The Wendybird is still forming as an organisation and we have a dedicated group of LGBTIQ community members who are working hard behind the scene to create a sustainable organisation that fills a need in the LGBTI community – that being to create spaces and opportunities for meaningful connection for LGBTI, Queer, same-sex attracted and gender diverse people in Brisbane.
We are very aware that this is not a very good environment to be starting a new organisation – organisations cost money to run and funding in scarce to say the least. Certainly there is very little financial investment in LGBTI organisations, with no state-based funding that targets the LGBTI community currently available with the funded LGBTI organisaitons in Queensland (QuAC, Open Doors and GLWA) all receiving federal funding to deliver their services to the community.
Much funding comes with a lot of strings attached dictating very specifically what you can do, how you have to do and for which target group which are guided by what is in flavour with the funder. This means that many things that are needed don’t get funding and many groups of people who really need support but who aren’t identified as important by governments miss out. It is also quite short term solution, with many programs having to shut down just after they are starting to have some impact. Personally I have seen this happen time and time again – and it can be so frustrating!
To fill the gap there are a raft of other volunteer run LGBTI groups that operate purely on donations and fundraising, but given the limited financial capacity of many in the LGBTI and broader community, it can be very difficult to raise enough funds to deliver services that are needed.
So with this in mind, Wendybird will be established as a social enterprise. Social enterprises are a commercially viable business that exist primarily to benefit the community rather than shareholders or their owners by reinvesting their profits into the community.
This week, Chantel and I travelled to Melbourne to attend a workshop facilitated by the Social Traders about social enterprises Day one ran through the nuts and bolts of the Social Enterprise, how they operate, and how they can be beneficial the community and contribute to beneficial change in a financially sustainable and independent way. Day two was a tour of successful businesses in the Melbourne area including The Social Studio, Abbortsford Convent, Bendigo Bank and Dear Gladys. Other great examples include Thankyou Water and Who Gives a Crap toilet paper and you can buy from social enterprises on this new website Good Spender http://www.goodspender.com.au/.
This was tremendously helpful to focus our ideas and to make this goal more of a reality. We are still exploring what is the best option for a viable business that will both compliment and financially support our activities in a sustainable way, so if you have any ideas we would love to hear them.
In the meantime we are auspiced by the Community Initiatives Resource Association and will be will be looking for some small grants from philanthropic foundations that can help kick start Wendybird into a viable and sustainable not-for-profit organisation. On that note, we are excited to announce that we have received $2000 from the Kal Collins Memorial Fund that we will use to purchase some equipment that we will use to facilitate our events.
Wendybird can’t exist without a community of people working hard to do things differently and we will are committed to bringing you all along with us on the journey from a small volunteer run group to a successful thriving business!
Until then, keep connecting!