The elusive ‘new’ idea in fundraising…why we’re excited about the Big Day Off – [Guest blog]

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Fiona Jackson, Head of Marketing and Fundraising at Spinal Cord Injuries Australia

We all know a good idea when we hear it, but when was the last time you heard of a ‘new’ good idea? In this, the age of revival, throwback and retro I think the ‘new’ good idea is something of a mythical holy grail, and one many businesses have invested loads of time and money in without success. I’m talking about an idea that is new, crisp and shiny – a truly original idea that has never been done before? Know what I mean?

I have spent the last 20 years in marketing and the five years before that working as a journalist so I too have invested a lot of time mulling over this concept and attempting in a variety of ways to inform my managers and the Board that I am not sure if an idea nowadays is ever new, or just a rejig of something old, with a twist to make it feel newer than it actually is.

I now work in the not-for-profit sector so this notion of ‘new’ is ever more relevant and the crowded marketplace of charities all doing a great job and deserving of money and support, means I am always looking for something ‘new’ that could be THE next ‘big good idea’ that will give my organisation something unique to share and shout about. And will be so compelling I can excitedly invite people to join in and take part. And they will want to.

And I have found it. The Big Day Off. That’s it. Simple. Fun. Engaging. Low entry level for businesses and feel good factor for people buying tickets. What more could you want from a fundraising initiative?

The Big Day Off is a team effort between businesses and employees to raise money and awareness for people living with a spinal cord injury. Businesses sign up, their staff buy an entry or entries in the draw to win a Big Day Off from their workplace. Winners are drawn and the lucky winners get a paid day of leave to do whatever they wish.
Good isn’t it? And new? I think so.

I’d like to claim it as mine but it isn’t. The Big Day Off is the brainchild of a group of business people in Albury who knew a local young man James McQuillan who sustained a spinal cord injury playing AFL, and were inspired to do something to help him and his family. The idea grew and now the Big Day Off raises money for SpinalCure Australia and Spinal Cord Injuries Australia. The former funds medical research into treatments and cures for spinal cord injury and the latter supports people in the community living with a spinal cord injury.

Why do I think the Big Day Off is a ‘new good idea’?
1. Big Day Off is simple and fun and has never been done before
2. Big Day Off will engage employees’ imaginations
3. Big Day Off will make employees feel good about where they work
4. Big Day Off won’t impact on businesses’ corporate social responsibility partnerships
5. Big Day Off supports people living with spinal cord injuries.

Visit and register your business and the number of days you are willing to give away to your employees. If you aren’t senior enough to do this, you can nominate your boss and the Big Day Off team will email them on your behalf and invite them to register.

The Big Day Off is finally that new good idea and I’d like to take this opportunity to shout about it and share it with all of you. Register today and be part of something big in 2016!



(Fiona is the Head of Marketing and Fundraising for Spinal Cord Injuries Australia, one of the charities that is proudly supported by the Big Day Off. Fiona has over 20 years of experience in marketing and advertising and has worked within the charity sector for more than 10 of these. Fiona’s passion for supporting those impacted by SCI is inspiring to us all.)