5×2: more news from the organisations

I spoke to several more 5×2 organisations about what they’re working on (several of them, by waiting to call me, had the advantage of discovering the blog series):

UNICEF (day 4) is working to make sure that children receive other vaccines: measles vaccination campaigns have been (hopefully) temporarily interrupted and without good tracking and catch-up campaigns, they risk cohorts of children who go unvaccinated for other diseases.

The Haymarket Foundation (day 2) have worked to move many people who were sleeping rough in Sydney into hotels. They’ve also secured PPE so that they can visit these folks rather than have them staying all alone in hotel rooms indefinitely and have been able to distribute some to other agencies too. They’re working on supplying devices too so that people can access telehealth services. They’re not accustomed to donor outreach or publicity and are working on a way to connect with donors without compromising the privacy and safety of their community.

Asylum Seeker Resource Centre and ACON (both day 5) are both working to transition a very in-person based and community-centred service model to a one-on-one, low contact model, while working with community members who have previous traumatic experiences of confinement (asylum seekers) and pandemics (LGBTQ people).

The ASRC writes:

People seeking asylum are often denied the right to work and simultaneously denied the right to safety nets such as Centrelink and Medicare. Right now this means that thousands of people seeking asylum in Australia are being left stranded and forgotten by cruel Government policies. It is clear that people seeking asylum will be among the hardest hit by the impacts of COVID-19.

We are still open and this is why

ACON has a clearinghouse of resources for LGBTQ people during COVID and is providing information on drug and alcohol use in this context at their Pivot Point site.

If you have the capacity to support your community by finding frontline organisations working with Indigenous people, ethnic minorities, LGBTQ people, homeless people, people without food, disabled people, chronically ill people, children, elderly people, and other vulnerable and at-risk groups, please support them today.

5×2: Asylum Seeker Resource Centre and ACON

Today is our final day of 5 days of donations to support charities working with vulnerable communities during a health and economic crisis.

Our second last charity is the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre which provides a foodbank, legal aid, healthcare, and other services to refugees and people seeking asylum in Victoria. Their COVID-19 statement.

Many refugees and people seeking asylum are affected by poverty and lack of access to government resources (eg, some of ASRC’s community don’t have access to publicly funded healthcare). In addition, refugees and people seeking asylum often have experience of being detained (frequently by the Australian government) or having limited freedom of movement, and sometimes of infectious diseases spreading through their communities due to lack of healthcare or crowding or neglect. Social distancing, self-isolation, quarantine, widespread illness, etc, are things many are familiar with, often deliberately and cruelly inflicted, and this time is re-traumatising for them.

Founded 18 years ago, the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) is Australia’s largest human rights organisation providing support to people seeking asylum.

We are an independent not-for-profit organisation whose programs support and empower people seeking asylum to maximise their own physical, mental and social well being.

We champion the rights of people seeking asylum and mobilise a community of compassion to create lasting social and policy change.

Take a tour of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre | ASRC

You can donate to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre online.

Our last charity is ACON, an Australian health organisation for LGBTQ people, founded for and focussing on people with HIV.

There have been other terrible global pandemics in our lifetime: 32 million people are thought to have died of AIDS to date, with hopes that only 500,000 people will die in 2020. That’s right, half a million deaths from AIDS in 2020 is the hoped for outcome.

And of course, since it’s an immunodeficiency disease, people with HIV are at higher risk from COVID-19, so the two collide. Here’s ACON’s COVID-19 statement, the impact of COVID-19 on people living with HIV in Australia does not yet seem well understood.

We are a fiercely proud community organisation. For our entire history, the work of ACON has been designed by and for our communities.

Established in 1985, our early years were defined by community coming together to respond to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in NSW, and we remain committed to ending HIV for everyone in our communities. We do this by delivering campaigns and programs to eliminate new HIV transmissions. Supporting people living with HIV to live healthy and connected lives remains core to our work.

As we have grown, we have been proud to work with a diverse range of people to ensure their voice and health needs are represented in the work we do.

Who We Are — ACON

You can donate to ACON online.

I’ve shared my family’s donations this week in order to inspire you to think about the hardest hit people in your communities, and in the world, as COVID-19’s health and economic implications bite. If you’re inspired to support one of these ten organisations they can all use a great deal of additional help, but I also encourage you to look around your own community, and around the world for organisations at the frontline of providing services to vulnerable people, and to support them.

5×2: news from the organisations

Several 5×2 organisations have been in touch to share their stories about what they and their communities are going through at this time:

We talked with folks from Médecins Sans Frontières Australia (MSF) (day 1) and YoungCare (day 3) on the phone yesterday. Both organisations are very very scared for their communities. MSF is in Italy and Greece right now assisting with COVID-19 care, and particularly advocating for the evacuation of refugee camps on the Greek Islands. They are having a lot of trouble moving their staff between countries to where they are needed. YoungCare is naturally deeply concerned for disabled Australians with high needs in coming weeks.

Waltja Tjutangku Palyapayi Aboriginal Corporation (day 3) wrote:

Everyone here is worried about the impact on our vulnerable clients, many who have multiple health problems and are living in overcrowded inadequate housing or are homeless. Today we are arranging transport back home to Communities for some of our elderly and disabled clients and board members. There is a lot of fear so we are also doing as much as we can to source and create information in local languages, as well as personally keep key senior people up to date.

FoodCare Orange (day 2) wrote:

… such an unsure and concerning time for our community… As FoodCare receives no recurrent Government funding, this will certainly assist us to continue providing what we believe is a very needed service to those experiencing financial hardship.

5×2: UNICEF and Aboriginal Health & Medical Research Council

Today is our fourth of 5 days of donations to support charities working with vulnerable communities during a health and economic crisis.

Today’s two charities are again driven by the interests of our children.

Our first child was keen to support children who are left without stable homes, or possibly families, by COVID-19. For this one we chose a large and well-known charity with a global footprint: UNICEF. They have a COVID-19 overview page.

UNICEF is the world’s leading organisation working to protect and improve the lives of every child in over 190 countries.

Promoting the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. We protect and advocate for the rights of every child in Australia and overseas. We provide life-saving support and protection for children during emergencies and crises.

UNICEF Australia – United Nation’s Children’s Fund

You can donate to UNICEF’s Australian arm or donate to your local arm.

Our second child wanted to help Indigenous Australians, so in addition to yesterday’s donation to Waltja Tjutangku Palyapayi Aboriginal Corporation, we have made a donation to The Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council, which is an Indigenous governed peak body for Aboriginal health services. They already have COVID-19 resources in place.

The Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council (AH&MRC) assists the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs) across NSW to ensure they have access to an adequately resourced and skilled workforce to provide high-quality health care services for Aboriginal communities.

Who we are » Aboriginal Health & Medical Research Council of NSW

You can donate to AH&MRC online.

What groups around you are scared of the impacts of COVID-19 and associated economic shocks? Can you help them?

5×2: Waltja Tjutangku Palyapayi and YoungCare

Today is our third of 5 days of donations to support charities working with vulnerable communities during a health and economic crisis. Today’s two charities are focused on two different communities in Australia.

Waltja Tjutangku Palyapayi Aboriginal Corporation is an Indigenous women led organisation that works with people in the Central Desert region of Australia. They work with youth at risk of homelessness; with new families on basic supplies, nutrition and money management; and with elders on disability support. They facilitate art and culture traditions being passed between generations.

Waltja is a community based organisation that works with families from Central Desert indigenous communities to address major issues affecting their communities. Waltja’s work focuses on addressing the many gaps in service delivery for children, youth, elders and people with disabilities in the remote communities of Central Australia.

WALTJA | The Waltja Way

You can donate to Waltja Tjutangku Palyapayi Aboriginal Corporation online.

Our second donation is to YoungCare, which provides housing for young people with high care needs including especially constructed housing, funding to live at home, and return to home funding. They’ve just had to postpone a major fundraising event due to COVID-19 risk.

Suitable and appropriate supported housing is one of the greatest areas of unmet need for people with disabilities in Australia. Currently, there are 12,000 young people being left behind in inappropriate housing simply because there is nowhere else for them to go.

The Issue – YoungCare

You can donate to YoungCare online.

In a global crisis, people without stable or suitable housing are hugely at risk: consider supporting these or other groups supporting particular communities at risk today.

5×2: FoodCare Orange and GiveDirectly

Today is our second of 5 days of donations to support charities working with vulnerable communities during a health and economic crisis. Today’s two choices are very local and very global.

A family member suggested donating to FoodCare Orange in my home town to support community members on low incomes.

FoodCare Orange is a not-for-profit social enterprise established in 2012. We provide individuals and families on low incomes access to affordable, fresh food, groceries and household items.

WHO WE ARE | foodcareorange

You can donate to FoodCare Orange via bank transfer.

Our second donation is to GiveDirectly, which does unrestricted cash transfers to members of extremely poor communities. This is an extension of the value in my introductory post that giving cash is the most flexible and useful type of donation; in this case the community members will choose how to spend the money.

We chose to split the money between GiveDirectly, and GiveDirectly Refugees.

We do not impose our preferences, or judgments, on the beneficiaries; instead we respect and empower them to make their own choices, elevating their voices in the global aid debate. This value is core to GiveDirectly’s identity as the first organization exclusively devoted to putting the poor in control of how aid money is spent. It comes at a potential cost, as it means that neither we nor donors get to set priorities (and we may even lose some “efficiency” in providing this option).

GiveDirectly Values | GiveDirectly

Australians looking to make a tax deductible donation can donate via Effective Altruism Australia (select “I would like to choose how to allocate my donation”). Alternatively, GiveDirectly is a US 501(c)3, and you can donate directly here.

Consider whether you’d like to donate to these or similar organisations to support vulnerable people during a global crisis. Also, consider a smaller, ongoing donation! Regular income is the lifeblood of charities.

5×2: Médecins Sans Frontières and The Haymarket Foundation

Today is our first of 5 days of donations to support charities working with vulnerable communities during a health and economic crisis. Today’s two choices are driven by the interests of our children.

Our first child wanted to help there be enough hospitals and enough equipment to treat sick people who need it as demand spikes. Given that the Australian medical system is pretty well resourced (no one really is in this context, but relatively), we decided to donate to Médecins Sans Frontières, who will no doubt be at the front line of COVID-19 outbreaks in war zones (there are reports of infections in Syria) and areas with natural disasters.

Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) is an independent international medical humanitarian organisation that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, healthcare exclusion and natural or man-made disasters.

Médecins Sans Frontières Australia

Médecins Sans Frontières is an international organisation: you can donate to the Australian arm here, and you can donate to many international arms here.

Our second child was concerned about impact on homeless people, a group that is getting larger in Australia. Both children see people sleeping rough occasionally in our neighbourhood. We decided to donate to The Haymarket Foundation which provides crisis care in Sydney for homeless people, particularly active users of alcohol or drugs, and also provides intervention services aimed at newly homeless people.

We exist to provide opportunities to people who have been marginalised by society. We understand that the people we work with come from a background of complex trauma, and we use this understanding to advocate and deliver multidisciplinary services that are inclusive, safe, and offer freedom of choice.

The Foundation provides a safe place for people in crisis, supports people transitioning into long-term accommodation, and provides a range of supportive environments throughout each individual’s journey.

About – The Haymarket Foundation

You can donate here.

Remember, you don’t need to donate to our chosen organisations, although they could definitely use your help as well. There are many many vulnerable people who need help right now, and many organisations on the ground ready to help them today; decide on your values and give if you can.

5×2: support your community, it’s hurting and scared and it needs your help

Right now the world is facing two new threats: the first is a global pandemic which is spreading rapidly and which might kill 3% or more of people infected, particularly if it hits suddenly enough that there aren’t enough ICU or hospital beds (as has happened in Italy) and many many people go on to die both of COVID-19 and of other things that a hospital would normally be able to treat.

The other is major recessions or depressions following on from the partial shutdown of global trade and the near total shutdown of enormous numbers of industries including airlines, large events, catering, tourism, and manufacturing, and knock-on effects for many industries. This will also lead to many deaths from the consequences of stress and poverty; I haven’t seen a guess at all-cause mortality changes from COVID-19, but it’s surely much higher than direct deaths from the illness. And those who survive will need major support to rebuild their lives and work.

I definitely understand that at a time like this, it makes sense to have savings and be prepared for the future yourself, and I’m planning to, but it’s also a time when all crisis services will be incredibly stressed trying to deal with increasingly sick, increasingly poor, and increasingly scared people, and there is no better time to make sure they have the cash they need, and help them get ready.

My family has decided this week to support 10 charities (over 5 days, 5×2) that we expect need extra funds to deal with what’s coming, and I’m going to share them throughout the week, less to encourage donations to these specific charities as to encourage you to think about where you can give.

My entire family is part of the decision to give, so not all of the charities will meet these critieria, but here’s some I suggest and will apply to my share of our choices:

  • small and nimble, works directly with vulnerable people: an organisation that can turn your cash into a motel room and food parcel or a week’s rent for a member of their community in need is one that needs your money today and can use it in the next month to make a real difference to a person
  • “nothing about us without us”: guided and run by the people it is designed to serve
  • donate cash, not goods: cash can be turned into what someone needs right now, not what a donor thought they might need six weeks ago
  • donate to the organisation’s general funds, not any COVID-19 (or other) specific campaigns of theirs: their other work hasn’t stopped, they need to pay their staff more than ever, etc, trust them to know what their community needs

If you can’t give, you can help by supporting and encouraging your government and large, wealthy employers to provide for:

  • ample sick and carer’s leave for people who might need many weeks off work as COVID-19 roars through their family and friends
  • ample carer’s leave for people whose care services (daycare, school, respite, etc) get shut down
  • crisis payments and systems for people at risk of not making (particularly) rent or mortgage payments or being able to buy food
  • strong engagement with representatives of vulnerable populations about their needs
  • a solid welfare system

Your first fundraiser: a timeline

In 2011, I co-founded the Ada Initiative, a charitable organisation promoting and supporting women in open technology and culture. Between 2011 and 2014, we ran five fundraising drives, four successfully. This article is the conclusion of a series sharing what I learned in the hope that new women in technology groups and other activist groups can skip to advanced level fundraising much sooner and spend the least time and the most joy on fundraising that they possibly can.

Timeline

Below is a possible timeline for a fundraising drive, emphasising quick launch rather than the kind of preparation you will need to do as your organisation grows. Many large organisations will have longer timelines and probably have dedicated staff planning the next fundraiser as the previous one winds up, but this timeline is designed to be do-able for an organisation aiming for their first fundraiser, which won’t have the ability to go for many months without funds while putting together the perfect fundraiser.

Two to three months before launch: form your core fundraising team or committee and begin meeting at least weekly. Make a budget for your funding needs if you haven’t already. Choose your organisation’s name and get your website and social media set up. Decide to pursue individual fundraising, Search for and engage a fundraising consultant, accountant, or lawyer, if needed. Establish bookkeeping if you haven’t already.

Begin researching and testing fundraising platforms and, if they require applications to use their platform as some crowdfunding sites do, prepare and submit them. Start planning thank you gifts.

One month before launch: decide on your fundraising platform. If you have existing donors or major supporters, have a consultant or other outsider conduct a few exploratory interviews with them. Are they happy with you? If you have existing work or projects, find any that have outcomes or major milestones that can be released during the drive. Develop a timeline for releasing them and tying them into your drive. Order thank you gifts.

Two weeks before launch: contact potential major donors and ask them to pledge a specific sum of money, or to act as a matching donor. Track the pledges that they commit to, and review your fundraising goal in light of the pledges. Test your fundraising platform beginning to end with real payment methods. Based on your pledge results and your ability to take donations, have an explicit “abort/delay campaign?” discussion with your decisionmakers.

One week before launch: soft launch your donation page if possible (crowdfunding software may not allow it). Ask key volunteers or staff to test donations for you with, eg, international credit cards and similar. (Important: do refund their test donations!) Do a test package and shipment of thank you gifts. Continue reviewing whether you should abort or delay.

Hours before launch: soft launch your banner, counter, and any explicit “we’re having a fundraising drive!” text you’re placing on your website. Make any donations you have direct control over (eg, you or your board are making them!). Email your pledged donors and let them know the campaign has kicked off with “help us off to a great start!” information.

Launch: announce your fundraising campaign in blog posts, tweets, to your email lists.

Throughout the campaign: As each donation comes in, send a brief thank you email, which will normally be a form letter although for donations from your personal friends or the very largest donations you will want to write something personal. Ask each donor why they donated and track their answers. Reshare people’s endorsements and calls to donate selectively, and like/favourite the remainder.

Ship thank you gifts at least weekly, if possible, so that early donors can share them while the drive is still running.

Every Tuesday during the drive: (and more often if you can) release some news or updates (“we signed a lease on a community space!”), an interview with a donor, a limited time thank you gift, or a matching campaign. Explicitly call for donations in any news items.

Every Tuesday and Wednesday during the drive: (and more often if you can) update your social media with information about how you’re doing, where to donate, and how to share information.

Three days before close (Monday): launch your largest matching campaign if any.

Last three days of campaign: Promote your matching campaign, and stay in touch with the matching donor. Assign fundraising team members to be paying attention to the fundraiser all day, if possible, and updating social media three times a day during your major donation periods.

Close: send out “we did it!” blog posts, emails and tweets and then stop your publicity promptly. Send thank you cards and emails to the largest donors and everyone who volunteered for the drive. Ship your last thank you gift batch. While you’re no longer actively soliciting donations, do not turn off the ability to accept donations and keep an eye on social media for people wondering if they can still donate; be sure to tell them “yes”.

Since you’re small, you almost certainly are seriously risking burnout and need a break now. Take it, but remember to check in with your donors after no more than 2 months and ideally sooner with your first news about what you’ve done with their donations.

Next time: once you’ve had your needed break, review what worked and didn’t work about your fundraising drive. If you’re going to rely on donations long-term, figure out when your next drive will be, at least approximately, and begin planning for it now.

Acknowledgements

Thanks to Lana Baldwin, Selena Deckelmann, Kellie Brownell, and Katina Bishop for their valuble advice to the Ada Initiative between 2011 and 2015. Thanks to the Ada Initiative’s board of directors, advisory board, matching donors, and other volunteer fundraisers during this time, as well as our 1400+ individual donors.

Finally, thanks to my co-founder and the Ada Initiative’s Executive Director, Valerie Aurora, who did the lion’s share of the work and worry on each fundraising drive we did.

Creative Commons License
Your first fundraiser: a timeline by Mary Gardiner is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Gender and religious discrimination in resettling refugees… in Australia

As folks from the US in particular know, on January 27 Donald Trump signed Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States. It includes this text:

Upon the resumption of USRAP admissions, the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, is further directed to make changes, to the extent permitted by law, to prioritize refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual’s country of nationality.

Trump has explicitly clarified that this is intended to prioritise Christians:

In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network earlier Friday, Trump was asked whether he would prioritize persecuted Christians in the Middle East for admission as refugees, and he replied, “Yes.”

Trump signs order temporarily halting admission of refugees, promises priority for Christians, The Washington Post, January 27 2017

Australia has done this too

As my readers may not know, but Australian refugee activists will, this is not novel policy among the US’s friends and allies. It’s policy in Australia, and has been at least mooted in Canada as well. In September 2015, Australia made a commitment to resettle 12,000 Iraqi and Syrian refugees in addition to the existing resettlement quota. (The Sydney Morning Herald, September 2015).

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection says:

Priority for 12,000 Humanitarian Programme places will be given to people displaced by the conflict in Syria and Iraq who are… assessed as being most vulnerable – persecuted minorities, women, children and families with the least prospect of ever returning safely to their homes…

Australia’s response to the Syrian and Iraqi humanitarian crisis, accessed January 29 2017

This discriminates against men, especially single or unaccompanied men, and Muslims. Here’s a (News Corp) press description: Australia will minimise its intake of single Sunni men as it vets the 12,000 Syrian refugees the government has pledged to take from Syria, prioritising instead Christian family groups who can never return home… [t]he government has said it would prioritise persecuted min­orities in choosing the 12,000, widely understood to be code for non-­Islamic migrants [my emphasis]. (The Australian, March 2016)

I haven’t found 2016 or 2017 statements, but discrimination against Muslims has also been floated by Canada (CBC News, December 2014) and as of 2015 Canada also prioritised other refugees before unaccompanied men. (The Guardian, November 2015.)

Action for Australians

In general you can support refugees and asylum seekers (and recall, seeking asylum in Australia rather than being granted a visa through UNHCR processes makes you subject to internment here, in some cases in offshore torture camps) by supporting activists and advocates. A thoroughly non-exhaustive list includes RISE: Refugees, Survivors and Ex-detainees (run and governed by refugees, asylum seekers and ex-detainees), the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre and Refugee Legal.

Contacting politicians in support of Muslim and single male refugees: the Refugee Council of Australia suggests contacting your representatives, relevant Ministers, and the Prime Minister and other party leaders. They suggest contact by postal mail, asking questions that require a response. I am writing to Peter Dutton, the Minister for Border Protection and Immigration; Shayne Neumann, the Shadow* Minister for Border Protection and Immigration, and my local member Anthony Albanese (who is also a member of the opposition).

The Refugee Action Coalition (Twitter, Facebook) is one place to find out about rallies and protests in Sydney.

Incidentally, Australians, if Australia was ever to start turning back residency visa holders at the border, would we end up rallying on the streets outside Kingsford-Smith and Tullamarine?

* For readers outside Australia/the Westminster system, the opposition appoints a Shadow Minister to each portfolio, who speaks about how the opposition would approach that ministry, if it were the government, and pay special attention to the actions of that Minister and department. Since the opposition isn’t the government, the Shadow Ministers do not actually have a department reporting to them.