Lifeline feels the pinch

CHARITIES across the Northern Rivers are still feeling the funding pinch from the global financial crisis, despite the recession being declared well and truly over.

Lifeline’s Lismore counselling centre manager Niall Mulligan described fundraising as the most important – and most stressful – part of his job.

He is currently gearing up for Lifeline’s crucial annual fundraiser, Walk the Walk, an 8km downhill walk from the Summit gym in Goonellabah to Oakes Oval in Lismore on Saturday, June 12.

“There is only a finite bucket of money out there which puts us in competition with other worthwhile charities, which is not where we want to be as a sector,” he said.

Mr Mulligan is hoping supporters who had to tighten their belts through the financial crisis may have a little more disposable income to start contributing again.

“It can be difficult for us regional charities because we don’t have that critical mass like the cities for effective fundraising. Small business is so supportive, but they can get up to 10 to 15 requests for support each week, which can put them in a fairly awkward position,” he said.

A study last year to monitor the impact of the economic downturn on Australian charities by research analysts, Givewell, found that they were experiencing a 12 per cent fall in donations.

“We’ve been able to absorb that so far, but we can’t keep losing money each year for ever,” he said.

“We need to look at new funding models that account for the changing trends and demographics. Clothes are more disposable these days so we get fewer donations in our shops.

“I’d like to look at something like getting 300 people to donate $10 a month. That would be more sustainable than running events.”

Supporters can register with Walk the Walk at

It costs $10 to enter, or $20 for a family, and corporate teams are welcome. Those who cannot take part in the walk can sponsor a walker.

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