‘Feelgood giving’ made easier

Sydney, 17 Feb 2016

As a non-profit organisation that hosts live crowdfunding events where like-minded people, foundations and corporations come together to create social change, the importance of data to The Funding Network (TFN) Australia is paramount.

“We need to analyse our event and donations data for many purposes but it’s always very manual,” says Tom Hull, TFN Australia’s General Manager.

“In 2014 we did a comprehensive analysis [of our donations database] and it took around 6 weeks to complete. It was also very complex and not 100 per cent accurate.”

TFN’s events involve four social entrepreneurs pitching for funding in front of a live audience. Speakers share their stories in six-minute segments and invite guests to help them address the community issue they’re working on.

Guests ask questions and pledge support through funding, mentoring and in-kind resources.

“By empowering people to give, we challenge the notion that only the wealthy can make a difference. We expand and deepen the practice of giving by making it collaborative, rewarding and accessible to all. It’s ‘feelgood giving’ for everyone,” explains Hull.

When Macquarie staff Brice Dupuy and Maggie Lau heard that TFN Australia needed help creating a donations analysis tool, they offered their time and expertise.

It was the first time Dupuy, who has worked at Macquarie for six years, has worked on a pro bono project.

“I’ve been trained to automate things so it was a simple and practical project I could get my teeth into. It was a new type of thing to work on too and was within my skill set, so I put my hand up,” says Dupuy.

Dupuy with his coding skills and Lau with her accounting experience set about creating a simple tool that Hull and the team at TFN could input their raw data into, to create meaningful information for marketing, analysis and reporting purposes.

Between them, the team of two spent 40 hours on the project, resulting in a bespoke Excel tool tailored to meet TFN Australia’s needs.

“We wanted to be able to delve deeper into our data but in an automatic and simple way. The tool Brice and Maggie created has enabled us to do that, along with contributing to a huge reduction in staff time spent inputting and analysing data. As a small team, that means we can spend time on other things,” says Hull.

“I simply top up the spreadsheet with data every month and, as long as the data I’ve inputted is correct, it will spit out the right results which contribute to our marketing, annual reports, board reports and more. Ultimately it helps us deliver on our mission.”

Dupuy and Lau are proud of their accomplishment and feel it will help TFN in more ways than originally anticipated.

“TFN can now build on the tool – the sky’s the limit. They will save time but most importantly the accurate information they now have access to will enable them to target their marketing,” says Dupuy.

TFN was established in the United Kingdom in 2002 and groups have since sprung up in New Zealand, Canada, Slovakia, Poland, Turkey, Ireland, Singapore, Serbia, South Africa, Bulgaria, Romania and the United States, as well as Australia (the Macquarie Group Foundation has supported TFN Australia since it launched in 2014 and in the UK since 2015).

More than 150 events globally have raised $AU12 million from over 5,000 donors for more than 750 non-profits.

Image caption: Social entrepreneurs and donors come together at a TFN event.