2016 Australian Communities Forum Recap

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Last Thursday, McCrindle Research and R2L&Associates were proud to present the Sydney Australian Communities Forum (ACF) at Customs House in Sydney. The ACF featured 15 brilliant speakers and 4 jam-packed sessions.


We began the day with tea and coffee on arrival before kicking off our first session, which focused on the research results from the Australian Communities Trends Report into Australia's not-for-profit sector. Before we launched into the findings we received a warm welcome from the honourable Catherine Cusack MLC, Parliamentary secretary to the Premier of NSW, and Professor Kerryn Phelps AM, Deputy Lord Mayor on behalf of our principal event sponsor, the City of Sydney.

SESSION 1 - introduction

Mark McCrindle opened Session 1 with an introduction to Australia's generational landscape and gave a snapshot of the key factors influencing Australian communities and some surprising findings from the just-completed Australian Communities Report. Mark provided an overview of giving in Australia, indicating that 4 in 5 Australians give financially to charities / not-for-profits, and that 1 in 4 give at least once a month.

McCrindle Team Leader of Analytics, Annie Phillips continued to share about the quantitative insights from the research, identifying the top 7 causes Australians support (Children's charities, medical research, animal welfare, disaster response in Australia, disability, homelessness and mental health), the 5 charity essentials and the top communication channels. Annie also provided an explanation of the Net Promotor Score (29) and Net Culture Score (21) for the sector, which were both very high.

Sophie Rention, Research Executive at McCrindle then communicated some of the key qualitative findings from the Australian Communities Trends Report. Sophie highlighted the key blockers (e.g. complex giving process) and enablers (e.g. personal connection) to charitable giving for Australians, as well as the next steps for charities including creating multi-tiered levels of engagement, community building, effective communication of results and fun and engaging experiences. 

We then heard from John Rose, principal at R2L&Associates about what this research means for community organisations and how they can best respond to the findings. In his insights and applications John reminded our delegates that in the midst of changes in the marketplace, trust and relevance is essential. John then presented 5 key issues for charities to keep in mind when engaging with the ever-changing supporter which included aligning, defining, communicating, engaging and leading.

Each of our delegates also received a copy of The Australian Communities Trends Infographic which contains the top line findings from the national study into Australian giving and how charities can engage.


SESSION 2 - keynotes

After a networking break over morning tea Eliane Miles, Research Director at McCrindle shared an engaging keynote presentation on Leading teams and managing change in transformative times. In the post linear, post literate and post logical workforce, Eliane reminded us that to engage and inspire our workplaces we need to ensure a culture of contribution, challenge and celebration within our teams. To attract and retain, to lead and inspire, we need to cultivate authenticity. 

Our next keynote, Josh Hawkins emphasised the importance of creativity in social media and marketing campaigns. Josh showed us that creative and fun campaigns are the ones that get cut through. Josh also inspired us to be authentic with our marketing and leadership to under 30's. Through humour, engaging videos and key takeaways, Josh's presentation reminded us that when you "Give someone a task you'll get what you ask for". But when you "Give them a vision you'll get more than you could ever ask for". 

Our final keynote speaker before lunch was Ivan Motley, found of .id The Population Experts. Specialising in using data to inform decisions and shape the future, Ivan and his team talked us through how analytics can shape the quality of education, housing, health, the environment and education. Using some practical case studies, the id. team showed us why we should be using local data to understand our communities, and how information and data can help transform communities.

SESSION 3 - streams

Stream 1: Understanding Australian Communities

In this stream Geoff Brailey, Research Executive at McCrindle began by giving an overview of the next generation of volunteers and donors, and tips on how to engage and motivate them. This was followed by Nic Bolto who encouraged us to do the hard work as leaders and how to effectively implement insights in organisations. Our last stream speaker for this session was James Ward, a Director at NBRS Architecture who showed us, through a case study, how understanding spaces and building communities can help to improve people's lives.

Stream 2: Engaging Australian Communities

In Stream 2, McCrindle Team Leader of Communications Ashley McKenzie began this session by giving practical tips and insights on how to communicate complex data in message saturated times. Following on was Salvation Army officer Bryce Davies who shared how The Salvation Army build community in areas of social challenge by creating communities focused on respect, encouragement and belonging. Our final stream 2 speaker Greg Low, co-founder of R2L&Associates gave us five essentials to make your next marketing or fundraising campaign thrive.


Following afternoon tea and some great networking, we gathered back together to hear from our last two speakers, Caitlin Barrett from Love Mercy and Andy Gourley from Red Frogs. 

Caitlin Barrett, CEO of the Love Mercy Foundation kicked off our afternoon session by telling us the engaging story of how Love Mercy was founded after Australian Olympian met Ugandan Olympian and former child soldier Julius Achon. After sharing the vision and mission of Love Mercy, Caitlin shared how they engage the community through telling personal stories, the importance of finding the right audience for the right story and telling the right details to provide an experience.  

Our last speaker for the day was Andy Gourley, founder and director of Red Frogs Australia. After having founded Red Frogs in 1997, Red Frogs is now the largest support network in Australia for Schoolies, festivals and universities. Through the use of engaging stories and hard-hitting realities, Andy effectively communicated how Red Frogs was founded and the crucial role they play in safeguarding vulnerable young people at events like Schoolies and festivals.  

We would like to thank all of our speakers and delegates for making the 2016 Australian Communities Forum a fantastic event. A big thank you to our sponsors, The City of Sydney, Pro Bono Australia, Hope 103.2 and ConnectingUp as well for your support in making this event happen.

McCrindle Research: Celebrating 10 Years, 2006 to 2016

Thursday, August 18, 2016

It was late August 2006, John Howard was Prime Minister, George W Bush was the US President, the Football World Cup had just wrapped up in Germany, Facebook had just been launched to the public, and McCrindle Research began operations in a newly opened area of Norwest Business Park in Sydney.

It was just a decade ago, but what a decade of change it has been. There was no iPhone, no tablet computers, Twitter was only just being developed, YouTube was just a year old and words like “apps”, “Wi-Fi” , “memes” and “selfies” meant nothing. In the year we began our research, “hashtag” was the rarely used character on the keyboard, “the cloud” was what could be seen in the sky, things “going viral” was an issue for public health and “tablets” were medications.

When we ran our first demographic analysis soon after we began, the 2006 Census had only just been held, and we were relying on the 2001 data which was based on the Australian population of 18.9 million compared to the 24.2 million of today.

McCrindle Research began with Mark McCrindle and a simple vision to “conduct world class research and communicate the insights in innovative ways”. Since those first days the research approach has grown from pen and paper surveys and focus groups to include online surveys, on-device surveys, data analytics, demographic and economic modelling and geomapping. True to the vision of engaging, visual output, the first person McCrindle Research employed was a designer, Mark Beard, who did an amazing job in the early months of developing a digital presence, and deploying research reports in visual forms and designing the data even before the genre of infographics existed.

Since then McCrindle has grown to be well regarded as one of the best research-based communications agencies and data designers in Australia with our research findings more likely to be presented via an event, interactive webpage, corporate keynote, infographic wall, pop-up banner, animated data video, visual report or media launch rather than just a written report.

It was in that first year that we designed “Australia’s Population Map” which has now been updated and reprinted dozens of times with hundreds of thousands in print. We love analysing numbers so here are some relating to our digital presence: we’ve had more than a third of a million YouTube views in addition to our Slideshare, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook presence, and almost a million blog and website visits. We analyse big data and create big data of our own with hundreds of research projects completed, involving thousands of focus group participants and hundreds of thousands of survey completions. 

So it has been a busy decade for us and a transformative one for our world. As we look at the decade ahead, one thing is sure: the speed of change will only increase, and we will continue to analyse the trends and effectively communicate the strategic implications to help organisations and leaders know the times.

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