Businesses Supporting INA
Susan Fetherston is both a business owner and one of INA's long-term supporters, and we recently had the pleasure or catching up over a coffee and chatting about her reasons for combining business and regular giving.
Here is a bit of what she had to say:
How long have you been supporting INA?
SF: A long time! I think it's about 16 years - long enough to support children who have travelled through primary, secondary and tertiary educaiton. Two of our children in the Philippines are going to graduate this year, one to be an accountant, and the other a teacher.
Your business supports 18 INA ChildLinks. Why do you think businesses should become involved in supporting a Not-For-Profit?
SF: I firmly believe that if you have a business you need to give back to the communities that need it the most, particularly those that don't have the resources available to them. If we give money towards educational pursuits within that community, we make a profound difference. It also shows people what our company stands for, and that's very important to us.
What drew you to INA in the beginning?
SF: One of the reasons we chose INA is that I felt that is was a program with high integrity, and practical intervention. I was so impressed with the community work that they were doing. It wasn't a case of just going in and giving children books and leaving. It was actually working with partners on the ground who would be equipped so that they themselves can provide books or pencils or classrooms or a healthy snack or vaccines or vitamins, or a whole range of different things, to enable a child to excel at school.
What INA had to say about the opportunities for kids overseas really resonated with me. I personally believe that if you really want to change a child's life opportunities it starts with their health and education, and as a medical publishing company we're obviously working in the health arena, but I also feel very strongly that we need to educate a child to give them more opportunites in life. It's a great investment in a child's future.
How does supporting INA affect your staff?
SF: We have a very multi-cultural office, as most companies in Australia do, and many of our staff were born in developing countries, so therefore pride themselves in knowing that we are a company that gives back to these countries in a very meaningful, deliberate, and generous fashion. I think it also makes a difference to the office staff as they feel that they have a personalised relationship with the communites that they're supporting through our business.
They love the idea of being involved in projects. At Christmas, for example, we have always created personalised cards for every child that we are linked to, and it may be time-consuming, but we believe it makes a difference to each of those children. We receive letters back, and I show them to the staff and my family. I've even had letters from two children asking us to send another photo because a flood washed away all their possessions and they wanted the picture back.
You have chosen ChildLink and regular giving as your key form of support, in addition to your single donations. Why is that?
SF: The whole point of having an active, engaged interest and committment to that community, child, or project, is they are supported long term. I think that we don't always do what's easy, but we want to do what's best in our office. We want to have an ongoing relationshop with these programs, and it means that we are engaging in the process. We also simplify everything for the accountant by doing bulk half-yearly payment for all our ChildLinks.
Any concluding remarks?
SF: I feel very committed to the fact that we are so blessed, and we do live in the lucky country. We are given so many opportunities in Australia that we have an absolute obligation to assist children in other communities in other parts of the planet in any way we can.
Susan Fetherston, Director at Mi-tec Medical Publishing