Reflecting on a decade of giving | PBA – Pro Bono Australia

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As Lisa Grinham prepares to step down after 11 years as CEO of Good2Give, she looks back on the changes in the corporate giving space and the impact it’s had on her.

Digital transformation   

When I joined Good2Give in 2010, the world was shifting with a growing expectation from customers around the availability of streamlined digital solutions. All industries were being impacted and the charity sector was no different. Donors were becoming more tech-savvy and wanted to make donations online. At the time, Good2Give’s processes were very manual, using way too much paper and many cheques. I saw there was a real opportunity if we were brave enough to make a fundamental change to our business model. We needed to invest in technology if we were going to not only survive in the future but thrive. 

All transformations require change and Good2Give was no different. We needed to evolve from a traditional charity-focused organisation into a technology company (although still not for profit) with a growth mindset to grow giving in Australia and New Zealand. This came with inevitable changes; we needed to build a technology focused capability, as well as continue our hands on customer-centric approach.  

This change had to happen at every level. From the board down. We undertook a period of board renewal. We hired technology and product development experts. We hired more commercial operators across every aspect of the organisation as well as upskilled key staff who were excited about the digital vision for the organisation. By 2016, we had done the hard yards, built our core platform, and were ready for the next growth stage.  

I recognised Good2Give would benefit enormously by surrounding ourselves with technology and cyber security experts beyond our small team. Good2Give’s Technology Advisory Group was born to provide guidance and support around product development and cyber security. Bringing years of experience from organisations such as Atlassian, IBM, Volt Bank and Macquarie Group, the group’s technology and transformation skills have been a vital part of our success.  

It’s that success I am immensely proud of. Prior to the digital transformation, Good2Give was distributing around $5 million a year. That has now risen to around $30 million, supporting 3,000 charities annually. 

Not only that, but since its inception in 2001, Good2Give has ensured a staggering $275 million has reached causes and communities in need. It’s hard to picture the impact of that level of corporate and donor funding – it is truly staggering. And I’m proud to say Good2Give now calls more than 20 per cent of the ASX 100 clients – now we just need to get the rest of the ASX100 on board. The team at Good2Give is focused on reaching $300 million in donations delivered to communities by 2022 – which is a truly achievable target now.  

With the commitment to technology and innovation now firmly part of Good2Give’s DNA, there is so much more to come. 

Bushfires, COVID and the importance of giving 

We all have great stories to tell in the charitable giving space, and often they are tinged with real sadness and distress. Towards the end of 2018, beginning of 2019, it came very close to home, during the Australian bushfires. While it was a devastating time for many people, the best of humanity was showcased. People were very generous with their giving, so much so that one in two Australians made a donation to support people in need as a result of the bushfires. It was an incredible time to be leading Good2Give, and one that I will always treasure.   

We saw that generosity in real time, with over 40,000 workplace giving donations made to charities supporting bushfire relief. Our corporate partners also showed us their genuine commitment with incredible generosity – matching 75 per cent of employee donations. Our Charities Aid Foundation international partners also stepped up – it was truly a global outpouring of support. Through our own networks alone, $8 million in funding was distributed to bushfire charities. A true highlight from very dark times indeed. 

Little did we know what was around the corner – just as we all felt we were getting on top of the bushfires, the COVID-19 pandemic struck. Yet again, companies and individual donors came forward and supported charities wherever they could. It was so heartening to see donors and organisations support those in greater need than themselves, something they continue to do. I’ve seen a real shift in acknowledgement around corporate social responsibility over the past few years. It’s not just a “nice to do”, it is a business imperative for so many organisations, in part because the younger workforce is demanding it. 

Collaboration 

I have always been passionate about the role partnerships play in extending our philanthropic reach. You can either grow organically and go after individual client opportunities or you can think about partners that offer value beyond the core services you deliver. My passion for this kind of collaboration created industry-leading strategic partnerships with GoFundraise, Communiteer, and Quest Payment Systems. In late 2019, we added to that offering with the merger of Good2Give with ShareGift Australia, unlocking an additional source of low-cost income for charities. By increasing donor accessibility and giving options, the team and I grew Good2Give to the point where, I’m proud to say, it now provides the most extensive product offering in the market. 

Gratitude 

And finally, it may seem a simple statement, but I would fundamentally like the world to be a fairer place. Volunteering for Daystar Foundation in 2005 was life-changing for me. I met wonderful young people who, through no fault of their own, were not living in a fair and just world. It made me acutely aware of the importance of my education, and incredibly grateful for my own family support networks and background. It connected me with a community that relied on charitable giving to support the vulnerable and inspired me to engage more deeply and personally. Without doubt, Daystar Foundation changed my future career path, leading me (eventually) to Good2Give. 

In my role as CEO of Good2Give, I have always aimed to inspire and support that mindset in my team, and with our clients. Our achievements simply wouldn’t be possible without the truly inspirational organisations and leaders we work with. They consistently demonstrate that it’s possible to run a successful business, and at the same time give back to the communities and causes where they operate and their people work, and beyond. 

Lisa Grinham is stepping down as CEO of Good2Give to take up the position of CEO of the St.George Foundation, which includes the Bank of Melbourne Foundation and BankSA Foundation.

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