'Life in Colour'- the 2016 NAB Graduate Major Fundraiser

“Each year the NAB graduates undertake a fundraising effort with the aim to develop skills, build networks and support a for-purpose organisation. In 2016 the graduates chose to support the Australian Childhood Foundation (ACF). The fundraising effort culminated in two major events – Life in Colour – Sydney (Thursday 13 October 2016) and Life in Colour – Melbourne (Thursday 10 November 2016),” Sam Morton and his team told us.

“After months of planning (and stressing) the graduates managed to pull together two seamless and successful events. Across the Melbourne and Sydney fundraising efforts they raised approximately $92,000 for the Foundation that will be used to help protect children from the trauma of abuse, neglect and violence. 

“The lead-up to the event included the coordination of bake sales, Bunnings BBQs and an inspiring and insightful talk from swimming champion Kieren Perkins. The team also worked tirelessly to gather donations for the event resulting in an amazing selection of prizes.

“The night was full of positivity and brightness, with a shared vision amongst everyone – a future where every child’s life is as bright, beautiful and colourful as it should be. ACF CEO Dr Joe Tucci’s moving speech grounded the audience by reminding everyone of the bigger picture and what all the hard work was for—changing the lives of abused children and families as well as raising awareness of the issue of child abuse in Australia. Lorraine Murphy (Chief People Officer, NAB) and Norm Kalcovski (Head of Customer Care, NAB Assist) also provided great insights.”

  1. What prompted you to choose the Foundation as your charity to support?

    To decide who to support, we initially developed a shortlist of organisations based on their vision, leadership and overall management. Consistent with NAB’s passion for customers, we also made sure that the organisation had an existing relationship with NAB.

    Once we had this shortlist, we all voted on which organisation we would like to support. This allowed us to support a cause that resonated with us and would therefore encourage engagement. The ACF won this vote due to their strong history of safeguarding Australian children and their clear strategy to give abused and neglected children back something that never should’ve been taken away in the first place; their childhood. Once we had selected such a worthy organisation the team was very keen to get the fundraising started!

  2. Once you chose us, did you develop a fundraising strategy?

    Early on we set out what success would look like for our fundraiser, known as Life in Colour.

    We aimed to:
    1. Raise $62,000 for the ACF across Melbourne and Sydney
    2. Be advocates for the ACF, to generate awareness of the their work
    3. Be advocates for protecting children and healthy family relationships
    4. Build skills and experience of team members during the fundraiser

    We began by making a timeline with approximate dates for milestones in our fundraiser – e.g. when the venue should be booked for our final event and when we should launch to the wider company. This allowed us to keep track of tasks and make sure they were completed on time.

    Across Melbourne & Sydney there are 94 NAB Graduates and every single one had a part to play in our success. We had a core group of 70 working across fundraising and procurement, marketing, stakeholder engagement, risk and event logistics but everyone got involved by inviting their networks to events and supporting the cause. We had regular catch-ups and established an operating rhythm that made sure we were all on the same page. It was also really important to celebrate our successes and recognise all the hard work everyone had put in. 

  3. Did you set a fundraising target?

    We aimed to raise $62,000 for the ACF across Melbourne and Sydney. In Sydney, our goal was to hostan event with 150 attendees and in Melbourne we aimed for 200 attendees. We agreed this was a realistic target to strive towards, however we excitingly exceeded this and raised $94,182 in total. This was a fantastic result against our goals and most importantly, a great contribution towards the ACF.

  4. How confident did you feel launching into the venture?

    We had a committed group of around 70 volunteers who were enthusiastic and keen to make a difference. However, these volunteers were all working full time at NAB, so we knew it would be a challenge to balance spending time on the fundraiser with other commitments. The majority of the team also did not have experience organising a fundraiser of this scale. Regardless, the team drew confidence from knowing that we were a group of talented people united by a purpose.

  5. How did you publicise events? Who did you target as a) attendees, b) supporters?

    For all our seed fundraising initiatives and our final event, Life in Colour, we leveraged our internal NAB networks and personal connections. NAB has a strong corporate responsibility culture so many people were advocates for such a great cause and happy to get involved. We promoted our events through emailing connections, activation events in the foyers of key buildings, handing out flyers and using internal channels such as digital screens and the intranet to increase awareness of the cause and our events.

  6. Did you encounter many challenges/issues? If so, how did you overcome them?

    One challenge that we faced was limited resources. Despite all our great ideas, there weren’t necessarily volunteers, materials or funds available to execute those ideas. Regardless, there were many examples of enthusiastic graduates being innovative and creative. For example, one graduate raised awareness of the ACF and our fundraising by drawing a hopscotch court with chalk near where we were selling tickets. This was a clever way to capture the attention of people as they passed, and got a conversation started about the joys of childhood.

  7. Did you learn much about the issue of child abuse, neglect and family violence as your fundraising program continued? If so, how did the team respond to what you learned?

    Throughout the fundraising journey we built our knowledge of the issues of child abuse, neglect and family violence. We started with looking through the ACF’s website, and also checked out their social media channels. We also shared information related to child abuse and family violence, such as updates from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. As we read more and more about the ACF and the work they do, this confirmed how important it is for our society to keep children safe.

  8. Now that you’ve done it, what are the big takeaways for you all?

    For our team, the fundraiser confirmed that we could collaborate and develop our skills while also raising awareness and funds for an outstanding organisation. Although there were moments where the groupdoubted we could reach our goals, we were able to deliver two successful events that exceeded the expectations of the ACF - we even surprised ourselves! We collectively felt a deep sense of fulfilment that we had changed the lives of vulnerable children and families for the better. After the fundraising concluded the graduates held a shared vision – a future where every child’s life is as bright, beautiful and colourful as it should be.

  9. What advice would you have for anyone else looking to raise funds to support the work of the Australian Childhood Foundation?

    Our main tip would be to organise events or fundraising efforts that are something you would want to attend that will also drive awareness and raise funds. For example, we ran a lot of bake sales because who doesn’t love baked goods? While these were not directly related to the cause it was a great awareness piece and facilitated discussions about the ACF and our overall fundraising campaign. Also don’t forget to celebrate your wins to keep everyone enthused and positive throughout the fundraising journey.   
We send to Sam and the fabulous NAB grads of 2016 our most heartfelt thanks for their support, focus, passion and dedication. If you’d like to know more about how you can fundraise to support the work of the Foundation, please contact Pooja Mittal at pmittal@childhood.org.au