Donors Offered Close Up Experience of International Aid
6 September 2017 at 3:52 pm
Australian Red Cross has launched a digital fundraising initiative that it says will allow donors to experience life as an international aid worker.
The aid agency is running a three month fundraising trial where people can virtually join the organisation’s crisis response crew and receive close up, behind-the-scenes digital content from Red Cross aid workers in hot spots around the world.
Director of international aid at Australian Red Cross, Peter Walton said the fundraising initiative was “an experiment in delivering premium content with a purpose”.
“We know that people are interested in how aid works. They want to know how humanitarian operations take place, and they want to know how their donations make a difference,” Walton told Pro Bono News.
“With this, donors will hear first-hand accounts of how aid gets through war zones; witness moments of families reunited after conflicts; and learn how refugee camps and disaster relief operations are managed.
“[Joining] the crisis response crew is a way to bring Australians closer to our aid workers around the world.
“Our aim is to deepen the traditional relationship with donors and create a more personal and long-lasting connection, leaving people feeling more empowered about enacting change.”
Walton said Red Cross launched a podcast a couple of years ago called How Aid Works to “provide a different form of connection” around what the Red Cross does.
“In any disaster or crisis around the world you will see Red Cross or Red Crescent being visible,” he said.
“Often there is not much of a spotlight shone on some of the more remote and challenging crises and conflicts that we face. We recognised that there is an appetite from so many people in the Australian public for learning more about this.
“Our podcast was very successful and we have developed this product as a good way for people to engage and bring some life to some of the more complex environments in which we operate and create a connection that makes people feel connected to things they are interested in supporting.”
Walton said the campaign would not replace traditional fundraising.
“I think this is a sign that people engage with organisations in a whole lot of different ways. There is place for different forms of engagement and this is certainly a different form where people who want to engage on particular issues are given a mechanism to do so,” he said.
“We see this as a logical extension, building on a whole range of work around engagement, providing new opportunities for people to engage and this is more targeted around their own interests and the special work that Red Cross aid workers do.
“So there will be opportunities to get video podcasts and connections with people in difficult locations and feel a little bit more aware of what is going on.
“We are trialling this over the next 12 weeks and we will be seeking to learn from it. We are really trying to see how that connection and the proximity that people can have to critical issues can be enhanced.”
Asked if donors would have one on one access and communication with workers in the field Walton said there would explore direct connections with people in the field.
“These specialist aid workers operate in high security areas and one on one contact may not be possible. We will be looking at ways in which we can create a connection,” he said.
“We will be seeing whether webinars and some face-to-face events that are live on Facebook are possible.That’s part of the exploration that we will go through over the next few months.
Every week that they [donors] are signed on they will receive exclusive content from the field from aid workers explaining what they are doing and why.”
Walton said the initiative also wanted to put a spotlight on issues that were often not reported in mainstream media.
“I just reflect on what is happening with the [flood] catastrophe in America which I don’t want to down play in any shape or from, but there are crises going on in South Asia with floods, a food crisis of huge proportions in East Africa and a cholera outbreak in Yemen but you often don’t see much about the needy in these places,” he said.
“For people who are interested and know these things are happening, this will be another way they can feel connected with what is really happening and we are seeking to enhance that and feel motivated to do something about it.