What's a Social Enterprise?
Autism Swim is structured as a social enterprise.
Social Enterprises are quite a new concept in Australia, however they are dramatically on the rise. There are an estimated 20,000 social enterprise in Australia, with the number increasing rapidly.
- Are driven by a clearly identifiable public or community cause, be it social, environmental, cultural or economic
- Derive a portion of their income from trade, not exclusively just donations or grants
- Use the majority (at least 50%) of their profits to work towards their social mission
“Buying from social enterprise represents the greatest untapped potential in generating positive, sustainable social impact in Australia.”
Why not a charity?
When Autism Swim was established, we were advised by many to avoid the charity route; mainly due to the ongoing costs and requirements involved. In a sense, “You’ll end up spending all of your money and time on adhering to the charity stipulations, whereas instead, that money could go toward actually developing your service further and offering more value to your customers, and in turn, those who need your support”.
Koda’s recent study offers us further insight on charities:
- 90% of charities share just 6% of all donation income; the other 94% goes to the top 10% of fundraising charities in Australia
- Charities’ expenditure has increased by approximately 11.6% since 2015; This is faster than revenue growth in the sector
- “There has been a steady decline in trust and confidence in Australian charities. Since 2013, levels of trust and confidence in charities have decreased 13 percentage points. The level of trust in charities was 37% in 2013, 30% in 2015 and, 24% in 2017. Those who outright distrust charities (14%) has increased significantly from the 2015 research (10%)”
What do we know about those who give?
- The causes most favoured by Australian givers are religion, international, then health.
- Only 33% of Australian taxpayers make a donation to charity and claim a deduction.
- The Police force is the occupation with the highest percentage of donors.
- While the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) reports total claims of $2.9 billion, Giving Australia, using a survey and a wider definition of gift, reports a total of $11.2 billion.
- Women are more likely to give, volunteer and take part in Workplace Giving than men. Women also give a higher proportion of their income than men. This is despite the fact women earn 15% less than men.
The top three trends in larger business giving are:
- Increased engagement with social enterprises
- Greater focus on generation of social impact and investing in fewer
- Better resourced organisation
“Larger businesses like working with social enterprises, well-resourced charities and charities that can measure and value their impact. In a word, businesses are increasingly keen to (at least) talk about their deeper ‘purpose’.”
Did you know that only 4.7% of employees participate in workplace giving?
How can I help Autism Swim?
Our mission is very clear, and our job is a huge one. We know it takes a village, and we welcome in any help we can in reaching our mission – be it monetary, time, skills etc.
Can I still donate to you?
Absolutely. As you now know, social enterprises can accept donations and grants on top of their business revenue. You can donate here.
I own a company and would like to donate to you but you don’t have DGR status.
Great! Let’s partner instead. Therefore you receive benefits as well.We already have a range of product and service partners and sponsors, and are now looking for corporate partners.
Can my organisation volunteer hours?
Most certainly. We are staffed largely by volunteers, with many organisations choosing their staff volunteering initiatives to be with Autism Swim. This can be through skilled or unskilled labour (e.g. you may have expertise in a certain area which you can give us, or you may like to simply offer your time with anything at all that needs doing).
Did you know 4 out of 5 Australian charities employ volunteers and half employ no paid staff at all? Volunteering is such a pivotal element of any successful charity or social enterprise.
I’d like to organise a fundraiser for Autism Swim. Is that doable?
Be our absolute guest 🙂
I have some other ideas for how I can help. Who do I chat with?
Email Autism Swim’s Founder/Erika Gleeson to brainstorm any ideas you have. We’d love to hear from you.