a cure for diabetes, there are a lot of people living with diabetes,” Ms Westlund said.

The foundation is currently trialling a transitions coordinator at PMH, who is responsible for aiding in the difficult transition for children living with diabetes from the child-friendly facilities at Princess Margaret Hospital to general hospitals.

And as Ms Westlund reiterated, the need for research in to diabetes was pressing.

“Every 10 seconds someone dies from complications from diabetes… and in that 10 seconds, two more people worldwide are being diagnosed,” she said.

“It makes the need for research just so much more important; but all those people who have got diabetes are going to develop complications.”

 

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