A Review of 2018 for achievements of Not-for-Profit organisations and Charities
Greetings from Patagonia 🙂
What a year it’s been!
Personally I’ve made some big decisions – all of which I’m happy to report, have worked out for the best. I’m happier, healthier and I’ve had a big win with the Charity Matchmaker for Giving Tuesday this year. Plus I’m writing this from Patagonia in Argentina – I can’t be disappointed with that 🙂
As a global community, it’s been a year that reaffirms why I work in the for purpose/ not for profit space – for the atrocities that make me cry, and for the triumphs that I’m a part of!
These have been some of the highlights that come to mind for me.
Girl Power is on the rise
– Across Australia, New Zealand and the world there have been disgusting atrocities of men’s violence against women. In the first week of October we saw 7 women die from men’s violence.
There have been vigils and much conversation in the media and amongst our social circles. Eurydice Dixon’s tragic death has got us talking about language more – the “Get home safe” or “Call me when you’re home” comments that men don’t realise that women say to each other when we part company. Hell, most women don’t even realise we do it!
We’re talking about women’s need to constantly check in with our friends so that we know the others are safe.
Women are rising, we are talking about it more. The #MeToo movement has opened pandora’s box and it will never be closed.
– The Women’s March movement is not waning – it’s gaining momentum. We’ve had enough and we say NO MORE.
– We’ve seen a major push from many concurrent sectors to encourage girls interest in and women’s careers in STEM. Data Science and AI is currently not just male dominated, but also pretty much only middle-class white men from California. We need to change this as AI is going to dominate our future and we need women to guide the thinking and strategy and implementation for how women will use voice activated technology, virtual reality, games and apps and everything really. Men don’t understand how women think and behave (despite all the data), so we need to lead if we want our products and services to reflect how we live our lives.
In fact, all of this progress has got me thinking that I want to specialise in marketing to women! Which lends itself well to fundraising, but I want to niche in more to how women behave online. I’ll have to think on it more.
Children, Refugees and Asylum seekers across the world
– We had heinous abuse of terrified people (by he who shall not be named) as Honduran asylum seekers were duped into crossing the US border with false promises. We had to watch as their kids were ripped away from them in very emotional scenes.
But through community organising and mobilising our supporters – who do not abide such treatment – He backed down and we had a minor win.
– Our own heartless Prime Minister(s) spent $480,000 fighting NOT to give medical treatment to #KidsoffNauru. But again, we’re slowly winning this battle of attrition. These are illegal activities, and the courts have ruled in favour of giving medical treatment in every case. Slowly but surely we’re getting the people who have suffered long enough off Manus Island and Nauru.
– The Rohingya people have experienced yet another year of persecution and violence and are fleeing for their lives over the border from Myanmar into Bangladesh, where they are not being received with enough compassion.
– We are watching children starve and die of malnutrition in a horrible war in Yemen – because aid organisations like UNICEF and Medicines Sans Frontiers can’t get in!
But the stories are now getting the air-time they need. Donations are flooding in and international aid charities are getting to the kids that need it. In Yemen the situation is dire and too many children are dying.
Cherish our natural world – no more Single Use Plastic
It’s been a big 6 months for the Environment.
– The ‘single use plastic’ movement has had some major wins. After the ACT banned single use plastic bags in shops – Coles and Woolies both committed and set the deadline to stop using single use plastic bags.
Restaurants big and small around the world are getting rid of plastic straws. As I travelled through Europe I rarely saw a plastic water bottle in restaurants, they were all glass. The revolution is happening – slowly but surely.
It was around this time that ScoMo rolled his colleague Malcolm Turnbull and my friend Gwen Blake created a funny meme “Ban the Single Use Prime Minister” that went viral and she made a business out of it overnight. She is now partnering with White Ribbon and the Black Dog Institute on new tote bags with proceeds going to charity. I love it!
– Climate Change is well and truly back into the public consciousness in a way we haven’t seen since 2010. Just a few weeks ago we watched as kids across the country ditched school and marched in their capital cities to let the pollies know that they are NOT happy with the inaction our Government is (not) taking on climate change. Their placards were funny, insightful and so mature.
And again, the response from politicians was to belittle and disregard the great intelligence and initiative our kids were showing. Thankfully they will be able to vote in a few years and we may see an end to the conservative and right wing politics of the last 10+ years.
Blatant disrespect and abuse of innocent animals
– The live animals export situation in Australia since it was busted wide open by Animals Australia’s investigation in 2013 has slowly been breaking my heart.
Seeing those sheep gasping for air as they boiled alive on a transport ship in the UAE has forced me to start the transition to vegetarianism. Just like all things, if there is a demand for a product, these inhumane practices will continue. But if the demand reduces, then so does the supply.
I’m sure you also know many people like me that have seen too many documentaries, movies and footage and can no longer hide behind their ignorance. The move to veganism across the world is undeniable. Being in Canada, Scotland and Argentina most recently, it is evident everywhere across the world.
Awareness of mental health and compassion for Suicide
Mental health has been one of the biggest social issues for the last several years. I’ve noticed that Health Insurance companies have told us that young people don’t see the point in health cover if it doesn’t include mental health. There has been a huge social discussion about depression and anxiety for the last decade but for me it felt like 2018 was the year of suicide prevention awareness.
– It might just be my close proximity to my friend Caroline, who has suffered too many suicide losses for one woman, and her advocacy. There have also been some high profile suicides covered recently that support Mental Health and the Black Dog Institute being the 2nd highest CHARITY MATCH category & organisation in the CharityMatchmaker.com.au campaign I just finished for #GivingTuesday 2018.
– Only a few short weeks ago we experienced the tragedy of Olga Edwards allegedly taking her own life only 4 months after her ex-husband killed her son and daughter, and then himself. We’ve also seen the jovial travelling chef Anthony Bourdain and huge designer Kate Spade also suicide.
– I was thrilled to see an article just last week of research that Suicide Prevention Australia (a client of ours) is funding.
– The ‘r u ok?’ campaign is going from strength to strength (thanks to the amazing Katherine Newton) but despite all of that, in general, people’s interest in suicide and awareness of the complex issues around it only spike when there is a high profile suicide (as you can see from the Google Trends data I just looked up).
When I compare ‘suicide’ to searches for ‘depression’, ‘anxiety’, and ‘mental health’ the trend for the last 5 years is the same. ‘Suicide prevention’ looks like a flatline in comparison, but this is normal for a 2 word keyword vs a single generic keyword i.e. “suicide”. When I expand the search out to cover 2004-2018, searches for all of these mental health diseases were actually HIGHER in 2004/5 with the exception of August 2016. When I looked up why “suicide” searches spikes so much in August 2016 – it appears to be a combination of the release of the movie and Netflix series “13 Reasons Why” as well as the movie Suicide Squad and a report that in the USA, suicides in 2016 had reached a 30-year high!
2018 Wrap Up from Shanelle
These were the highlights and lowlights of 2018 as I remember them. I’m sure there are many, many more and I acknowledge my bias towards issues of racism (which I didn’t cover except in commentary on refugees and migration), the environment and women’s empowerment. I know that for you reading this, I’ve missed something super important and I apologise that I may have a terrible blindspot – please do comment to make sure that its included in the post for others who may feel the same.
In 2018 I read the book ‘Sapiens’ by Yuvel Noah Harari (which is AMAZING by the way) in which he talks about so many things that blew my mind (that we’ve always stuck to our own species/ geographic peoples, that people used to believe in flora and fauna as gods (if you want to know more, its going to require a long conversion, call me). But the one thing that shocked the hell out of me is that apparently, in 2018, we are living in the most peaceful time on earth!
Can you even fathom that? With all this pain and suffering and death, 2018 is the most peaceful time on our planet since Humans evolved.
If you’ve got this far in the article (thank you), then you’ve read of so many horrific and unnecessary wars and evidence of humans treating each other with absolute disregard. We all know that humans are polluting our planet at a far greater rate than we are protecting it (despite all our efforts). You can see that people do not appreciate that animals have feelings and that we are essentially subjugating them to lives of slavery, torture and death because we’re at the top of the food chain. In the Charity Matchmaker, Animals was the most popular ad creative that people clicked on. And those ads generated the highest number of LEADS for our fellow non-profit organisations that are trying to protect and champion their rights (Animals Australia and RSPCA). But, what we humans still largely don’t acknowledge is that WE ARE MAMMALS!
Anyway, that little tangent has taken me off track. But in essence I wanted this blog to be an opportunity to commiserate the injustices that put the fire in my belly, to use all that I am to fight against it, and to celebrate the wins that we’ve had, the hard work that we/I contribute so that we/I can do our/my tiny bit to … yes I’m going to say it… make the world a better place.
Love and peas – Shanelle
p.s. Please comment and share what the biggest social issues + wins were for you in 2018. It will make a much richer article for everyone who takes the time to read it.