It is with great pride and deep satisfaction that I announce that Empower Projects now has DGR status in Australia! As of the of the 25th of June 2015, all donations over $2 are tax deductible in Australia.
This is a tremendous achievement as we are a small organisation – we are currently volunteer run in Australia and only had 3 full-time employees in Malawi at the time of application in 2014. Overall, we clocked in over 200 hours of effort to submit a robust application. This involved close coordination with our team in Malawi and partners in Sri Lanka to ensure that we were practicing and consistently refining our internal processes. The DGR application involved us providing evidence across all aspects of our organisation – from governance and policies, to our entire project framework and financials.
Not only is this a major boon to our fundraising efforts, it is an important milestone for us as an organisation. The application has been a valuable opportunity for us to develop systems and processes that enable us to be more inclusive, transparent and effective. I would like to express my gratitude to my board and team members – without them this application would have been a herculean task, an insurmountable mountain. Together, we have handled this with grace while maintaining momentum on the project and fundraising front. Furthermore, I’d like to thank our regular supporters over the years. It has been deeply heartening to have individuals and organisations back our mission and values without any financial incentive. In particular, Reho Travel has been an inspiring example of the positive impact that B-Corps can make.
In practical terms, tax deductibility means that Empower Projects is now better poised to attract funding from like-minded businesses, foundations and grant-making organisations in Australia. Many workplace giving and matching programs have DGR status as a requirement for consideration.We are also better placed to strengthen our regular giving program as it is a key means through which organisations like ours can maintain effective cashflow.
We have done wonders to raise and maintain impactful operations within an annual budget of AUD 40,000. We have consistently ensured that over 90% of all funds raised go towards supporting our projects in Malawi and Sri Lanka. In truth this has been hard work . We’ve run in running festivals, hosted a range of events, designed crowdfunding campaigns and canvassed support from a fantastic network of friends. But we’ve reached our saturation point and it’s time for a new era! One that builds on the successes and lessons of the past.
We are now setting plans in motion to invest in our team and extend our reach – we will be expanding conservatively while adding new layers of talent and experience to our team. Our volunteer team in Australia has strengthened considerably over the last 8 months . In fact we now have a full-time permaculture consultant in Malawi (Tinah) and are hiring for two new positions to support the Mpamba Savings and Credit Cooperative. This is exciting as the effectiveness of our work hinges on our ability to build local capacity – not just on quantitative outputs.
So the road ahead looks promising and if you are an Australian looking to support a consciously small organisation that works in solidarity with communities to overcome the injustice of poverty …we have one more reason for you to consider supporting us.
If you’d like to make a donation or become a regular giver. It’s simple and takes less than 5 mins.