Episode 5

Physios in cupboards, dancers at dinners and unwavering confidence: the story of The Australian Ballet’s $15 million’ Raising the Roof’ Campaign


Libby Christie, Executive Director, The Australian Ballet

‘You can’t leave it to someone else to do’: loyal donors, sophisticated Board engagement; integrated marketing & philanthropy systems, endowments, programs and capital: the business of philanthropy that ‘raised the roof’ and more.

Melissa's key learnings from the story:

  1. The Australian Ballet’s success is both its culture of philanthropy and business of philanthropy. The Australian Ballet (The Ballet) and its community are referred to as ‘family. This sense of family is echoed throughout the Ballet’s communications, events and engagements. This genuine community and sense of family can only be sustained when philanthropy is the collective responsibility of the Company.

  2. Not only culture, but the business of philanthropy and fundraising is highly strategic, supported by effective systems and business operations across the company. These structures, systems and process behind the scenes provide efficiencies and professionalism that support the culture of philanthropy.

  3. To be successful in fundraising, you must ask. Even as you are welcoming your new boss for dinner in your home, no opportunity is lost in demonstrating the importance of giving, and asking.

Recommendations to apply in your own organisation:

  1. For a culture of philanthropy to be sustainable, it must be the whole organisation’s responsibility.

  2. The business of fundraising – structures, systems and processes – are essential to support both revenue generation and embedding a culture of philanthropy.

  3. To be successful, you have to have the courage to ask. A lot.

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