Macquarie’s Future Skills Now program brings together Macquarie employees from across Australia to collaborate on real-world challenges faced by purpose-led organisations. In 2022, PCYC NSW and Shoreline Foundation worked with Macquarie staff on two quite different projects.
With 66 clubs, 1.6 million visitors a year and 1,600 paid and volunteer staff, PCYC NSW is a well-known organisation around the state.
Twenty years ago, it transitioned to a fully registered charity, and while NSW Police provide police staff across its club network (22 in Sydney, 44 regionally), many of the organisation’s other costs – youth development programs, and sport, recreation and educational activities - are met through community and government support.
The challenge for PCYC NSW today is that many people think the organisation is fully funded by government, however that’s only around 10% of its operational funding.
Simon Gerathy, PCYC’s General Manager, Brand & Philanthropy, said that given the organisation’s long history (it was established in 1937) and close connections to local stakeholders such as police and councils, there is a legacy perception that PCYC is not a charity.
“We’ve got these wonderful clubs around the state and people assume that they are all government funded, but we’re actively working to update that view,” he said.
In its new five-year strategy, one of PCYC NSW’s goals is to be recognised as the state’s leading youth charity, seeking diversification and growth of its revenue streams to reflect this.
The question of how to establish awareness of PCYC NSW’s work with new donors was taken up by a small group of managers in Macquarie’s Financial Management Group (FMG) and Risk Management Group (RMG) earlier this year, as part of the Future Skills Now (FSN) learning program.
PCYC NSW already knew that it needed to develop a marketing and communication plan that conveyed the impact of its programs in local communities, and the FSN pro bono group identified some deliverables that could assist with this.
These included the suggestions that PCYC’s annual report and other marketing could feature:
At a recent presentation discussing the ideas, Dominic Teakle, PCYC NSW’s CEO, was particularly impressed with the suggestion that PCYC might think about how to show how its work in a community affects crime rate data, describing it as “amazing analysis”.
“It’s been a great experience engaging with the Macquarie team and if our job is to empower young people to reach their potential I can see the benefit that Macquarie is also bringing in providing this information back to our organisation,” he said.
RMG’s Jennifer Duong said that while some of the Macquarie team on the PCYC challenge found it quite difficult to move from a more “numbers focus, data-driven" finance environment to a non-profit community-oriented mindset, it was a great learning curve.
“It was a brand-new concept for [our team] to help a non-profit organisation in this way,” she said. “Working with so many different perspectives, with people who don’t necessarily all think the same, and having to adapt and share responsibilities was a challenge but everyone really stepped up as a team. We enjoyed taking more of a human approach.”
The pro bono support contributed through the FSN program supplements other support Macquarie provides to PCYC NSW. This has included staff giving and Macquarie matching, totalling $A88,000 as part of the 2022 Star Jump fundraising initiative, a Macquarie Group Foundation grant to fund PCYC’s Fit For Work program (2019-2022), and laptop donations.
Macquarie Group’s COO Nicole Sorbara also chairs PCYC NSW’s Board, continuing Macquarie’s long-running involvement in the board following the chairmanships of CFO Alex Harvey and former CEO Nicholas Moore.
As a non-profit organisation that supports young Indigenous people with their education and employment goals, the Shoreline Foundation recently invited some of the young people who had graduated from its program to join its Junior Indigenous Advisory Group (JIAG).
Shoreline’s aim was twofold: help inform Shoreline’s decision-making, build more effective social connections and increase the visibility of its work through the JIAG’s ambassadorship, but also to bolster the graduates’ skills and opportunities beyond Shoreline’s core support.
Shoreline Managing Director Jason Ryan said he wanted to ensure that the JIAG was relevant and valuable to both the young people and Shoreline’s executive and Board.
“I see the impact our graduates are having in advocating for the work we do, and I want it to be a successful, sustainable and meaningful engagement for them as well,” he said.
The challenge laid down to the Future Skills Now team was how might Shoreline develop the JIAG within a defined structure and ensure it continues to be a valuable part of the organisation as Shoreline expands.
After speaking to Jason, members of the Shoreline Board and JIAG members, the Macquarie team identified a number of deliverables. These included:
FMG executive Rahul Suvarna said he found the pro bono experience insightful and satisfying.
“It broadened my horizons and the way I think,” he said. “[The Future Skills Now program] gives you the opportunity to try and solve a problem that you might not otherwise come across. You can get caught up in your working life - which for me is around liquidity and analytics – so helping achieve an objective that isn’t necessarily ‘corporate’ was really fulfilling.
“We heard a lot from Jason about the value and importance of giving back to the JIAG and I think the program gave us an opportunity to give back as well.”
The insights from the FSN have validated Shoreline’s thinking around the importance of the JIAG, helping inform its operating model going forward.
“The FSN project has helped us to think about how we can have a structure that adds value to the graduates,” Jason noted after the Macquarie team presented their options.
“I think it will be really interesting to develop that further.”
Learn more about the Foundation’s Australian grantmaking strategy here.