Kids with Cancer Foundation Australia

Does Kids with Cancer Foundation spend too little of its revenue on its core charitable purpose?

NO. ALL of our funds are used towards achieving our charitable purpose of supporting children living with cancer and their families.

Does Kids with Cancer Foundation pass on 100% of donations?

YES. We disburse 100% of all donations, bequests and community fundraising received to programs and causes in support of our beneficiaries.

What is a donation?

Donations are gifts of money or property to Kids with Cancer Foundation. As a public benevolent institution, Kids with Cancer Foundation is a deductible gift recipient (DGR) and is able to offer donors a tax deduction for all donations of $2 or more and in some circumstances for donations of property.

What kind of programs do donations, bequests and community fundraising go toward?

We make distributions via our five key programs and services, being, Family Financial Assistance, Funding Hospital Oncology Positions, Wigs 4 Kids, Care Packs 4 Kids and funding cancer research.

If Kids with Cancer Foundation passes on 100% of its donations, how are its operations funded?

We operate a lottery program that funds all of our operations as a charity. We are currently into our 83rd lottery, selling $2 lottery tickets that enable purchasers to win a combined prize valued at $80,000 RRP.

The profits from the sale of our $2 lottery tickets pays for all our overheads and means we can deliver on our commitment that all tax-deductible donations, community fundraising and bequests given to us go towards supporting our beneficiaries. In addition to this, with any surplus left over from the lottery program, we can increase our direct impact to our beneficiaries.

How are the funds from the Lotteries used by the Foundation?

Some refer to such ‘commercial’ programs that are operated by charities as social enterprises. It is very common for charities to run commercial activities such as these as a way of raising funds. The High Court and Federal Court of Australia have consistently ruled that charities may undertake commercial activities
if they are merely a means by which funds are raised in order to direct funds towards the charitable purposes of a charity. That is exactly what we do!

All of our operational costs of running the charity are funded from the profits of our lotteries. It is this forward-thinking approach to fundraising that enables KWCF to make our 100% commitment that donations, bequests and community fundraising amounts received by the Foundation will not be used for operational costs but rather will go directly toward supporting our beneficiaries. We are very proud of this model and the impact it allows us to have for those in need of our support.

What are the costs associated with the Lotteries?

Lotteries require investment in time and money. Organising and paying for the lottery prizes and selling the tickets directly in shopping centres, paying rent in those centres, contracting telemarketing companies and distributing tickets via post are just some of the costs associated with our lottery.

The vast majority of ticket sales are made through third-party services, which we pay for. A volunteer workforce simply couldn’t achieve this at scale.

Are the Lotteries Audited?

YES. Every lottery is audited by an independent Auditor.

Each year, on the ACNC website, we’re required to show both the revenue and the expenses of our lottery ticket program on our accounts, not just the net profit obtained from this fundraising activity. On the surface, the figures from the lottery seem to distort our efficiency. However, the expenses associated with the lottery are simply part of what it takes to run the lottery and proactively sell tickets.

In addition to our reporting to the ACNC, we are also required to have each of our lotteries audited and the financial results of each lottery reported to the state-based lottery licensing agency in each state our lotteries are conducted. The audited result of our lotteries is in compliance with the requirements in
each state.

What happens with any profitability of the Lotteries after lottery costs are taken out?

The profitability of the lottery program enables us to pay for staff, office accommodation and all the elements necessary to run a 10-person organisation, who are the driving force behind us achieving our charitable purpose.

As a charity, with a cause that all of our staff, board and volunteers deeply believe in, we have a strong sense of stewardship over all funds raised by the Foundation and as such, decisions regarding how the funds of the Foundation are spent are always made with efficiency and achieving our charitable outcomes in mind.

After our charitable operations costs are accounted for, we still have a significant surplus that goes towards supporting children living with cancer and their families. We love seeing the impact that this makes in so many people’s lives.

Why do you engage telemarketers?

The COVID-19 pandemic impacted fundraising in general as well as the lottery program, which is essential to funding our charitable operations and impacting the lives of our beneficiaries. We lost much of the network of people who could sell tickets in shopping centres and we were forced to replace them with more telemarketing activities when shopping centres could not open. This was a more expensive method of fundraising that, unfortunately, given the circumstances was unavoidable.

How have the surplus funds from the Lotteries gone to the charities purpose?

As the below financial figures show, the lottery program generates vitally important revenue for us, to fund our operations in full, but it also incurs expenses, which are necessary to generate this income. We also know that many other charities that drive their own fundraising exercises experience proportionate
expenses for those activities. In the end, we think it’s still worthwhile.

Incredibly, the $2 lottery tickets that we sell continue to fund our operations in full and allowed us to make significant contributions to our beneficiaries, including:

  • from 2004 – 2006 we were Founding patron of Children’s Cancer Centre at Monash Children’s Hospital and provided $1.2 million to construct and fit out the new Paediatric Oncology Unit and Ward;
  • in 2006, after donating over $1 million from 1998, we were named the ‘Founder’ of The Children’s Hospital Westmead;
  • in 2008, we provided $250,000 to refurbish Oncology Day Unit at John Hunter Children’s Hospital;
  • in 2022 we gave a $1.3 million commitment over the following 5 years to fund a world first clinical trial into relapsed Ependymoma via The Sydney Children’s Hospital;
  • in 2023 we provided $1 million to fund the Kids with Cancer Foundation Cancer Genetic Risk Program at The Children’s Hospital Westmead;
  • since we started, we have provided more than $6 million in direct financial support to families of kids living with cancer;
  • to date, we are the second highest lifetime donor to the Sydney Childrens Hospital Network;
  • and looking to the future we have pledged >$7 million to support clinical positions & research in Australia’s Children’s Hospitals through to FY2027.

Why bother with the lottery program? It seems like a lot of work.

While it’s a lot of work, the lottery program is still worthwhile.

The profit the lottery program earns gives us a head-start on all our other fundraising exercises. It pays for our overheads and means we can deliver on our commitment that all tax deductible donations, community fundraising and bequests given to us can go to our beneficiaries. With any surplus left over
from the program, we can increase our direct impact to our beneficiaries.

We know that many people that buy our lottery tickets do so not only because they wish to win an amazing prize but also because they know that they are supporting an incredible cause in doing so.

The lottery program also raises our profile and brings in donors that may not otherwise have given towards our work.

What if I want all of my $2 to go to the kids?

Make a direct donation. This is tax-deductible and goes 100% to the kids. The $2 lottery ticket although not a tax-deductible donation, allows you the opportunity to win an $80,000 prize.

Why are you sitting on a surplus? Why don’t you distribute all the funds you raise as you raise them?

It’s not unusual for charities to build cash reserves to meet future strategic funding objectives.

While we provide a lot of practical and financial support to children with cancer and their families every year, in addition to supporting research and healthcare roles, we’re also focused on supporting big ticket, innovative and needs based initiatives. Projects like these can take months or even years to plan
and can involve significant investments of funds.

Sometimes, these big-picture initiatives will make the biggest difference; other times, a simple care package for a family in need and some financial support for accommodation, fuel or groceries can also make the world of difference. We do both.

For this reason, we do not necessarily spend or disburse all our funds in any particular year. For instance, some years (as shown in the financial figures below for 2023) we may disburse more than we have received, if there are particularly large projects we are supporting in the year. That may mean that in other years we disburse less than we received in that year. How such funds are spent or disbursed in any particular year varies depending on the strategic and operational needs of the Foundation and those that it supports.

Soon, we’ll be able to announce a significant investment that will be a game-changer for the treatment of children with cancer in Australia. We have been working on this project for some time now and looking forward to sharing it with all of our supporters very shortly. We will be directing significant life changing financial support to this project.

Have you misled lottery participants?
Absolutely not. The generous people who buy our lottery tickets get the thrill of going in the draw for incredible prizes and know that by doing so they are also supporting a wonderful and worthy cause.

Do you have any examples of how your funds are actually spent?

Yes, below is a high-level breakdown of our 2023 financials:

In 2023, the lotteries program generated approximately $4.7M in revenue.

However, to generate that revenue, there were a number of expenses:

  •  Around a third, being approximately $1.8M, was on telemarketing. This expense has risen since COVID and the loss of a portion of our grassroots sales workforce.
  • There’s approximately another $200K on sales commissions for grassroots salespeople in shopping centres.
  • And, we also spend just over $350K on other lottery costs, including the prizes themselves and moving our lovely cars from centre to centre.

So, the gross profitability of the lottery program is just under half of the revenue that comes in, being 49% profitability or around $2.3M. With that $2.3M, we’ve funded salaries of $1.1M (with our salaries benchmarked and in line with the
market) and $800k in operational costs (i.e. facilities, vehicles, advertising, services, administration and technology).

The Remaining funds from lottery sales, after operating costs are also used in the current year, being approximately $400k in 2023, to fund our 5 core programs or retained and reserved for future strategic program delivery. In 2023, we disbursed 120% of donations, fundraising and bequests through our programs and to our beneficiaries – an amount of $2.8M. Our future funding commitments are more
than $7million over the next 3 years for clinician funding and research programs alone.