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.

What attendees will hear at the Australian Communities Forum 2016

Monday, October 10, 2016

The Australian Communities Forum is happening again in Sydney on Thursday 13th October 2016.

Attendees are in for an excellent, informative and interactive day. View the full program and purchase your tickets here.

Here is an overview of what attendees can expect to hear at the event.

Keynote speakers

MARK MCCRINDLE | Principal, McCrindle Research

Understanding Australian Communities

In this opening session, Mark McCrindle will give a snapshot of the key factors influencing Australian communities and some surprising findings from the just-completed Australian Communities Report. Annie Philips, Team Leader of Analytics at McCrindle, will give an overview of the key insights that came from the national surveys and a statistical overview of giving and community engagement in Australia. Sophie Renton, Research Executive at McCrindle who managed the qualitative components of this national study, will reveal the attitudes, perceptions and priorities of Australians towards not-for-profit organisations. Finally, John Rose, principal at R2L and partners of the Australian Communities Research will discuss what this means for community organisations and how they can best respond to the findings and engage with the ever-changing supporter.

ELIANE MILES | Research Director, McCrindle Research

Leading teams and managing change in transformative times

The volunteer base of community organisations, like the workforce itself, is ageing and fast approaching the biggest intergenerational leadership transfer ever. Over the next decade, the proportion of Baby Boomers in the workforce will halve, while the number of Generation Y and Z workers will more than double. In this session Eliane will give an overview of each generation in the workforce and some analysis of their needs and expectations, as well as strategies to manage change, inspire innovation and create a collaborative and adaptive organisation.

JOSH HAWKINS | Founder, Hi Josh

Social media and under 25s; Connecting, leading and engaging

Josh is a social media expert, having received over 50 million views in the last year from his creative and engaging content. Additionally, he also works with the youth and young adults in his community and holds unique insights into how to connect with this generation of young people. In this session Josh will discuss how to create engaging social media campaigns and how to connect, lead and engage Generations Y and Z.

IVAN MOTLEY | Founder, id.

Demographic trends, future forecasts and how communities can be transformed through data

Ivan Motley is the founder of .id, the population people, specialists in demographics and experts in using data to inform decisions and shape the future. Ivan is passionate about communities and how analytics can shape the quality of their education, housing, health, environment and recreation. In this session, Ivan will share the key demographic trends shaping New South Wales and deliver a future forecast for Australia’s largest state and share case studies to show how information and data can help transform communities.

CAITLIN BARRETT | Founding CEO, Love Mercy Foundation

The Love Mercy Story

Caitlin is the CEO of Love Mercy, a foundation created by dual Olympian Eloise Wellings, to empower communities in Northern Uganda to overcome poverty caused by the horrors of war. In this session Caitlin will tell the story of how Love Mercy was founded, the inspiring work they are doing in Northern Uganda and how so many local Australians have been motivated to support global needs.

ANDY GOURLEY | Founder & CEO, Red Frogs

From idea to international; The inspiring Red Frogs Story

Andrew Gourley is the Founder and CEO of Red Frogs Australia which he started in 1997 after seeing the need to safe guard teenagers and young adults. Red Frogs is now the largest support network in Australia for schoolies, festivals and universities students. Currently the Schoolies program is located in 17 different locations around Australia and coordinates over 4000 volunteers to run. In this final session, Andy will share how an idea transformed into reality and has grown and developed to an international program run in countries such as Canada, UK, South Africa, New Zealand, and Poland.

Stream 1; Understanding Australian Communities

GEOFF BRAILEY | Research Executive, McCrindle

Understanding the next generation of volunteers and donors

A specific area of focus in the 2016 Australian Communities Report is analysis of volunteers and supporters aged under 30. In this ession, Geoff Brailey, McCrindle Research Executive will share the findings as well as give practical insights on engaging young people in community organisations and developing the leadership capacity of the next generation of staff and volunteers.

NIC BOLTO | Executive Coach and consultant

From information to application; Putting the insights to work

Nic Bolto is an executive coach and consultant, bringing expertise to the acquisition of goals that are important to organisations, to charities and to their donors. This session will draw from Nic’s expertise in working with many clients and highlight the cost of not applying insights learnt, and ways in which research findings and business insights can be effectively applied and implemented.

JAMES WARD | Director, NBRS Architecture

How architecture can build social capital

James is a Director of NBRS Architecture, an architectural firm committed to innovation in the design of life changing environments. James will outline the case study of their ‘Tiny Homes’ project backed by the research paper BISI Affordable Habitats, as well as how understanding spaces and building communities can help to improve people’s lives.

Stream 2; Engaging with Australian Communities

ASHLEY MCKENZIE | Team Leader, Communications

Communicating complex data in message saturated times

In an era of message-saturation, the challenge for organisations is to deliver quality content that will cut through the noise. In this session, Ashley McKenzie, who leads the communications strategy at McCrindle, will share tips and tactics on how communicate complex data and engaging messages to motivate and inspire audiences.

BRYCE DAVIES | Officer, The Salvation Army

Building community in areas of social challenge

As a Salvation Army officer for 22 years, Bryce will use his vast experience from working on the Bridge program focusing on Drug and Alcohol rehabilitation in both Adelaide and Brisbane, to heading up an inner city drop in space in Fortitude valley in Brisbane to share practical tips and advice on how to develop dynamic and functional communities in areas of social challenge.

GREG LOW | Co-founder, R2L

The 5 essentials to make your next marketing or fundraising campaign thrive

Greg is an expert at helping not for profit organisations with their communication – from fundraising through to brand strategy and visual communications. In this session, Greg will share how organisations can build successful fundraising, marketing and communications campaigns to build better relationships with their stakeholders and supporters.


The Program

The Australian Communities Infographic

Creating a culture of wellbeing: Leading in times of Change

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

That our world is changing and shifting is not surprising – it’s the key definer of our times. On the one hand the centripetal force of change can push us towards constant innovation. We can be invigorated by the newness around us, so that our means of communication, the way we work and the spaces in which we engage are ever-evolving.

On the other, the speed and scale of change can leave us feeling overwhelmed as we work out how to navigate and juggle complex personal and professional demands.

As leaders, we often find ourselves leading teams of individuals immersed in the rapid uptake of change. Our teams respond to this change in different ways – some with a type of change fatigue in which new initiatives are merged with the old, rather than looking to new horizons. Others respond with change apathy, checking out altogether.

 In these fast-moving times, how do we lead ourselves, our teams, and our organisations through times of change?

Leadership author John C Maxwell once said that in order to lead others, we must first learn to lead ourselves. He also advised, “If you’re leading and no one is following, you’re just out for a walk.” Leadership begins by looking inward, rather than outward. It begins by taking a look at your personal values alignment, learning style, and wellness gauge.

  • Your values alignment: How do your personal passions and strengths align with the ethos and values of the organisation that you are a part of? Recognising areas where your personal passions align with your organisation’s passions will give a greater sense of energy and purpose to your work.
  • Your learning style: How do you learn, get inspired, and stay motivated? As leaders, it’s important to stay fresh by identifying sources of personal inspiration – it could be simple things like reading content that inspires, carving out down-time, or networking with leaders who are just that one step ahead of where you are.
  • Your wellness gauge: How are you tracking in terms of your energy levels and personal wellbeing? Busy lives leave little space for margin and it’s more important than ever before to carve out time to be adaptable and flexible. Manage your screen time and bring in more green time, watch your health and nutrition, and create some space for reflection and deep thinking.

The leadership styles that the new generations respond to are those that embody collaboration, authenticity, mutual understanding and empowerment. When it comes to building resilient teams, it’s not just about processes and policies, but about helping individuals thrive in complex and ever-changing business environments. Our research has identified several key drivers among young workers that motivate them towards engagement:

  • The drive for complexity and challenge: Today’s career-starters are full of innovative ideas towards problems and thrive on identifying solutions. Creating space for the cultivation of ideas and innovation is key not only for better organisational performance but strong employee engagement. When was the last time you gave your team permission to step up to the challenge of solving your most critical problem?
  • The drive for variability and flexibility: Empowering your team to take control of their workload provides them with the opportunity to structure their day towards their most productive times and builds greater levels of team trust. When team members are engaged with the vision and have the skills they need to drive the team forward, hands-off management is always better than micro-management.
  • The drive for community and belonging: In an era where movement is a constant and flux is inevitable, workplace communities have become 21st century families. Establishing a team culture where individuals themselves are celebrated (not just their work-related wins) is critical to developing work-place tribes.

Organisational change is up to all of us, and moving ahead as an organisation involves directing individuals at all levels into forward horizons by leveraging the team’s combined power for innovation. We each lead by example by creating the initiatives and by driving the culture.

In our work with hundreds of organisations across Australia, we have identified several consistent characteristics evident within organisations that have thrived in times of change. These include:

  • Organisations who scan the external horizon. By understanding the current demographic, economic, social, and technological environment, leadership teams are able to make robust and solid decisions that guide their organisation towards its future. While the future can seem uncertain, getting a grasp on the current environment adds confidence to the decision-making process that is needed to stir a ship in a new direction.
  • Organisations who commit to being the ‘only ones’ at what they do. We consistently watch organisations position themselves alongside their competitors to understand what the market is offering. Yet it’s so easy to get caught up in ‘keeping up’ that we lose track of the unique abilities that only our teams can bring. Look inside at who is on your team before looking outward to what you can bring. Commit to carving out a niche that is true to who you are, not what your competitors are offering.
  • Organisations who put their people first. Organisational leadership is at its best when people are the priority. There are countless ways to create value for individuals within your teams (50 Best Places to Work 2016 features just some of them!), and when people thrive, not only is there lower turnover and a larger applicant base, but client relationships are at their peak, there is better innovation, greater productivity, and more sustained long-term business growth.

-Eliane Miles

Eliane Miles is a social researcher, trends analyst and Director of Research at the internationally recognised McCrindle.

At the Australian Communities Forum 2016 on October 13th she will give an overview of each generation in the workforce and some analysis of their needs and expectations, as well as strategies to manage change, inspire innovation and create a collaborative and adaptive organisation.

Purchase your ticket here

The Australian Communities Forum 2016

Friday, September 16, 2016

On Thursday 13th October 2016, McCrindle Research and R2L & Associates are hosting The Australian Communities Forum at Customs House in Sydney. This one day event is focused on delivering to not-for-profit organisations and community focused businesses the key demographic and social trends transforming Australian communities, and how organisations can best engage in these changing times.

Held since 2012 this annual event provides compelling case studies, the latest research, practical workshops and importantly, great networking over morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea. Come and hear Mark McCrindle launch the 2016 Australian Communities Report, as well as engaging content and fantastic networking opportunities. This not to be missed event will equip leaders in community engagement with the latest insights into 21st Century Australian Communities.

Purchase your early bird ticket today.

OUr speakers

Mark McCrindle

Mark is an award-winning social researcher, best-selling author, TedX speaker and influential thought leader, and is regularly commissioned to deliver strategy and advice to the boards and executive committees of some of Australia’s leading organisations. Mark’s understanding of the key social trends as well as his engaging communication style places him in high demand in the press, on radio and on television shows, such as Sunrise, Today, The Morning Show, ABC News 24 and A Current Affair. 

Terrence Mullings (MC)

Terrence is a lively TV and Radio personality with a unique ability to communicate and truly connect with his audience. A regular guest on The Morning Show, he currently works as a Radio Announcer on HOPE 103.2 as well as TV presenter on Positive Hits TV/Radio. Terrence has previously been a presenter on Channel 10 (the Circle), Chanel 9 Morning and also live T.V host on TVSN. Terrence created and produced music video show: “Positive Hits,” which currently airs worldwide. Terrence is in the business of “communication” and utilises a variety of platforms: TV, Radio, Speaking Events, and even speaking from "The Pulpit ".

Andy Gourley

Andrew Gourley is the Founder and CEO of Red Frogs Australia Chaplaincy Network. He started the Red Frog Program in 1997, after seeing the need for a chaplaincy service to safe guard teenagers and young adults. This Chaplaincy Network is now the largest support network in Australia for schoolies, festivals and universities students. Currently the Red Frog Chaplaincy program for Schoolies is located in 17 different locations around Australia and coordinates over 4000 volunteers to run its programs. 

Eliane Miles

Eliane Miles is a social researcher, trends analyst and Director of Research at the internationally recognised McCrindle. As a data analyst she understands the power of big data to inform strategic direction. Managing research across multiple sectors and locations, she is well positioned to understand the mega trends transforming the workplace, household and consumer landscapes. Her expertise is in telling the story embedded in the data and communicating the insights in visual and practical ways. 

Josh Hawkins

Josh is the founder and creator of Hi Josh. Which is one of those things that sounds more impressive than it actually is. He enjoys talking in third person and making YouTube videos. He made a few viral videos and now gets recognised at the local McDonalds by Luke, one of the employees. Across various social media platforms Josh has received over 50 million views in the last year, and has a global audience of about 50,000 people over YouTube, Facebook and Snapchat etc.

Nic Bolto

Nic Bolto is an executive coach and consultant specialising in entrepreneurship, strategy execution and change. Nic assignments have included senior government, corporate and not for profit change projects including Sanitarium Health and Wellbeing, The Salvation Army, Bupa and the NSW Baird government with Minister Dominello's recent value rediscovery for their social health portfolio. As a Churchill Fellow, Melbourne Business School graduate and Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Nic brings significant expertise to the acquisition of goals that are important to community and the people within them, to organisations, to charities and to their donors.

Caitlin Barrett

Caitlin is the founding CEO of Love Mercy, and has a passion for Love Mercy's women in Uganda and about bringing about real change within communities in poverty. Caitlin was committed to setting up the Love Mercy Foundation when Olympic runner and Love Mercy Founding Director Eloise Wellings came back from her first trip to Uganda after meeting Julius Achon and navigated the minefields of the not-for-profit sector. Caitlin worked in a volunteer capacity for three years until becoming the first paid full-time staff member in 2015.

James Ward

James is a Director of NBRSARCHITECTURE and a member of the Executive Leadership Team. James' strength is in understanding complex situations and developing management strategies to guide the development of improved outcomes that can change the way people think and live. With a strong background in senior executive management and strategic planning in both for-profit; fast moving consumer goods and the not-for-profit industry sectors, James has been involved with many varied commercial situations.

Ashley Fell

Ashley Fell is a social researcher and Team Leader of Communications at McCrindle. As a trends analyst she understands how organisations can communicate with the emerging generations to effectively engage and motivate them. From her experience in managing media relations, social media platforms, content creation and event management, Ashley is well positioned to advise how to achieve cut through in these message-saturated times. Her expertise is in training leaders and teams on how to communicate across generational barriers.

Bryce Davies

Bryce has been a Salvation Army Officer for 22 years. For 9 years he worked in The Salvation Army Bridge program focusingon Drug and Alcohol rehabilitation in both Adelaide and Brisbane. In recent years Bryce has headed up an inner city drop in space in Fortitude valley in Brisbane that has evolved into a dynamic and functional community with a broad and effective raft of services. Bryce is now based in Sydney heading up a new project called “Communities of Hope” Assisting Salvation Army leaders develop welcoming and authentic community life.


Purchase your early bird ticket today.

Top 5 Speaking Trends

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Each year the McCrindle Speakers are called on to deliver more than 150 keynote speeches, research presentations, and workshops across Australia and internationally.

Some of these are small executive sessions while others are national conferences, sometimes it is a short 30 minute address and other engagements are half-day interactive workshops.

This volume and varied contexts gives us a great perspective on the trends in audience engagement and what works best when it comes to speaking and presentations.

So here are our top 5 speaking trends:

1. Less is more

The trend is for shorter sessions but more of them to provide a better event. The pressure is on conference organisers to deliver more from events. Not only is it harder to get delegates to attend and stay at longer events, but the sit and listen approach is giving way to snappier sessions to accommodate shorter attention spans, busier lives and more distractions. Over the last decade the one-hour standard presentation has been replaced by the 45-minute session being the norm- and indeed the rise of the 30-minute keynote session.

2. Make it visual

It's called a presentation for a reason- what is seen and heard has more impact than a speech alone. The best communicators deliver great content in an engaging way- reinforcing their message through easily consumed visual cues. The power of a story, the cut through of an image, the cross-cultural connection of a picture, the speed of understanding an infographic and the retention power of a symbol are why visuals work.

3. Reinforce the message

Communication is more impacting when the presentation is supported with handouts or follow up materials. We find that professionally printed infographic cards, visual summaries, or industry report cards are very useful when attendees have such handouts for a presentation. Additionally more in-depth industry reports, research papers and the presentation slides can be made available electronically after the session to add more depth and impact.

4. Maximise the value

Corporate budgets are being kept tight and when an event cost can provide benefits beyond the one-off session, it is more likely to get the green light. The investment in a speaker can be also assisted with an additional workshop, participation in a Q and A panel, and providing new and specific content for social media and mainstream media to help create interest and activity around an event. However the impact can begin even before the event. As researchers, we often provide a survey for delegates or industry representatives to complete before the conference so that a “snapshot” of the organisation or industry can be presented. Such surveys not only provide valuable data and a big-picture overview, but the very process of surveying builds anticipation of the upcoming events and encourages registrations in the knowledge that the results will be presented at the event.

5. Keep it real

Speakers need to be engaging and dynamic but they must also ensure that they deliver solid content which is real-world. There has been a strong trend over the last decade to move from motivational sessions to practical, applicable presentations. The best communicators are not theorists but experts who are equipped not with ideas or anecdotes as much as relevant research and findings and so are able to deliver actionable insights.


From our terrain in the trends and change space we have analysed the Top 5 Topics in demand by business leaders and event organisers at the moment:

1. Changing Times, Emerging Trends: An overview of the megatrends transforming the business and consumer landscape from social change to transitioning technology, from population shifts to global trends.

2. Managing Change and Leading Innovation: Assisting teams through unprecedented change, managing a workforce of growing diversity and moving from a structured style to a collaborative environment are key skills for today’s leaders.

3. Effective Communication-: Bringing data to life: In a world of big data and information overload we need visual data and engaging communication. This session showcases how to find and tell the story behind the numbers.

4. Demographic Trends, Emerging Consumers:A snapshot of the ever-changing customer and the new consumer segments.

5. Understanding the New Generations: From Boomers and Xers to Generations Y and Z, the generational landscape is changing and engaging with diverse generations at work or as clients is essential.

McCrindle Speakers

Whether you are looking for a keynote address at national conference, an onsite professional development workshop, or a strategy briefing for senior leaders, our presenters have the experience to ensure your event is a success.

Our presenters not only deliver keynote addresses at national conferences but specialise in the delivery of executive level briefings, strategic retreats, executive planning days, and in-house PD sessions that provide top-level industry scans to equip teams with the latest strategies to succeed.

Market analysis briefings guide decision-makers on the latest consumer segments while industry future forums outline the current trends, implications, outcomes, and recommendations of a product or service offering.


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