Dan is an experienced executive and fundraiser with a strong background across the sporting, mental health and education sectors. Prior to his role at the Amy Gillett Foundation he was Director of Fundraising at Orygen Youth Mental Health and helped Orygen win a range of national awards at the Fundraising Institute of Australia. Dan enjoyed hard-earned success as the Fundraising Manager for Essendon Football Club, starting the role just as news broke of the club’s ASADA Supplements Saga. Dan has an innovative, entrepreneurial approach to philanthropy and has graduated from Harvard University’s Kennedy School course in Exponential Fundraising.
Many people remember the incident 15 years ago when the Australian road race team were hit by a driver whilst training in Germany. Amy was killed and several of her teammates badly injured. Out of the tragedy, the Amy Gillett Foundation was started and works to make cycling safer for Australians. The foundation is small with a big footprint and important work to do. Dan took on his first CEO role when he joined the fund in Feb 2020, just before COVID-19, and the experience has been a steep learning curve.
Previously, the largest proportion of the revenue stream for the fund had come from physical events which were completely cancelled due to government guidelines. The company experienced a nosedive in revenue. However, the COVID response in the Transport industry was booming. All of a sudden, countries all over the world were doing more than ever in their campaigns for outdoor transport including cycling and walking. The team at AGF had to figure out how to streamline costs wherever they could, whilst leveraging the opportunity to capitalise on these new initiatives.
No amount of business experience in the world could have prepared Dan for a global pandemic, so he doubled down on his strengths for Change and Crisis Management to navigate the challenge, knowing that BAU was relevant no longer. With the market environment so unpredictable Dan saw an opportunity for experimentation with new solutions and partners, knowing his board were willing to try a new approach because ultimately, there was nothing to lose.
Looking to cut costs wherever possible, Dan was forced to have some uncomfortable conversations with some of his team asking them to take voluntary paycuts in order to stay afloat. It was at this point however, he noticed that one of his skilled staff members was actually spending most of her time working on administrative duties such as managing website enquiries and answering inbound calls. Having heard of Weploy from a peer at another health NFP, he recognised that conversely, hiring an Office Manager would provide far better ROI for the business. By reducing the administrative load, he’d free up this resource, whose Comms and Media expertise he needed for business-critical raising activities.
Whilst making new hires in a time of Crisis may seem counter-intuitive, Dan was able to justify the idea to his Directors by highlighting that the Weploy solution eliminates the business risk associated with a full-time contract. Temp staff are engaged from as little as four hours, up to six months and paid on a fortnightly basis by submitting a timesheet to their “Weployer”. Trialling an Office Admin via Weploy meant the business was able to buy back time and focus their efforts on maintaining their fundraising targets. Despite admitting he was “unsure” temp staff would be appropriate for the NFP sector, Dan has been consistently impressed with the quality of the Weployees they’ve hired so far. So impressed, in fact, Amy Gillett has taken their original Office Manager Stevie, from a temporary to a permanent member of the team.
Amy Gillett Foundation
“Hiring through Weploy during Covid has taken away all the risk for us. The whole experience has been phenomenal and the time and costs saved have made an enormous difference to us as a small Non-For-Profit. Whatever you’re doing to onboard, vet and match your staff with us, something is really working!”
Dan recognises the crisis has led to some important learnings, both for himself and the wider business. Those difficult conversations taught him that having a supportive and talented team of people, who are passionate about the company goals is invaluable. Leaders should prioritise their talent first and foremost throughout turbulent times.
Pre-COVID, Dan admits he would never have considered a remote working environment. Now, he is beginning to feel the traditional office model may not make sense for NFPs anymore. When most of his team have reported they enjoy the flexibility of working from home and have proven they can be just as productive, the overhead costs of having an office five days a week are harder to justify. In an ideal world, Dan sees the team coming together once a week to collaborate and socialise, with certain roles performed completely remotely and short term admin roles powered by Weployees. With a future-thinking approach and a willingness to take on calculated risks - Dan and the team at Amy Gillett Foundation have proven, like the story of Amy Gillett herself, that good can in fact come from crisis.
Speak to Weploy today and start focusing on what matters most.