Structure, strategy fuel funding

21/05/2018 - 15:10


Save articles for future reference.

SPECIAL REPORT: Western Australia’s 10 largest philanthropic foundations distributed $65 million last year, but like many charities, some of these organisations are increasingly targeting individual supporters to offset rising fundraising costs.

Structure, strategy fuel funding
Tori Anderson says charities should be thanking philanthropists and donors seven times a year for their support. Photos: Attila Csaszar

Once considered the go-to for fundraising in Western Australia, flagship events, such as charity balls and dinners, have increasingly fallen from favour.

Instead charities such as Anglicare WA and fundraising groups such as Perth Children’s Hospital Foundation are placing greater emphasis on developing philanthropic partnerships. 

To replace Anglicare’s  once-popular Op Shop Ball, which was last hosted in 2015, the community services organisation launched a new event at St George’s Cathedral last year, Angels Rising.

And while Angels Rising exceeded expectations, raising $180,000 and securing shipbuilder Austal as a corporate partner, new Anglicare WA director of marketing and philanthropy, Tori Anderson, has recommended the event be held on a biennial basis.

Ms Anderson, who has worked in the not-for-profit space for more than a decade, says events can drain a charity of resources and offer the lowest return on investment as a source of fundraising.

(Click to see a full PDF version of this three article special report)

According to JBWere’s ‘Support Report 2018’, the return on investment from fundraising has consistently fallen over the past decade, partly due to increased competition and increased costs.

Ms Anderson told Business News people often associated charities and charity events with gala balls, and while a minority of well-resourced organisations execute them well, these events typically weren’t efficient.

“So for Anglicare WA, our strong focus isn’t actually going to be events,” Ms Anderson said.

“Our focus is going to be on raising strong corporate and philanthropic partnerships; to listen to our donors, their passions and their interests and align them with where they’d like to make a transformative difference on the ground.”

Anglicare WA’s Winter Appeal Committee is one example of how engaging philanthropists can offer a high-value impact without chewing up internal resources.

In 2017, a committee of nine philanthropists raised $323,000 to benefit people sleeping rough through winter; this year it will call on the community to raise $350,000, and will match that effort dollar for dollar as it aims to raise $700,000.

Anglicare WA is ranked 10th (by revenue) on the BNiQ charities list, with about 4 per cent of that from donations, bequests and fundraising. The majority comes from government funding, according to research by Business News.

Co-chairing the Winter Appeal Committee is chairman of property consultancy Hemsley Patterson, Warwick Hemsley, who has been an active philanthropist for many years. 

Mr Hemsley said the government was never going to be able to cater for all of society’s needs, which was the case now more than ever.

“When you look at philanthropy, I think when you have the capacity to help others you do have an obligation to do that, there’s an obligation on us to help those people who for whatever reason have fallen by the wayside,” Mr Hemsley told Business News.

Warwick Hemsley says he supports Anglicare because the organisation addresses community needs. Photo: Attila Csaszar

“Often people’s circumstances are no fault of their own, some people have good luck and some people have bad luck in life; that’s why I support and have worked with Anglicare for over a decade.

“Anglicare works very hard to identify the key needs in the community, offering safe beds at night for those who are in distress and experience homelessness.”

Mr Hemsley is also a major donor to the arts, including the Art Gallery of WA, WA Opera, and WA Symphony Orchestra.

“I think in any philanthropic program, giving to the arts is worthy of serious consideration,” Mr Hemsley said.

“There’s a lot of evidence to show in the area of mental health the opportunity to have arts experiences can be very therapeutic.”

Growing giving

Research by JBWere suggests that many high income earners don’t make charitable donations.

Its report found that less than 60 per cent of Australians earning over $1 million annually claimed tax deductable donations, compared with 90 per cent in the US.

Ms Anderson said Australians often didn’t know where or how they should give.

“Often in the not-for-profit space we’ll push our own agenda rather than actually listening to a philanthropist or an individual and growing the culture,” she said.

Perth Children’s Hospital Foundation chief executive Carrick Robinson said the days were long gone when charitable organisations could ask for money by simply claiming it as a worthy cause.

“I think your ability to match your funding opportunities with philanthropists’ and corporates’ own objectives is a strategic move in modern times,” Mr Robinson told Business News.

Ranked fourth by funds distributed on BNiQ’s philanthropic foundations list, PCHF distributed almost $4 million to the Perth Children’s Hospital in the 2016-17 financial year.

“Core to our success has been being able to establish long and enduring partnerships with well-known philanthropy organisations and individuals who know where the money is going and the impact it’s making,” Mr Robinson said.

“And over the years, we’ve gained a long and proud history of funding some life-changing programs for the hospital, through equipment, research or education and training.”

Mr Robinson said one notable example of PCHF’s work was its Rewalk machine, which helped quadriplegic patients who had suffered catastrophic accidents.

“There are only three of those in Australia and we were able to purchase one thanks to some very generous donors for the hospital,” he said.

“They’re able to see themselves moving around and go outside, and it’s starting to help their therapy with getting their muscles stronger again.”


Mr Robinson said while philanthropic and corporate partnerships were among the most effective means of attracting funds, PCHF undertook a wide range of traditional fundraising methods.

He said PCHF focused on community-based events, such as its QV1 abseiling event and the Big Walk, because they were more than just a money exercise and brought people together.

“I think what you have to be careful about with events these days is your return on investment would be very strict, and if you can’t model it to get a decent outcome then a lot of time, energy and money can easily be wasted,” Mr Robinson said.

“We’ve seen some events that have been very grand in scale and expensive to put on starting to be seen less and less of, and I think that’s really in response to having very strict and stringent return-on-investment modelling.”

Low-key information events, networking events, or intimate ‘thank you’ events for donors is the approach taken by the WA arm of global charitable organisation The Hunger Project, which raises all of its funds through the support of philanthropists and regular donors.

WA board member April Jorgensen, owner and chairperson of the beauty training business Niche Education Group, said WA had raised $6.4 million for The Hunger Project over the past 10 years through donations.  

“Many organisations will accept smaller pockets of cash but that hasn’t really been the process of fundraising for The Hunger Project,” Ms Jorgensen said.

“The process of fundraising for The Hunger Project has always been focusing on individuals, families or businesses to contribute and then really engage them in the process of ‘this is where the funds are going to and this is what we’re achieving’.”

The Hunger Project aims to combat the cycle of poverty by encouraging entrepreneurialism and self-reliance within struggling communities across the world, particularly through their women.

It helps facilitate the construction of customised community ‘epicentres’, which may include schooling facilities, a health precinct, a business skills centre, among other amenities and services.

Ms Jorgensen, a 2014 40under40 winner, was made head of the WA investor consortium last year, meaning she was tasked with raising $200,000 to be put towards the final three years of developing a centre in Senegal, Africa.

“Luckily The Hunger Project has been fairly influential in Perth for the past six years, so we do have a lot of existing investors and existing interest,” Ms Jorgensen said.

“So when we had events for my epicentre we held a cocktail party, something relatively simple; we don’t believe in holding a whole ball, for example, which has very high overhead costs.”

For several years Ms Jorgensen has also been contributing a percentage of Niche Education Group’s profits to The Hunger Project, in addition to training several refugee and asylum seekers each year for free.

Merchant Group founder Andrew Chapman has also leveraged his business and networks to champion a charity – OzHarvest.

Mr Chapman established the WA arm of the food rescue charity in 2014 after realising the state was missing out on a worthy resource due to a lack of local leadership.

“People generally want to give; it’s just people don’t want to give necessarily to huge organisations and we found at OzHarvest that you need to have that person in WA to champion the cause,” Mr Chapman told Business News.

Mr Chapman said he was vocal about his involvement in OzHarvest, asking friends and clients to give as part of his participation in its CEO Cookoff,.

He said, for them, knowing he was involved took some of the risk away and increased their confidence in giving.

Mr Chapman has consistently been the top fundraiser, and this year raised $312,000 of the total $2 million raised, taking his contribution to OzHarvest to about $700,000 since 2014, all of which was directed to WA.

Structured philanthropy

While some philanthropic foundations such as the Chanel 7 Telethon Trust – which is number one on the BNiQ list – actively raise funds every year, other foundations are back by wealthy families.

At the very largest end of giving is the Forrest family, with its Minderoo Foundation ranked second by funds distributed on BNiQ’s philanthropic foundation list, having distributed close to $19 million last financial year.

Stan Perron Charitable Trust, ranked third, distributed about $4.5 million for the financial year.

Additionally, children’s charity Parkerville recently announced Stan Perron had donated $5 million to its community centre being developed in Midland.

Lotterywest also contributed $4.5 million to the Stan and Jean Perron Child Advocacy Centre, where a variety of different agencies and professionals will come together to offer a central hub for youth subjected to trauma.

The McCusker Charitable Foundation, ranked eighth, formalised its structure last year by registering as a PAF.

In 2017, the foundation donated $1.9 million to Telethon and $1 million to Barry Marshall’s Noisy Guts Project through the University of Western Australia.

McCusker Foundation director Tonya McCusker said Telethon’s governance around the distribution of funds was attractive, while the UWA gut health project was an “out of the box” program that had struggled to secure funding.

“We are most passionate about supporting the brilliant researchers investigating the cause and finding cures for these medical conditions,” Mrs McCusker told Business News.

Annie Fogarty says she and her husband realised the importance of education when they had children. 

Meanwhile, the Fogarty Foundation is committed to bettering the education opportunities within WA, with the Fogarty EDvance school leadership support model being one of its most significant outcomes.

Executive chair Annie Fogarty said the program was working with 67 schools in the state and providing training to more than 165 school leaders, which was affecting more than 30,000 students.

“All of the schools we’ve worked with so far have showed improvements in learning outcomes, 60 per cent have shown significant improvements so we know those children’s’ life opportunities are going to be better because of it,” Mrs Fogarty told Business News.

Mrs Fogarty said she and her husband, Brett, had always been entrepreneurial, and took a proactive and hands-on approach to decision-making when they established the foundation.

“We decided to pick one particular area to be strategic and not to spread what we were doing too widely, partly the financial aspect we thought we’d have more impact, but also if we worked in one area we would get to know it, which we have,” she said.

In the corporate sector, financial services company Euroz has applied a structure to its giving strategy in order to grow its capacity to distribute funds.

The Euroz Charitable Foundation was formed in 2007 as a PAF and has distributed $1.2 million since inception (mainly to small to medium WA charities), with the intention to grow the fund and increase giving when possible.

The foundation’s chairman, Andrew McKenzie, said it would give away $150,000 this year, which compared with about $20,000 from the fund’s first year.

Before the fund was established, Euroz had struggled to determine its obligations as a business to give back to society, Mr McKenzie said.

“We’d just do ad hoc bits of money here and there and you’d get a tax deduction and that sort of thing, and then the (2004) tsunami happened and I started reading about the private ancillary fund structure, which had just come out around that time and that was probably the major catalyst,” he said.

Mr McKenzie said it preferred to support smaller charities within WA where relatively modest donations would have an impact.


Subscription Options