Traditional and Creative Fundraisers Are Making a Difference for FOP Research and the Community
FOP Australia formed just a few short years ago, but the families involved are already making huge strides to raise funds and awareness to support the FOP community.
The organization launched in 2016 with a patient gathering event in Brisbane that raised nearly $20,000 AUD ($13,425 USD). Since then, they’ve quickly grown their efforts and hosted many different types of successful events and creative fundraisers.
One popular event is their annual Trivia Night in Mornington, Victoria, that has raised more than $25,000 AUD ($16,780 USD) total. In 2019, they had over 20 auction items for sale from generous businesses and hundreds of prizes available through two raffles.
“The Trivia Night is successful due to the sheer time and effort put in by our community of volunteers and the donations we receive from a large range of businesses. Many hands make light work in this case,” said Fundraising Coordinator Olivia Sedgwick.
Their most unique fundraiser has been collecting used lead acid batteries from around the remote Kimberley region of Western Australia and selling them to scrap metal dealers. A number of local businesses have donated batteries, storage and transport services at no cost.
“The battery drive has generated over $9,000 AUD ($6,040 USD) of revenue so far,” said Sedgwick. “Being a unique activity seems to help grab attention, and it has given people a way to support the charity even if they don't have the money to do so themselves. It’s also removing toxic waste from the environment, so everyone is winning!”
FOP Australia has found another creative way to help the environment and encourage monthly donations – the Coffee Club which began in 2018. For the price of a coffee a week ($5 per week transferred in $20 per month increments), supporters receive one of the popular, reusable Eco-Cups with the FOP Australia logo. This program has had a big impact and been a great way to raise awareness.
“This campaign has been successful because it has been open to everyone regardless of location, and it’s different from our other fundraisers. The structure has allowed us to more accurately project the minimum amount we will fundraise in a given month, which helps with our strategic planning,” Sedgwick said. “It also gave us a way to launch the Eco-Cups with our logo as our first merchandise item.”
Several families host fun runs in states across Australia to generate awareness and funding, and community members have gotten involved. The Brisbane Bridge to Bridge Fun Run raised nearly $15,000 AUD ($10,070 USD) in 2018 alone.
“We wouldn't be able to raise the amount of funding that we do without the support of our families,” said Sedgwick. “We have had a huge range of fundraising activities including discos, market stalls and school donation days — contributions of every size are always greatly appreciated!”
FOP Australia is expanding their structure and activities to further include supporters in New Zealand. They also want to amplify their social media strategy and continue expanding their fundraising plans.
“We aim to develop a fundraising subcommittee during 2020 to help broaden and strengthen our fundraising capacity and continue supporting the global research effort. We hope to be able to put together a patient gathering which will heavily rely on fundraising and donations,” Sedgwick said.
Since 2017, FOP Australia has donated more than $136,975 AUD ($91,600 USD) to the IFOPA’s ACT (Accelerating Cures & Treatments) for FOP Grant Program. This competitive grant program provides research funds to investigators from around the world looking to advance new treatments for FOP.
“Supporting the IFOPA Act for FOP Grant Program is a key part of FOP Australia’s fundraising strategy," shared FOP Australia Board of Directors Chair Brooke Scott. "It is vital that we as a community help fund further work into the research of FOP. We are grateful for the researchers that are involved in this program and our supporters that help us continue to be involved in funding research."
“The support of FOP Australia has allowed us to fund more research,” said IFOPA Executive Director Michelle Davis. “Each grant that is funded brings us that much closer to identifying new treatment possibilities for FOP. We are grateful for the support of FOP families in Australia and New Zealand.”