It’s October, which means the annual ADRA Appeal is here! We talked to ADRA Australia’s senior fundraising manager Aleksandra Ewing to find out more about “Knocktober”.
Adventist Record: How does the ADRA Appeal help? Where does the money go?
Aleksandra Ewing: The funds raised during the ADRA Appeal go to support people in need in Australia and overseas. This funding is critical for ADRA’s projects in Australia such as community centres, women’s refuges, ADRA Cafe and food pantries that help people like Jonathon—he and his three sons were homeless and hungry until they came across ADRA’s community meals program. They received much-needed food and basic necessities and were able to get back on their feet. Now they are volunteering to help others.
AR: Is the ADRA Appeal only about door-knocking or are there other ways to get involved?
AE: The advantages of door-knocking are two-fold: it gets the word out there about ADRA and raises funds from the public. Having said that, door-knocking is not everyone’s cup of tea! Each person has their own God-given gifts and talents. In the past few years, we’ve seen more and more very creative ways of raising funds, including a table tennis tournament, an open garden and an eBay auction of unwanted goods. The great thing about these events is that they can be used to reach out to the greater community. If you’re stuck for ideas, go to adra.org.au/appeal.
"If we are to be imitators of Christ and want to bring glory to Him, then we need to follow His example of service and generosity . . ."
AR: Why is support for the ADRA Appeal declining?
AE: Looking at the fundraising landscape, there are a number of reasons why support for the ADRA Appeal may be declining:
- Greater public scrutiny and distrust of charity organisations (due to a small number of high-profile cases of excessive use of administrative costs).
- Concerns about safety of door-knocking and issues with handling money.
- General fear of door-knocking and lack of volunteers able to engage in this way.
- Lack of knowledge about alternative ways of fundraising and supporting ADRA.
AR: As far as we’re aware, giving in our Church has been declining across all areas. Why is it important to continue to support ADRA?
AE: I believe that service and giving are part of our Christian journey. Mark 10:45 says, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and give His life as a ransom for many.” If we are to be imitators of Christ and want to bring glory to Him, then we need to follow His example of service and generosity, especially for those who are the most vulnerable. After all, we never know when we’ll be the ones in need and require help, so helping those in need is a way of us paying it forward.
When I was growing up in Communist Poland my family was not well off at all. And it was then that an agency like ADRA helped us. It made a massive difference for our family and ultimately gave us hope and purpose. And that’s what we’re here to do: give hope to those most in need.
AR: How can we get our churches motivated to take part?
AE: The main way to get your church motivated is to get a conversation started about how your church is able to support the ADRA Appeal. Talk to your church board, the ADRA representative or personal ministries person at your church, or even just ask to speak at church and encourage volunteers to come forward to help run an event. We have a whole range of ideas of what you can do to get your church motivated and resources available for you to download at adra.org.au/appeal.