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Anthony Klan | May 18, 2009
Article from: The Australian

THE Red Cross will axe up to 20 jobs and force dozens of other employees to reapply for positions in a shake-up aimed at making the charity more efficient as donations dry up amid the financial downturn.

The aid group will wind back “one-off events” such as raffles and sporting fundraisers as part of the overhaul of its fundraising and communications divisions.

Spokeswoman Vivian Schenker said the 110 staff employed by those divisions would be cut to “about 95”.

A further 50 jobs would be abolished and re-created, with existing staff given the first chance to apply for the new positions.

“We are looking at creating a new team in fundraising,” Ms Schenker said.

“We are moving away from myriad one-off events towards regular and online donations.

“We are moving to the kind of fundraising that is associated with lower costs, which will lead to more money going through to those people who need our services the most.”

Ms Schenker said she was unable to comment on how much the move was expected to save the Red Cross, which has come under pressure with falling donations amid the economic downturn.

She said one-off donations were “marginally down”, but the Red Cross bushfire appeal had helped bolster annual fundraisings by more than $300 million. “We are slightly down in some areas while in others donations are holding.”

Ms Schenker said the jobs cuts would be “across the board” within the fundraising and communications divisions.

“We are looking at aligning our staff more closely with our services and across both fundraisings and communications.”

Charity groups have come under strong pressure in recent months as private donors and corporations tighten their belts amid the financial downturn.

The Starlight Children’s Foundation last month cut 20 of its 150 positions and announced plans to slash its expenses by close to a quarter this year.

The group, which looks after critically ill children by providing entertainers and granting special wishes, has forecast a $2million drop in its revenue this year.

An animal protection group in Sydney has also come under pressure, last month announcing it was on the verge of collapse.

Late last week the NSW Government slashed the rent of Monika’s Doggie Rescue group — which finds homes for dogs on death row in council and RSPCA shelters — from $34,500 to just $400 a year

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25498130-5013404,00.html

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