05/09/2006 - 22:00

Not for Profit: Fashioning a unique event

05/09/2006 - 22:00

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With nearly 620 registered charities in Western Australia, what change the public has to spare is keenly sought after.

Not for Profit: Fashioning a unique event

With nearly 620 registered charities in Western Australia, what change the public has to spare is keenly sought after.

It’s hardly surprising, therefore, that not-for-profit groups are constantly developing innovative and creative fundraising ideas to outclass and outmanoeuvre the competition.

Annual fundraising weeks, auctions, quiz nights, golf days, fun runs, fun walks, bike rides and gala balls are already entrenched in the scene; so how can groups stand out from the pack?

The Asthma Foundation of WA has chosen to target strategic areas of the market with interactive and thought-provoking initiatives.

With its National Asthma Week in full swing this week, the foundation is gearing up for Bubble Day on September 8, followed by its annual Australian Masters of Fashion event on September 12.

Asthma Foundation fundraising and marketing manager, Helen Beard, said although WA had a smaller population than other states, it had a comparable number of charities, which cluttered the market.

The challenge for charities in working in an environment with such a small resource base, she said, was being able to break through this clutter.

“Charities are becoming more business smart and savvy, and are targeting key sectors of the market with unique sporting events and fashion shows,” Ms Beard told WA Business News.

For its part, the foundation is seeking to engage a largely female market through the Masters of Fashion event, as well as helping to grow the profile of WA designers and raising money for asthma research and community support programs.

The fashion event will feature a lunch and dinner parade, displaying more than 70 garments sourced from the national competition’s seven award categories, including contemporary bridal ware, fashion on the field, and picture perfect designer.

In events already held this year the foundation counts the Coles Freeway Bike Hike for Asthma in March as one of its most successful, attracting more than 6,500 participants.

Through a number of alliances the foundation managed to have the Mitchell Freeway closed for a limited time to enable riders to ramble or race along the usually busy motorway.

Ms Beard claims the foundation was the first to market this concept in WA, which added to interest in the event and the cause.

On average, asthma causes one death every 10 days in WA; 60 per cent if these deaths are thought to be preventable.

The most common reasons for the deaths are that medication is either not available or not used appropriately.

Ms Beard said the Asthma Foundation’s fundamental relation-ships with community partners were of vital importance to the financial health of the organisation.

Keeping campaign costs low was an additional challenge, meaning advertising partnerships with media organisations were particularly sought after.

“Channel Seven has been a major asset, as have the 96FM radio grabs; without forming those partnerships we could not afford to advertise,” Ms Beard said.

Amid its ongoing challenges, the foundation is committed to raising money for its projects, including its annual free Ask the Experts forum on September 13, Ask the Educator sessions, Asthma Friendly Schools and Newborns Asthma and Parental Smoking programs.

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