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World Vision to Cut Jobs in Fundraising Overhaul

17 November 2015 at 11:58 am
Xavier Smerdon
World Vision Australia will cut 89 jobs and overhaul its fundraising and administration operations in a bid to survive a weak Australian dollar and changing aid market.

Xavier Smerdon | 17 November 2015 at 11:58 am


World Vision to Cut Jobs in Fundraising Overhaul
17 November 2015 at 11:58 am

World Vision Australia will cut 89 jobs and overhaul its fundraising and administration operations in a bid to survive a weak Australian dollar and changing aid market.

World Vision CEO, Tim Costello, told Pro Bono Australia News that the organisation had lost 30 per cent of the money it had raised due to the struggling Australian dollar.

“We program in US dollars… when there was parity we we’re able to project two, three or four years ahead and give the field permission to spend and do the development work,” Costello said.

“[With] 30 per cent wiped off [the dollar, that] wiped out our reserves. It really came to a choice of does the field suffer and we make cuts their or do we find them here, and we chose the latter.”

Costello said as part of a nine month transformation process, 89 jobs would be cut from World Vision’s Australian operations this year.

Staff who lose their jobs will be able to apply for redeployment in a newly created role or accept a redundancy package.

“This is incredibly difficult for me to do, because all of these staff are passionate, committed,” Costello said.

“It’s not about their skill, it’s not that they’ve done anything wrong. None of us have control over a dollar where 30 per cent of what you’ve raised is just wiped out. The changing nature of poverty, none of us have control over.”

Along with a weak Australian dollar, Costello said his charity’s chief funding stream  –  child sponsorship  –  had failed to keep pace with cost increases in recent years.

He said in his 12 years at World Vision Australia child sponsorship had dropped from 80 per cent of the organisation's revenue to 43 per cent.

He said that poverty was “retreating” to war and conflict zones, areas that the organisation was not able to sponsor children in.

Costello denied that the need to restructure showed that World Vision Australia had grown too big or lost sight of its original goals.

“The truth is our impact is still just as great. We’re very proud of our organisational effectiveness,” he said.

“We won Price Waterhouse Cooper’s Transparency Award twice in the seven years it ran. It’s not losing sight at all, it’s recognising that we exist for the most vulnerable and poorest children and as that retreats into conflict and fragile states, you have to have a different funding model.

“I think the most important thing for a CEO to do is keep focused on the purpose. The purpose for world vision is fullness of life for every child and particularly for those who are most vulnerable and poor.

“Our purpose says ‘what about those kids in these fragile states?’ If that’s our purpose, as painful as it is do these changes, we have to be true to that purpose, which means changing an operating model to recognise that reality.”

World Vision’s Chief Operating Officer, Ross Piper, said the new operating model would be built around multiple operating rhythms, allowing the organisation to respond in a more agile way to both supporters’ expectations as well as to the needs of those World Vision serves.

“We want to be able to respond to what’s on people’s minds at the right time and with the right offer that can connect them more directly to the impact our work is having in the field,” Piper said.

“This means we need a leaner more agile operating model with some different skills and a different mindset.”

While the first phase of the transformation will include the 89 redundancies, Costello phase two and three, to be implemented in 2016, would see corporate and support services adjusted to fit the requirements of the new operating model.

World Vision Australia said the the restructure would have no direct impact on its development and humanitarian work in Australia and overseas.  

Tim Costello recently led a call for hundreds of charities to merge or close down in what was described as an overcrowded social sector.

Xavier Smerdon  |  Journalist  |  @XavierSmerdon

Xavier Smerdon is a journalist specialising in the Not for Profit sector. He writes breaking and investigative news articles.

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