QUT Staff Think About the Future with Staff Giving Program

Chaired aloft a sea of dancers.  Mobile Clubbing, London Victoria Station concourse, 4 April 2007.

Employee giving programs are a powerful way of maximising your personal charitable giving. Charities gain reliable, regular funds and by making pre-tax donations to charities through workplace giving, the impact of your donations can go much further. In fact, with employer matching in place – where every dollar that you donate is matched by your employer – the economic impact of every dollar can be be multiplied by up to a factor of FOUR.

So, for every dollar you donate, your favourite charities can be four times better off.

  • Employer matching doubles your contribution
  • Charities traditionally spend up to 25% of their income on fundraising, so you are saving them acquisition, retention and marketing funds
  • Regular, bulk payroll donations reduce administration costs and allow for more effective planning

But despite continuing growth in workplace giving, many organisations have yet to put a formal program in place. The Australian Charities Fund explains that these programs have massive impact – not just on charities who receive the philanthropic funds – but also on employers and individuals. For example:

  • Individual worker philanthropy: People are more confident that their donations make a difference, feel more involved with their community and benefit from the tax effectiveness of their donations
  • Corporates: Employers can build effective and useful community partnerships and boost employee morale. Workplace giving programs are low on cost and administration and simultaneously help attract and retain quality talent

But how do you have a genuine, engaging discussion about staff giving?

The Queensland University of Technology took an innovative approach and tapped their own school of performing arts to create a flashmob during staff Christmas celebrations. The aim was to get people to think about the future – the future of students and of the university. Not only were students involved, so were lecturers, tutors, professors and heads of schools. There was wide engagement across all stakeholder groups.

This is important to note, because if you want a lasting impact, you need to move beyond talking, to doing. Your ideas have to have a life and an impetus to drive participation. And while we all love the idea of conversation, we also know that talk is cheap, and at the beginning of a new year, perhaps we should all be looking towards a new future.


Chaired aloft a sea of dancers.  Mobile Clubbing, London Victoria Station concourse, 4 April 2007.

Image: Chris Beckett via Compfight

#WhipIt–Pantene tackles workplace perceptions of women

Change - Its A New Year

When I was a teenager I felt that my generation was going to be the one to combat all the issues of injustice that plagued the world. As I got older, I realised that almost every teenage generation thinks the same way – that they can, armed with fresh insight, a new perspective and abundant energy, change the world.

But changing one person’s mind is hard enough. Changing the world … well, you see where I am going.

We are a great mass of inertia – and it takes a lot of effort to mobilise our thinking and to push us to take action. That’s why it’s important to keep challenging “what is”. It’s why it is essential to call out unacceptable behaviours and “old” notions of thinking. Because in challenging these things change can happen one heart and one mind at a time. But no change comes without drawing a line in the sand. Which is why I love the way that Pantene has framed this ad. It’s calling out the often unspoken attitudes that continue to prevail in many of our workplaces.

It’s a great ad. It may not change the world, but it may inspire the drawing of a few more lines. And that would be a great, good thing.

The Perfect Gift this Holiday

perfectgift

Way back in 2009, Mark Pollard and I set out to change the online conversation about men’s health, depression, suicide and alcohol dependency. As part of the Inspire Foundation’s Manweek campaign, we collected stories that would help reinvent manhood. We even had author of Manhood and Raising Boys, Steve Biddulph write an introduction.

This is one hell of a book. Born out of a triple j week focusing on men’s lives, and created by its listeners, it’s a remarkable piece of work.

A man’s life, whether he is 18 or 80, can start to go badly. And often, after that, it just gets worse. How to turn your life around is a serious concern. The men who write these gutsy, honest, emotionally vulnerable stories create an excitement and energy in the reader, because they have faced the dragon of their own pain, and won. They got help, they dived in, they didn’t give up, and they trusted the power of their hearts to bring them through.

Every kind of man, every single style of writing, with pictures, cartoons, short and punchy, you will find bits of yourself all over these pages. Read it and weep. It will change you.l

We know that around this time of year – when we celebrate Christmas and head into the holiday season – some men find themselves isolated and struggling. The book, The Perfect Gift for a Man, was written specifically for them. And it remains as powerful and as relevant today as it did in 2009.

Get a free download of the book today.

If you need help with issues like these, please contact Reachout. If you’re in Australia and want to talk to someone, try Lifeline 13 11 14 or Inspire.


Go Where Others Don’t – The Digital Newsroom of Medecins Sans Frontieres Australia

msftv There is a lot of talk about brands becoming publishers – as if it was a simple transformation achieved by the stroke of a budget making biro. But what does it really take?

In Australia, Medicins Sans Frontieres or “doctors without borders” aim to put this to the test.

Médecins Sans Frontières is the world’s leading independent organisation for medical humanitarian aid, providing relief after natural disasters, helping victims of conflict and running emergency feeding programs. Working in war zones much of their work happens far from the eyes of the world.

And while MSF are known as a “below the radar” organisation – this poses real challenges for sharing stories, building awareness and engaging with potential sponsors, donors and the interested public.

For the month of October, MSF TV aims to address this challenge head on, creating a digital newsroom to bring stories directly to the public. There are:

  • Seven channels of video content aimed to stimulate conversation
  • Conversations amplified through the #msftv hashtag on Twitter
  • Live updates and headlines from around the world
  • Interviews from those on-the-ground
  • Hosted debates on Facebook and on MSF TV
  • YouTube channel with an archive of episodes and issues from the MSF TV site

The rise of digital opens new opportunities for brands to go peer-to-peer

Marketers generally think in terms of business-to-business or business-to-consumer communications. But the rise of digital has changed the landscape. It’s not one-to-many but one-FOR-many communications. The old B2B and B2C distinctions are crumbling under the weight of social media – with communicators now working in a peer-to-peer conversation.

Very few organisations have followed this path thus far. It’s complicated, challenging and exciting. MSF and their partner agency, Republic of Everyone, are trailblazing. They truly are going where others don’t. But we can only expect more to follow.

Here’s to Your Strange Heart

Many, many years ago – back in my early days of social media, I connected with a very strange person. His name is Mike Wagner. He was a boldly creative and generous spirit that leaped at me out of the vast sea of social media chaos. I loved his energy and his thinking.

But the thing is … he stood out. We connected. We conversed. And after many years of connecting over social media, we met – face-to-face – in Des Moines, Iowa – and I felt like we had been friends for years. I thought it was about some deeper truth related to social media. But I was wrong.

And now I know how he did it. He used his STRANGE on me.

In this great TEDxDesMoines talk, he talks about the positive power of strangeness – and how we can tap into our strangeness to connect with the people who can help us solve the problems of our world.

So how do you feel today? I’m full of Johnny Cash today, but tomorrow I expect a touch of Ray LaMontagne. Rock on with your strangeness today.

Finding Your Passata

How do you change the world? It’s not about doing things … well not entirely. It’s about metaphors. It’s about storytelling. It’s about changing behaviours one person at a time. Just ask Sally Hill. It’s also about passata.

When 0.5% Is Not a Statistical Glitch

When you are dealing with statistics one expects a margin of error. You could be estimating a project and suggest +/- 10 percent. You could be waving your finger in the air and provide a rough order of magnitude “guesstimate” of +/- 200 percent.

So the thought of taking as little of 0.5% out of an equation should not be a problem, right?

But what happens if that 0.5% happen to control 38.5% of the world’s total wealth?

05-of-the-worlds-population-owns-385-of-its-wealth-this-is-insane (1)

The Business Insider shares 13 Staggering Facts About the Global Super Rich – and it leads out with this image of the global wealth pyramid based on data from Credit Suisse’s Global Wealth Databook 2011.

Given these figures, there’s little surprise that civil protests like #OccupyWallStreet in New York are gaining momentum (including the local #occupysydney efforts). It makes for interesting times.

Walkers, Talkers, Stalkers and Baulkers

Walkers, Talkers, Stalkers and Baulkers

 

Walkers, Talkers, Stalkers and BaulkersIn almost any field of endeavour, you are going to come across four different types of people. Your project may be some form of project implementation for your company. It could be that you have a creative idea for an advertising client. Or you may just want to go back to university to complete a degree. But no matter your focus, you will have to deal with walkers, talkers, stalkers and baulkers. In some cases these people will be your boss, or a member of your staff. They may be parents or friends.

But whether you like it or not, you need to figure out a way of dealing with each type. Let’s take a look at their characteristics.

Type Description How to help them
Walkers You want the Walkers on your project. They deliver. They understand the terminology and the goals and they know how to achieve outcomes. Because the Walkers are so busy resolving issues, achieving outcomes and so on, they may not communicate “up” as much as is necessary. Add regular communications into their mix of KPIs.
Talkers The talkers are evangelistic. They are great at the start of a project, picking up the terminology and the ideas and transmitting them to others. The Talkers are often purists which means that they are sometimes unwilling to compromise. Help them see the win-win outcome – but also push them to move from “talk” to “walk”.
Stalkers The vast majority of the population are Stalkers. They will watch from a distance but don’t personally commit. They won’t get in the way but they won’t participate either. The Stalkers will often do a great job – but will only do as they are instructed. Inertia is the domain of the Stalker. You can use the Talkers to engage and activate these folks. You can point towards the Walkers as aspirational role models, but the challenge is in building momentum.
Baulkers The Baulkers are the intransigent group. They may be active detractors or simply explain all the reasons why your project will not succeed. They can sometimes feign support but will often move back to an inert or negative position very quickly. The Baulkers have the power of negativity on their side. As we generally don’t like change, the Baulker appeals to our risk averse natures. They discredit the ideas underpinning your project and those who support them. Leave them in a room with a Talker.

 

Any long term project success requires the activation of all four of these types. The important thing to remember is that you don’t need to change these people. They won’t change for you.

But they may change their opinion of your project.

Take the time to understand the motivations of each of these types and play to their strengths and weaknesses. It is about playing the person, not the project.

Working with the people will deliver your project – but focusing only on the project will more deeply entrench the positions of the Walkers, Talkers, Stalkers and Baulkers. Your challenge is to create movement between the categories – and the best way to do that is activate their talents.

Give it a try, you might just find you succeed wildly.

Australian Asylum Seekers Infographic

Each year the Australian population swells. There are babies born and plenty of smart people moving to our country. And there are people who arrive here seeking asylum. But what are the percentages – and should we really be worried by the numbers of people desperate enough to risk their lives arriving by boat on our northern coast? This infographic from the folks at Crikey tells the story (HT to Tiphereth Gloria).

AustBoatPeople They look like one percenters. Statistically, that makes them bloggers, tech evangelists or early adopters.

Seriously, it’s about time we stopped whining about the “dangers” of these arrivals and started living up to our international humanitarian obligations.

A Collection of Australian Wikileaks Commentary

I thought I’d take a quick scan for Australian blogs and non-mainstream media sites covering Wikileaks and its fallout.

While there is a lot of chatter on Twitter, there is less coverage on blogs than I had expected. There are, however, a few more interesting angles covered by the following: