As the world deals with the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic, Linda Dickens, from Effectus Marketing, sat down with CEO Lisa Grinham to find out how the Good2Give team are keeping calm and carrying on.
We’re in an unprecedented business environment right now, how has Good2Give adapted?
We certainly are! On a practical level, we’ve transitioned our team to work from home very smoothly. Our technology and data were already cloud-based, with every team member working from a laptop; in many ways it’s business as usual, apart from the physical location. Our willing team and their positive can-do attitude has of course been integral to that transition. Staying connected, both to the team and our clients, is a core priority for me as a leader.
How are you responding to your client and team needs?
Like the rest of the world, video conferencing is our new default when meeting with clients – in fact we’re probably ‘seeing’ them more than ever. Some clients are struggling as their core business has been severely impacted by social distancing, whilst others have experienced comparatively little disruption, and are even looking to increase their giving and implement new corporate giving programs. As a business, we’re very focused on maintaining service provision wherever our clients sit on that spectrum. We’ve also very quickly built an agility into our team workload and project responsibility, geared towards ensuring our sustainability for the long-term benefit of our clients and our own team.
As with any organisation, I feel responsible for providing my team leadership which acknowledges both the professional and personal impact of the current situation. We’re a team of 25, so I’ve been able to reach out to each person individually to check in with them regularly.
Have you made any changes as a response to the current situation?
There’s a great quote from Winston Churchill that I’ve taken as a bit of a personal mantra “never let a good crisis go to waste”. The team have done some great innovation work around our processes to create a virtual unity, from creating technology solutions around live sales reporting to moving our monthly team drinks to a video call, including our Melbourne and Gold Coast teams in what was previously a Sydney-only activity. I can see us continuing these when a bit of normality returns, and perhaps even a bit more time working from home. Most importantly, we’re using any available resources for business process improvements which will make us stronger in the future.
On a personal level, I’m now doing some of my calls as ‘walking meetings’ and really enjoy the stimulation of being away from my desk.
How do you see the role of your clients right now, and the charities they support?
COVID-19 has really shone a light on the importance of companies supporting all of their key stakeholders in times of need, not just their shareholders but employees and the community. We are seeing enormous demands on charities providing health and welfare services, with an alarming rise in the need for services such as domestic violence and mental health support. They need our help now more than ever.
From my own experience during the aftermath of the GFC, about 90% of our Good2Give clients maintained or increased their workplace giving programmes, seeing the results of this decision extend beyond the giving itself into employee engagement and reputational benefit. Right now, it’s great to see that organisations who can afford to step up and continue to support those in need are actively doing so.
You’ve spoken passionately about G2G’s goal to make Australia a more giving society, how do you think this experience will shape our future behaviour?
Right now, we’re be challenged in ways we could never have imagined just a few months ago, when we were all deeply concerned by our bushfire crisis. Australia stepped up incredibly at the time – the FIA has said 1 in 2 people donated to bushfire relief – that’s amazing!
I doubt any of us imagined that this pandemic was around the corner and quite literally on all of our doorsteps, not just our rural communities. People who have never needed help from charities in the past are now reaching out due to personal hardship. So yet again we are in a challenging situation, and on a much larger scale.
In time, as we all recover from both the pandemic and the bushfires, I feel we’ll all have a much greater appreciation of our responsibility, on a personal and corporate level, to support the valuable work of charitable organisations in our communities. It’s the very essence of community, we all need to work together to support each other.
On a more personal note, as you find your own way through the pandemic, what are you looking forward to on the other side?
I’m a real ‘people person’ at heart, I’m looking forward to face-to-face meetings with our fabulous clients and partners, and having the team together. And for those that know me really well, they’ll appreciate how excited I will be to get all my fabulous shoes back out again!
Writer | Director
Chief Executive Officer