16/04/2008 - 22:00

Partners benefit Variety WA

16/04/2008 - 22:00


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Variety WA has attributed a record fund-raising result last financial year to its constructive engagement with the business community.

Partners benefit Variety WA

Variety WA has attributed a record fund-raising result last financial year to its constructive engagement with the business community.


Variety granted $1.75 million worth of equipment and services to children in need in 2006–07 .


Executive director Michael Pailthorpe said this success was largely due to Variety’s corporate partnerships, and a change in its thinking away from a ‘victim mentality’ to a cause-related marketing frame.


He said the victim mentality was a real problem in the not-for-profit sector, where the leaders of many organisations were not used to talking corporate language.


“A lot of organisations will ask, ‘Please help us, because we are worthy or needy’,” Mr Pailthorpe said.


“It’s much more powerful to ask, ‘How can we help you?’”


Mr Pailthorpe said one in 12 children in WA had a mild syndrome, and one in 24 a severe disability, so there was a high likelihood that most Western Australians would have a personal link to the children Variety helped.


He said that, for this reason, it was important to engage people emotionally, but to also speak their language by giving a rational reason to contribute.


He described Variety’s most recent partnership with Retravision as a “multi-faceted genuine partnership”.


“We found that [Retravision was] giving to the community, but they had no way of calculating exactly how much, so we custom-made a partnership in which both parties can benefit,” Mr Pailthorpe said.


In January, a percentage of all Retravision sales for the month were donated to form 22 grants that were then presented to the recipients in store.


Mr Pailthorpe said that, in addition to helping Variety WA reach out to children in need, Retravision management and staff benefited because they could see they were giving to real people in the community.


He said it also helped with customer loyalty and cause-related marketing.


Mr Pailthorpe said planning and patience had a major impact when approaching potential partner businesses.


“When we approached Retravision, we were clear on our goals and deliberate to do our own homework; if your plan is clear and your vision is clear, then others will help,” Mr Pailthorpe said.


He said the organisation benefited greatly from mass marketing and active PR.


“We try to be active in getting the message out, through the web site, press and TV,” Mr Pailthorpe said.


“We give out a lot of grants and try to advertise this in order to create a media profile that evidences that the money gets through to the children.”


Another strategy Mr Pailthorpe suggested for attracting volunteers, paretnerships and raising funds was to only employ a small staff group.


“It is an important strategy because it encourages a large volunteer base, which encourages more people to put their hand up to volunteer when they see that others are doing it, and most importantly, allows the organisation to keep to our goal of donating every tax deductible dollar to the children that we help,” he said.


Mr Pailthorpe said he planned to continue his strategy of infusing a marketing mentality in to the organisation, so that Variety WA could continue to increase grants for the sick and disadvantaged children in WA who fell through the cracks in terms of benefits and funding.



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