Chairman & Executive Report

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Surf Life Saving exists to save lives, create great Australians and build better communities. Every day we hear about the extraordinary work being done by our volunteers to achieve this. Whether by sharing water safety knowledge to educate the public or by putting their own lives at risk to rescue people whose lives are in danger, volunteer surf lifesavers are inspirational in their commitment to our vision of zero preventable deaths in Australian waters. During the past twelve months, a remarkable 10,249 rescues were performed, more than 1.5 million preventative actions taken, 65,296 first aid treatments administered, and our surf lifesavers volunteered more than 1.37 million patrol hours.

The support of the Australian community through the Foundation enables our volunteers to do what they do best – save lives – and for this, we say a heartfelt “thank you”. Every donation, every dollar of support, means the Foundation is able to continue to educate people on water safety, provide the necessary lifesaving equipment and ensure our beaches are patrolled by well trained and rescue-ready surf lifesavers.

Thanks to the amazing support of our Philanthropic and Charity Lottery supporters, the Foundation has been able to distribute $6 million back to the movement for essential lifesaving services, equipment and education.

This funding was generated with the assistance of 21,975 Guardians of the Surf in our regular monthly giving program, 18,578 active donors who gave a total of 27,933 single donations and contributed $1.8 million, over 47,000 Champions Clubs members who purchase tickets each month in our prize home lotteries, and over 200,000 customers who purchased single tickets in our prize home lotteries throughout the year.

10,249 rescues were performed, more than 1.5 million preventative actions taken, 65,296 first aid treatments administered, and our surf lifesavers volunteered more than 1.37 million patrol hours.

In addition, the Foundation’s Grant Seeking Unit (GSU) again exceeded targets, lodging 406 grants and securing over $4.8 million in grant funding for individual Surf Life Saving Clubs and State Surf Life Saving entities across Australia. Our GSU team is committed to maintaining their grassroots level support of clubs and you can read more about their vital role here.

The Surf Life Saving Foundation has worked very hard this past year to improve the way we understand and communicate with supporters, ensure we protect supporter information and focus on finding innovative ways to continue engaging the community to support our surf lifesavers to keep our beaches safe. We are proud of what we have achieved and are pleased to share a few of the key highlights.

A priority for the year was to improve our effectiveness and efficiency, as well as to ensure the Foundation is structured and equipped to achieve our strategic objectives. This resulted in the re-organising of how our work is conducted and we now have a new and very important Customer Experience team. We recognise that we must connect to and engage with our supporters in a way that places them at the forefront of our thinking and the establishment of this team will ensure our supporters’ experience is at the heart of everything we do.

This same change also created significant structural improvements within our Fundraising team, including the merger of our Philanthropic and Charity Lottery teams to improve consistency and increase productivity and the introduction of a new Digital Innovation team, focused on the delivery of platforms and capability that power a compelling customer experience, emphasising ease, convenience and stories that connect with the cause. Community feedback received supports the value of this initiative and we will continue to enhance our digital footprint in the coming months.

We also continue to remain vigilant in our efforts to ensure our technology systems are appropriately developed and, in a world where cyber security risks are increasing, data management is prioritised and good governance practices are adopted across the business. It is important that these practices are in line with those published by the Fundraising Institute of Australia (FIA), Australian Charities and Not for Profit Commission (ACNC) and the Australian Institute of Company Directors’ (AICD) Good Governance Principles and Guidance for Not-for-Profit Organisations.

In context of our Prize Home Charity Lottery, we remain focused on diversifying the prize offer to match customer feedback and provide Surf Life Saving with a point of difference in the market to optimise ticket sales and funds raised for the movement.

In 2018/19 we will continue to focus on sharing the stories of our volunteer surf lifesavers, delivering a gold standard customer experience through improving our supporter interactions, investing in the development and enhancement of innovative and functional technology systems and ensuring regulatory compliance in all that we do. The Surf Life Saving Foundation’s FY19 Strategic Plan emphasises this commitment and will ensure we continue to increase funds raised and distributed back to the movement.

Surf Life Saving celebrated its 110th anniversary in 2017 and with the support of the wider Australian community, the team at the Foundation is committed to playing their part in helping our volunteer surf lifesavers around the country do what they do best – save lives now and for another 110 years.

Martin Walsh

The Surf Life Saving Foundation

Melanie Thompson

Head of Foundation
Surf Life Saving Australia