Events & Campaigns

GroupM staff generate over $130k for charity with the aid of Benojo

Over 700 GroupM staff from across Australia took part in the annual Power of One day on February 26th. This year the global media investment management group took a renewed approach to giving using Benojo to offer staff a choice on how to participate. The end result saw GroupM generate over $130,000 of value in one day for UnLtd charities, a not-for-profit foundation representing media, marketing and advertising.

The case for choice

“This year we pulled out all the stops to provide our teams with a range of ways to get involved, have fun and contribute to our industry’s mission to undo youth disadvantage,” says GroupM HR and talent manager Sarah Crowley.

“Power of One Day is about us putting our values into action, and strengthening our team spirit for an amazing cause. We get great things done when we act with the ‘Power of One’.”

Crowley says increasing employee engagement in the group’s CSR efforts was a key driver in offering staff a choice in how they took part in the Power of One day. “From speaking to people, we found many actually wanted to donate their time, to be involved with the charities and get to experience firsthand exactly what the charities are about.”

This year, GroupM staff could take part in three ways – time (unskilled volunteering), skills (skilled volunteering) and giving (pay-to-play events). Those who chose to donate time undertook a range of general tasks the charities needed assistance with, such as gardening, painting or maintenance. Staff were also able to choose the charity and project they worked on. Staff who donated their skills contributed their expertise to projects that would benefit the charities, while others donated money to take part in pay-to-play events held on the day.

Some of the UnLtd charities supported by GroupM’s Power of One day this year include: Sylvanvale, The Reach Foundation, Be Centre, OzHarvest, Sister2Sister, Hear for You, Weave, Youth off the Streets, The Pyjama Foundation, and The Salvation Army Project 614 in Melbourne.

Crowley says there was a significant increase in staff engagement from this year’s Power of One day. She notes staff were enthusiastic about signing up to the projects of their choice and encouraging others – such as new staff members – to also take part. The response from the recipient charities was also overwhelmingly positive with all types of contributions making a real impact.

A team effort

Crowley says the day’s success wouldn’t have been possible without the support of UnLtd and Benojo. “I have never come across a platform like Benojo that is able to do everything. The fact that we could set up individual campaigns, along with being able to monitor the engagement level of staff and that we could set parameters and caps on the number of staff we could have at each event really helped from an admin and a management perspective. We had campaigns that people were volunteering their time and skills towards, but we also had the giving element where we were incorporating payments into the system. I really don’t think we would have been able to find that anywhere else.“

Crowley adds: “From our point of view, it was very easy to roll out such an enormous project for one day nationally. To have the confidence in the system to take large volumes of people signing in at the same time, using the functions of the systems correctly and then at the end being able to measure the total value – the functions are invaluable. It has everything in the one piece and we would be looking to use it next year.”


Donations:  $23, 588

Ticket sales:  $13, 300

Volunteering value: $99,500

Combined value: $136, 388

Causes benefitted: 13


A place to collaborate, donate and volunteer, Benojo is a social impact platform that connects the giving space.

Contact us to learn more about our work and how we could help you

The Shared Value Forum returns in 2016

The Shared Value Forum (SVF) returns to Melbourne on April 13. Presented by the Shared Value Project, the one-day event will explore the theme ‘Business: Partnering for change’. We preview what’s in store for 2016.

Shared Value in focus

Talks, interactive lab sessions, case studies, panel discussions and workshops are some of the events on offer at this year’s Shared Valued Forum.  While details of the full program and speakers are yet to be released, some details have been confirmed. Events include panel discussions such as ‘How does business create shared value through partnerships?’ and ‘How can businesses help tackle some of society’s biggest issues?’ and a case study on Discovery, a shared value insurance company. Speakers include:

  • Mark Kramer, co-founder and CEO of FSG and co-author (alongside Michael E Porter) of the seminal ‘Creating Shared Value’ article for the Harvard Business Review. (Read his insights on last year’s SVF on the Benojo blog here)
  • Tim Costello, CEO of World Vision
  • Peter Yates, deputy chairman of Myer Family Investments and chair of the Shared Value Project
  • Jacki Johnson, group executive of people, performance and reputation at general insurance group IAG
  • Adrian Gore, founder and CEO of Discovery, a South African shared value insurance company
  • Richard Welford, CSR expert, founder and chairman of CSR Asia

The power of partnerships

The Shared Value Forum in 2016 hopes to be a platform for driving change around shared value in Australia and the Asia Pacific region. The aim being to inspire attendees to review their current strategies with a focus on shared value, while also providing opportunities to learn from member organisations sharing their work and stories of shared value in business.

Helen Steel, executive director of the Shared Value Project, who is also speaking at the Forum says: "We are looking forward to hearing new stories from the community, and particularly with the focus on partnerships how corporate, not-for-profits, and government can work together to create shared value."

The Shared Value Forum is on in Melbourne at the NAB Auditorium on April 13.

A place to collaborate, donate and volunteer, Benojo is a social impact platform that connects the giving space.

Contact us to learn more about our work and how we could help you.

CEOs CookOff for OzHarvest

The CEO CookOff is food rescue organisation OzHarvest’s annual flagship event and is a perfect example of businesses – from both the corporate and hospitality sectors – coming together to support a worthy cause.  



Business leaders from Aussie, Goodman Property Group, Virgin Mobile, Macquarie Bank, PwC, Caltex, George Weston Foods and Hostplus are among those taking part, as is Oz Harvest’s own CEO and founder Ronni Kahn. They will be split into teams and under the guidance of high-profile chefs – including Neil Perry, Matt Moran, Luke Mangan and Guillaume Brahimi – will prepare a three-course meal for 1300 guests in need.

Brisbane joins Sydney as a host of the CEO CookOff for the first time this year, with the Royal International Convention Centre and The Cutaway at Barangaroo Reserve as the event’s respective venues.

Why getting involved is good business

Now in its fifth year, the 2016 event aims to increase awareness of OzHarvest’s work, particularly around food insecurity, homelessness and food wastage in Australia. The CEO CookOff has raised $4.5m to date and this year hopes to generate a further $1.5m – the equivalent of a whopping three million meals.

Every chef and CEO taking part in the CookOff is fundraising in the lead up to the event. You can check out the Leaderboards to see which chefs, CEOs, companies and staff are taking part and whose leading the way in raising funds.

“The business sector and its leaders play a crucial role in helping organisations like ours address and find solutions to the issues of poverty, homelessness, hunger and waste,” said OzHarvest’s Ronni Kahn.

“By taking part in the CEO CookOff, these corporate leaders and companies show that they care for the communities in which they operate. They also show a commitment to making a real difference and impact to the lives of people who are less fortunate.”

Businesses can also take part in the Company Challenges, which involve cooking challenges and fundraising activities within the workplace.

Like what you've read? Make a donation to OzHarvest here!

Benojo enables charities, companies and individuals to connect with each other.

Contact us to find out what you could do.

Easy ways your business can give this Christmas

Christmas is the perfect time to introduce your team to corporate giving. For businesses that have not yet considered the benefits of charitable partnerships, one-off seasonal campaigns are the perfect entry point An example of a cause that does corporate days well is the RSPCA.

The RSPCA Corporate Support Days is a corporate program held every Wednesday at the Yagoona shelter by RSPCA NSW. The day runs from 9am to 4pm and is suitable for groups of up to 10. It includes an educational workshop on animal wellbeing and the work of the RSPCA; a guided tour of the animal shelter and veterinary hospital; working on a maintenance project, such as painting kennels, gardening or cleaning; and animal interaction.

We asked Anne Keyvar, head of Corporate Relations at RSPCA, her thoughts on these corporate volunteering days.

"These days are an incredible team building experience," says Keyvar, "they provide teams with a greater understanding of the work of RSPCA NSW, new skills and confidence and a sense of achievement. These socialisation experiences are also invaluable to the animals, particularly those needing the extra help in finding a forever home."

Christmas gift, food and toy drives

There are many charities undertaking gift, food and toy drives at Christmas. Among them is the Salvation Army Christmas Appeal who help Australians doing it tough, including some 25,000 families that will be homeless this Christmas. They are seeking donations of non-perishable food, toys and gifts for children, gift cards and financial donations. As is The Smith Family Toy and Book Appeal who are seeking toys and books to gift to children in need this Christmas. Books and toys can be purchased from their Simply Giving website, can be collected from your workplace or a financial donation can be made towards the appeal. Hosting a fundraising event at work such as a Christmas-themed morning tea or BBQ lunch may be one way to raise funds towards these or a charity of your choice.

Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) Catering

If you’re a Melbourne-based business that has a Christmas or corporate end-of-year function coming up, why not use Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) Catering?  This social enterprise were the recent recipient of The Age Good Food Guide’s inaugural Food for Good award and have catered over 800 events in the last year alone. With tasty menus that offer modern takes on African, Asian and Middle Eastern cuisines and food that is all sourced within a 100km radius of the Melbourne CBD, they employ around 30 asylum seekers with net profits going back into ASRC’s support services.

Mission Australia Corporate Volunteering Days

Mission Australia works to reduce homelessness. They offer a range of corporate volunteering days designed to best match your business and team’s area of interest. Aiming to give employees a meaningful and hands-on experience, potential volunteering days may include visiting and hosting activities for aged care residents who have experienced homelessness; helping with renovations at a youth support centre; or helping build gardens at a early learning centre.

Want to know other ways you can help?

Benojo enables charities, companies and individuals to connect with each other.

Contact us to find out what you could do.

Celebrate International Volunteer Day 2015

This Saturday December 5 is International Volunteer Day. Marked each year around the world since its inception in 1985, it was established by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly to celebrate volunteerism in all its facets. In 2015, International Volunteer Day pays special tribute to volunteers working to implement the new global goals, which aim to achieve three things in the next 15 years: end extreme poverty; fight in inequality and injustice and fix climate change.

A day to say thanks

International Volunteer Day is an opportunity for not-for-profit and charitable organisations to promote their invaluable contributions and those of their volunteers –of which there are some six million in Australia alone – towards bettering local, national and international communities.

“Volunteers are the soul of OzHarvest,” says Lisa Dainty, volunteer and corporate engagement manager at food charity rescue organisation Oz Harvest, on the immeasurable value of volunteers. “They not only give their time, but also their passion, energy, smiles, good humour and friendship in all that they do. They are part of our family,”

International Volunteer Day is a way to say thanks. Many organisations will be hosting events on the day to highlight the role of volunteers and celebrate their contributions. Though Dainty notes this should be ongoing, not just on one day a year: “It’s important to recognise the contribution that volunteers provide not just on one day of the year, but on every day! By embracing volunteers as part of the team on a daily basis, it recognises their value and contribution.“

“Of course, it is also important to treat our volunteers throughout the year, and at OzHarvest we do this by hosting an annual Volunteer Thank You Party, as well as involving them in special milestones and events,” says Dainty. “Recently we had the opportunity to invite some of our long term volunteers to meet with Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall at our HQ!”

A call to action

Do you volunteer? Or does your business or workplace offer staff volunteering opportunities? International Volunteer Day is a way to reflect on how you may be able to give time or services back to the community – while saying say thanks to those who do.

How will you be marking International Volunteers Day this year?

Benojo enables charities, companies and individuals to connect with each other.

Contact us to find out what you could do.

Three local food businesses helping refugees find employment

Businesses of all sizes, nationally and internationally, are helping refugees in a variety of positive ways.  A little while back we highlighted some companies helping in response to the Syrian refugee crisis, this week we thought we’d showcase some Australian businesses helping refugees and asylum seekers in their communities to find employment, through offering training and jobs. Here’s three:

The Bread & Butter Project

If you’re a Sydneysider you may have tried the tasty bread made by artisan bakery The Bread & Butter Project. Sold at farmers and growers markets and select food outlets and used by a range of the city’s best cafes and restaurants, The Bread & Butter Project is a social enterprise created by Sydney institution The Bourke Street Bakery.

Each year The Bread & Butter Project provides up to 12 trainees a one-year paid TAFE accredited traineeship at the bakery. Trainees are generally referred on by agencies that offer refugee and asylum seeker support services and must meet criteria to be eligible to participate in the program. 100 per cent of the profits made are reinvested into baker training and creating employment opportunities for the city’s disadvantaged.

Parliament on King

A cosy cafe/bar on King Street in the Sydney suburb of Newtown, Parliament on King runs a hospitality training program for refugees known as The International Shift. Every Tuesday and Wednesday, cafe owners Ravi Parsad and his wife, Della, along with occasional volunteers, work with asylum seekers and refugees (referred to them by organisations like the nearby Asylum Seeker Centre) teaching them coffee making and food preparation skills to aid them in finding hospitality roles.

In addition to this, every Saturday evening between 6pm and 9pm the kitchen is handed over to the most talented of their trainees for Local Family Dinners. The trainees cook and serve dinner to patrons as part of this unique dining experience/social enterprise initiative.

Long Street Cafe

Another cafe lending refugees a hand in finding hospitality roles is Long Street Cafe on Little Hoddle Street in the Melbourne suburb of Richmond. The social enterprise cafe is the work of husband and wife Jane and Francois Marx, who opened the cafe with $30,000 of their own savings, a $10k grant from Australian Women’s Weekly, and money from a crowdfunding campaign. Their aim is to provide young refugees (who are referred to them by the likes of the Brotherhood of St Laurence and the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre) with employment – the only conditions being they are under 30, have conversational English and are interested (but not required to be experienced) in hospitality.

Would you like your business to become more involved in the community and charitable issues?

Benojo enables charities, companies and individuals to connect with each other.

Contact us to find out what you could do.

Can homelessness in Australia be halved by 2025?

Around 105,000 Australians are without a safe place to sleep at night, according to the last Australian Census. Recently, Mission Australia, a not-for-profit organisation that provides assistance to over 300,000 Australians who are homeless or at threat of homelessness, called on the governments, community organisations, businesses and individuals to come together and commit to helping them tackle the issue of homelessness in Australia.

Making homelessness a national priority

Speaking at the launch of their 10 step Action Plan to Reduce Homelessness, Mission Australia CEO Catherine Yeomans said: “We need to harness the support of everyone to bring these numbers down, rather than continue their upwards trajectory. It’s a national disgrace that there are so many people who are homeless, especially when you consider that over 40% of these are young people.

Calling on the government to commit to firm targets and make homelessness a national priority, Mission Australia’s goal is to see youth homelessness halved by 2020, homelessness halved by 2025 and the number of low income Australians – of which, there are around 450,000 – living in rental stress and at threat of homelessness halved.

Yeomans said:  “This is a comprehensive plan that focuses on tangible solutions to prevent and reduce homelessness as well as providing more housing – the two cannot be examined in isolation if we want to make a real difference.”

10 step Action Plan to Reduce Homelessness

  1. Income support and rental assistance should be sufficient for people on low incomes to avoid rental stress and live in areas where they have opportunities to participate in work and their communities.
  2. Helping someone keep their home is much more effective than responding to their increased needs once they become homeless.
  3. Prevention intervention models should be expanded for young people, as those experiencing family conflict are still significantly overrepresented in the homeless population.
  4. Efforts to reduce domestic and family violence need to be dramatically expanded as it is the number one reason people seek help from a homeless shelter, particularly women and children.
  5. A ‘zero tolerance’ approach should be adopted to people becoming homeless when they exit state care including hospitals and drug and alcohol facilities, correction facilities, detention centres, mental health institutions, and young people in the out of home care system.
  6. Homeless services need to be tailored to the individual needs of the people they serve and deliver trauma informed care.
  7. Scattered site Housing First models (where people have people have a secure long term tenancy that provides a solid foundation for wrap around service provision) should be scaled up to reduce the incidences of chronic homelessness.
  8. Commonwealth, State and Territory governments should facilitate funding of at least 200,000 new social homes by 2025 and capital works programs to update existing social infrastructure.
  9. This should include a further 4,200 new Aboriginal owned and controlled homesin remote communities and regional centres, to combat the very high number of Indigenous people living in severely overcrowded dwellings.
  10. A 10-year commitment is needed to strengthen communities
of significant and persistent disadvantage through place-based models of integrated services provision that are aligned with housing regeneration.

Learn more about Mission Australia’s plan to reduce and prevent homelessness here.

Benojo connects those who want to give with those in need. If you want to discover even more charities that match your desire to give contact us to learn more about our work.

How to make Movember part of your business

The onset of November will see moustaches appearing on upper lips across the country (and many others around the world) as part of the year’s hairiest month: Movember.  Started in 2003 by two Melbourne friends, in the 13 years since its inception, some five million Mo Bros and Mo Sistas (as those participating are dubbed) have raised AUD$685m for 832 men’s health projects. The month-long campaign’s aim being to raise funds and awareness for men’s health.  Here’s a few ways you can get your workplace and business involved in Movember.

Team Mo


Make it a team effort and recruit men across the business to, as they say at Movember HQ, ‘grow it, flow it, show it’.  Start the month clean-shaven and let your moustaches grow to their hairy finest for 30 days. Get your team to vote for the best moustache in the business; challenge a sister store or office to see who can raise the most or  encourage staff to donate by matching their donations.

Move it or lose it


No moustache? No worries, just MOVE instead. A fit new addition to the Movember calendar, MOVE is for those that can’t or don’t want to grow a mo. Instead, the challenge is to get moving – for 30 minutes every day in the month of Movember. Take a walk, ride your bike, go for a run, play tennis or a game of soccer – there are no rules as to how you MOVE so why not recruit some colleagues and undertake your 30 minutes together?

Get social

Whether you’re undertaking Movember or MOVE as a team or there’s some stellar individuals taking part solo at your workplace, share photos and tell stories of Movember on your company social media. It’s an easy and fun way to help raise awareness and funds.

Don’t Mo alone!

There’s nothing a like a little competition to get the mo’s growing. Get company sports team, poker buddies, clubs and other local business involved in this hairy affair. Why not host a charity auction to raise funds? Or a friendly sports match? Make it an office event to see who can grow the best and most memorable mo.

Chuck a Movember party

If there are no Mo Bros or Mo Sistas at your workplace but you still want to take part, why not host a Mo party?  Attend a Movember featured event or throw your own and fundraise for the cause. It can be a team breakfast,  company BBQ or department picnic or after work drinks do. Add a fun twist like asking attendees to don fake moustaches of their choice.

You can register yourself or your business for Movember here.

Benojo connects businesses to causes they care about.

Contact us to learn more about how we can help you do just that.

What type of world do I want to live in by the year 2030?

Now in its sixth year, the 2015 Social Good Summit was held recently held in New York. The annual two-day conference brought together global leaders, innovators, new media and technology experts, entrepreneurs, grassroots activists and decision makers to discuss solutions to some of the biggest challenges and problems the world is facing. Among the summit’s speakers were Kathy Calvin, president and CEO of the United Nations Foundation; Pete Cashmore, founder and CEO of Mashable; Richard Curtis, writer, producer director and founder of Project Everyone, and Julia Gillard, former Australian PM and now a board director with the Global Partnership of Education.  (You can watch the Social Good Summit NYC sessions here).

Connectivity helping to combat challenges

The Social Good Summit coincides with the United Nations General Assembly Week, where 193 members of the United Nations committed to adopting 17 Sustainable Development Goals to help achieve three things in the next 15 years: to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice and fix climate change. The Summit’s goal being to empower people around the world to get involved and have their voices heard during and after the event.

This year’s theme was ‘#2030NOW: New Goals. New Tech. New Power’ and asked the question: What type of world do I want to live in by the year 2030? It explored how technology and new media can be leveraged to help address and share awareness around these global issues and challenges.

Australia’s joins Global Social Good Summit Meet Up

Held on October 10 at Sydney University following the main New York event, Australia was among the 65-plus countries that hosted their own Social Good Summit Meet Up. The focus being on how digital tools and collaboration can help individuals, communities and countries help contribute to and achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

The Australian summit featured a range of respected speakers from across the business, academic, not-for-profit, media, social enterprise and technology industries. Inspiration was plentiful as captured in this selection of quotes tweeted from the day:

  • ‘I have found that money is not the top priority of my participants, but caring for family is’ – Vinita Godinho, managing director of Financial Resilience Australia and RMIT lecturer.
  • ‘We need to build a new economy for First Australians, built by First Australians’ – Leah Armstrong, chairperson, Supply Nation.
  • ‘You can’t really effect change unless it is part of the real DNA of an organisation’ - Tharani Jegatheeswaran, partner, Social Impact and Not-for-Profit Deloitte.
  • ‘ Be part of the movement, take action and push politicians in the right direction’ – Nikola Casule, Greenpeace Australia Pacific.
  • ‘The first thing is recognise the power in your business for social good’ – David Faulmann, general manager, Business for Millennium Development.
  • ‘The next generation does not have to make a decision between doing good and making money’ - Prashan Paramanathan, CEO at

Want to see more? Watch highlights from the Australian Social Good Summit here.

Benojo is For the love of good. Contact us to learn more about our work.

CommBank’s Australian of the Day campaign

The Commonwealth Bank’s Australian of the Day campaign is about ‘celebrating the everyday people making Australia extraordinary’. They have partnered with eight up-and-coming photographers who are traveling the country capturing a new Australian face and story every day for eight months until Australia Day 2016.  The images and stories they capture are then shared on the Australian of the Day microsite and featured on CommBank’s Instagram and Facebook pages. [embedyt][/embedyt]

Not so ordinary Australians

“We developed Australian of the Day to extend the support of one of our longest standing sponsorships, the Australian of the Year Awards. It celebrates the everyday people that make up the fabric of our nation. Some of the extraordinary Australians we have profiled so far include a Brisbane man who created Australia’s first laundry service for the homeless, as well as a Sydney woman who has saved the lives of over 11,000 dogs at her no-kill shelter,” explains Stuart Tucker, general manager, Brand and Marketing Services at Commonwealth Bank.

Tucker notes that while the CommBank’s sponsorship of Australian of the Year Awards for the last 36 years is about celebrating exceptional Australians who have made a significant contribution to the nation, this is about acknowledging the inspiring stories and efforts of everyday Australians.

“Our country is made up of so many characters who have fascinating stories to tell, so we wanted to create an initiative to celebrate these everyday Aussies as well. We thought there was no better way to truly get under the skin of who we are as a nation than to meet people from all walks of life and hear their stories – all through the lens of the country’s most promising young photographers – which is how we landed on the Australian of the Day campaign,” says Tucker.

“At the end of the campaign, the photographs will culminate in a major national portrait celebrating who we were and what we looked like in 2015.”

Monika-Biernacki-1 Monika Biernacki has saved the lives of over 11 000 dogs at Monika's Doggie Rescue.

Connecting and celebrating communities

 “As Australia’s biggest bank with over 52,000 employees, we have a responsibility to actively support the communities we operate within. Australian of the Day is just one way we do this,” says Tucker, noting CommBank has run community initiatives for over 100 years, with recent examples including their Community Grants and Teaching Awards programs.

“Firstly we think it is important to thank those doing great work in communities, a simple thank you can be a powerful gesture,” says Tucker on the community benefits of the Australian of the Day campaign. “We also hope that through using our channels to tell the incredible stories of people in the community, we’re elevating their causes and also inspiring the wider community. An example of a wonderful story that inspired the community is the story of Queensland hairdresser Barry Faulkner. Barry discovered a potentially fatal melanoma hidden on a client’s scalp during a routine haircut. His client immediately underwent surgery and to this day holds Barry as his saviour. This story really resonated with people and started a genuine discussion around the importance of routine skin checks.”

Barry-Faulkner-1 Barber Barry Faulkner, who alerted a client to a potentially fatal melanoma on his scalp, prompting the client to undergo life saving surgery.

Every picture tells a story

Four months in, the Australian of the Day campaign features the photos and stories of all kinds of Australians – of different ages, backgrounds and locale. The images shot by the participating photographers – including James Adams, Trent Mitchell, Rhett Hammerton and James Whineray – are a testament to Australia’s diversity.

When quizzed on whether he has any personal favourites, Tucker says: There are literally so many to choose from – every single Australian of the Day has been chosen because they’re doing something amazing in their own way. One person who really resonated with me personally – and with our social community – is Tejinder Singh. Tejinder has two busy full-time jobs as an air-conditioner mechanic and a taxi driver, yet still somehow manages to find the time to give back to the Darwin community by way of a monthly food drive. He and his son spend the last Sunday of every month cooking and distributing vegetarian meals to any and all who are hungry – no matter what race or class. He’s told us that he’s rejected countless offers of monetary support from people, and instead, just wants to encourage others to begin their own food drives within their local community. “

Tejinder-Singh-1 Tejinder Singh and his son run a food drive in Darwin every Sunday, showing us what it is to selflessly give to other.

He ends: “Tejinder's story really embodies the Australian of the Day campaign, and it's uncovering stories like his that makes the initiative so rewarding.”

Know someone you’d like to nominate for Australian of the Day? You can here.

Benojo helps businesses and charities collaborate for the greater good.

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Social impact and the future of business – top thoughts from The Benojo Breakfast

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 11.53.45 am

“We get shit done.” That was the pervading message addressed to a room full of CEOs, corporates and philanthropists at our spring Benojo Breakfast. Needless to say, we know how to make an impact.

At this, the second in a series of industry events, some of the best minds in the social impact sector gathered to discuss the ever-changing role of philanthropy within corporate strategy.

We heard an impassioned call to change from “Chief Disrupter” Anne-Marie Elias, and working examples of the Benojo model from Brad Howell, CEO ICAP and Robbie Brown, Sustainability Manager, Fuji Xerox Australia. Our own founder and CEO Martyn Ryan delivered a lively speech about his personal journey and how corporates can follow his lead in changing the way we give.

Here’s what stood out most to us. As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts too.

1. We need to measure ‘outcome’ not ‘output’ of CSR initiatives

A Social Change Connector Strategist Innovator Speaker, Anne-Marie Elias is strong, intellectual and passionate. She’s a ‘doer’ and is not afraid to push the boundaries. It’s fitting that her talk reminded us to consider CSR through its impact on the individual rather than its measurability in company reports.

“I’m a disrupter… because the status quo in this country is unacceptable,” she says. The discrepancy between the money spent on social change and the fact that 1 in 6 children live below the poverty line in Australian is not something Anne-Marie can let slide. Her talk encouraged us to think more about the wider objectives of CSR initiatives, how they are carried out and how they are measured.

Anne-Marie discussed the idea of getting back to grass-roots giving and urged corporates to ask where their CSR dollars are going. There’s beauty in this idea as it hands CSR and philanthropy back to the people, rather than making it only about business dollars and the placation of shareholders. She noted that “every corporate lives and works in a community that they’re often not a huge part of” which indicated that social investment might have a greater impact if revised as a grass-roots initiative.

2. Technology and social impact

Technology is driving a profound shift in social impact and the act of giving. The sharing space i.e. social media, is an easy way to make causes known and garner support from the public, while creating new expectations about transparency, speed and connectedness.

This idea was explored by Robbie Brown, from Fuji Xerox Australia, who conducted an audit to see the range of charities the employees supported nationally, with the goal of refining and channeling the focus into a few.

Fuji Xerox was able to hone in on a smaller number of charities that employees could explore more thoroughly, using the platform as a space for information and connection. As Robbie noted, gathering the efforts of her employees allowed for “greater impact”. Technology can help filter and manage the quantities of causes and charities online, giving people an easy way to connect with a cause that resonates with them.

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3. How to reconcile the human need to give with a business model

Although Benojo founder Martyn Ryan firmly believes it’s in our DNA to give, he also recognises that it’s important this concept is explored from a business perspective so that it continues to be relevant to a modern, capitalist society.

During a panel chat with Robbie and Brad, we saw how these seemingly irreconcilable concepts could work in harmony. Citing the example of ICAP Charity Day, Brad explained how ICAP asks employees to nominate charities they want to help, as their personal connection with the cause encourages them to do more. “People want a deeper connection, people want to work for a company that contributes,” he said. This echoes the global challenge faced by organisations striving to deepen employee engagement and meaningful work.

Robbie explained how the 2013 company review of community engagement showed her that she worked with a lot of passionate individuals who were actively involved with charities and causes. However, most had no idea of what the impact actually meant for those they were helping and what the result of their good work looked like.

They also had long-standing relationships with United Way and ABCN that she noticed weren’t completely clear to the employees within the business. By prioritising these causes, employees were able to come together and have a collectively greater impact and a more solid understanding of both their company’s philosophy – aligned to their broader goal of growing education – and the charitable output they were helping to achieve.

4. CSR is necessary for brand equity, and beyond brand equity into your company. 

Traditionally, in some companies, CSR was handled by an in-house human resources department, viewed as a mere box to tick on a list of business objectives. According to Anne-Marie, this is no longer a viable way of doing business. She argues that companies who want to attract the best talent have to create a point of difference i.e. have a social conscience. With an increasing expectation from millennials and gen Y for meaningful and responsible workplaces, corporates will be forced to place greater emphasis on their CSR activities if they want to placate a socially aware generation.

Millennials are here to “turn the world on its head,” says Anne-Marie Elias. A report by Cone Communications shows that a company’s CSR profile will influence 84% of millennial’s shopping habits and 78% of their employment applications. These staggering figures suggest that CSR and philanthropy are thus integral to a company’s success.

An awareness of social impact can be used to inspire, encourage and help employees. As noted by Anne-Marie, corporates are often unaware of staff members who have been through trauma. “[Social trauma] is not a problem that only effects a certain segment of society any longer,” she says, citing the example of Telstra, who now offer employees an extra ten days of paid leave each year under its domestic violence policy. It is thus within the interest of corporates to maintain a pulse on social issues, helping them create a safe and encouraging work space for employees

5. It’s time for action 

Martyn summed up the breakfast perfectly, saying: “we have an abundance of resources, time and knowledge, so why the hell have we got people with a need not being fulfilled? Somebody’s got to do something.”

Hearing Anne-Marie’s call for urgent change, and the passionate testimony of Martyn, one cannot deny that it’s time to act. It is no longer somebody else’s problem; we have the resources and ability to gather information enough to be able to make a difference. As Anne-Marie said, “We don’t need CEOs painting sheds, we need their business acumen [to help causes].”

The traditional model of giving and CSR is obsolete. The digital age has turned the world on its head and given us new opportunities for conversation and connection, all it takes is for one person to stand up.

This event was kindly supported by HLB Mann Judd.


Benojo helps businesses and charities collaborate for the greater good.

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Are you joining the Australian Food Fight?

This August, some of Australia’s biggest household food brands – including Kellogg’s, SPC, Primo Smallgoods, Rinoldi, Goodman Fielder, Ardmona, and D.E. Master Blenders 1753 – have partnered with non-profit organisation Foodbank to help fight hunger in Australia and promote awareness of their cause through their Food Fight campaign. Food rescue at work

Established in New South Wales in 1992, Foodbank is Australia’s largest hunger relief organisation. They rescue edible but surplus groceries and food from retailers, manufacturers and farmers and distribute them nationally as emergency parcels, food hampers and prepared meals, feeding an average of 88,000 people a day.

The premise behind their month-long Food Fight campaign is for every nominated product purchased (this includes an array of food staples made by their food partners such as pasta, coffee, smallgoods, meat, bread, cereal and tinned vegetables), participating brands will match it with a food donation to Foodbank. In turn helping the 2800 charities and 1000 schools the non-profit work with nationally.

Food fight australia

The support of the food industry

Different corners of the food industry have come together to support a cause that is closely connected to their own businesses – feeding Australians, but this time with a focus on those in need.

For the big name food brands taking part it’s in the form of food donations with the benefit of empowering Australians to support a cause simply by choosing to buy their nominated products at supermarkets in August.

From the hospitality industry, professional chefs have offered their names and skills to the campaign by creating tasty and easy video recipes – such as chef Scott Pickett’s chocolate mousse and cornflakes ice-cream and chef Adam D’Sylva’s special fried rice – featuring the products supporting the Food Fight.

Jason Hincks, CEO of Foodbank Australia, says, “It’s great that so many are coming out to support the Food Fight campaign. We couldn’t provide the vital service we do without the help of the food industry, our ambassadors and also volunteers who work tirelessly at the frontline.”

For a list of Food Fight items to look for in store and more info, visit the Food Fight campaign site.

Benojo connects those who want to give to those in need.

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