The Surf Life Saving Foundation


In the 2016/17 financial year we were pleased to have recorded 24,461 Guardians of the Surf in our regular monthly giving program. We also had 18,083 active donors who gave a total of 25,651 single donations.

We have seen an increase in the average gift across all national appeal campaigns in 2016/17 which has led to an increase in income for appeals both through renewing past support and acquiring new supporters.

The number of our lead supporters (those who give a gift of $1,000 or greater) totalled 136 donors and their collective generosity exceeded $310,836.

Regardless of donation channel or the dollar value, all of our donors are helping to fund vital programs and services that allow us to confidently plan ahead and invest in Surf Life Saving, helping to ensure that our volunteers can continue their vital community service now and into the future.


A Bequest to Surf Life Saving is an investment in the future, ensuring our beaches remain safe now and for generations to come.

In the 2016/17 financial year we have seen increased activity within the Bequest Program to arrange more group interactions amongst bequestors. We have also introduced newsletters and surveys to create more leads.

The total number of known ‘Circle of Friends’ program members nationally is 514. Many of those who wish to leave a gift in their Will continue to target their gifts to specific areas of interest; be it equipment, training or priority projects. It is encouraging to see the increased level of engagement.

The ‘10,000 Club’ program encourages SLS members to leave a minimum of either $10,000 or 10% of their estate to their own club. It was initiated as a way of focusing on Surf Life Saving Club members considering their own club as a beneficiary in their will. This initiative has been promoted during the 2016/17 year and is slowly gaining momentum.


The Workplace Giving program allows employees to make regular tax deductible donations to charities of their choice. Historically this has been managed predominantly through their employers payroll system directly, but increasingly organisations and individuals are making use of third parties to manage this.

Workplace Giving is a vital component of many corporate social responsibility and employee engagement programs. The number of companies actively participating in the Surf Life Saving Workplace Giving program in the financial year 2016/2017 was 45. This is a 29% increase in the number of companies participating in our Workplace Giving program from the previous year.

Approximately half of these companies match their employees’ gifts. This doubles the impact made to our cause.

The largest contributor to Surf Life Saving through Workplace Giving in 2016/2017 was Event Hospitality & Entertainment Limited (The Event Group), whose employees donated 11.7% of total Workplace Giving contributions to Surf Life Saving.

The Foundation continues to make use of this philanthropic program but will focus on the following for 2017/18:

  • Working with third party organisations to maximise reach and awareness of our cause in a more efficient manner
  • Increasing employee participation and engagement with our existing Workplace Giving companies through regular communications, updates and appeals
  • Collaborating to deliver further value to Surf Life Saving’s national and state partners through complementing our partnerships with Workplace Giving
  • Increasing awareness of the corporate social responsibility and employee engagement benefits of Workplace Giving and Surf Life Saving to generate support from new companies.


The Foundation operates one of Australia’s largest ‘House and Land’ lottery programs. It comprises of six house lotteries, a loyalty program, the Champions Club (which awards daily prizes), and a number of smaller ‘limited lotteries’ for cash and gold bullion.

The revenue gained from our lotteries program remained steady compared to the previous year. The Champions Club, which is our loyalty program, also continues to grow with more than 47,000 members actively participating. In 2016/17 our Christmas Lottery (Lottery 178) achieved significant interest and revenue with a $200,000 gold bullion included as part of the first prize.

This financial year saw a continued focus on the Champions Club program with targeted campaigns aimed at increasing the membership base whilst reducing our cost per lead.

In addition, our retention program to retain our customers continues to build ongoing loyalty and we have recently undertaken qualitative and quantitative research with our members to better understand their needs, satisfaction and purchasing motivations.

Digital also remains a key focus for growth as we continuously review our advertising partnerships and improve the quality of our online content such as virtual tours, more winners’ stories and website enhancements.

Our focus continues to be improving the overall customer experience with the objective to increase revenue and maintain our position as a competitive and attractive package in the lotteries market.


The Grant Seeking Unit’s work with clubs and the state entities has seen a number of outstanding results this year with records achieved for Surf Life Saving Queensland, Surf Life Saving New South Wales, Life Saving Victoria, Surf Life Saving Tasmania, Surf Life Saving Northern Territory and Surf Life Saving Western Australia. The GSU assisted club and state entities to raise $5.3 million in grant funding with 372 grants lodged of which 86% represented assistance at a club level.

The support provided by the States and the NT to their clubs through the GSU continues to be valued by the volunteers, as is evidenced by the wonderful results seen this year.

Lifesavers with their hands in the air


The Surf Life Saving Rescue Fund (“Fund”) is a charitable investment scheme operated by The Surf Life Saving Foundation. The Fund can accept investments only on behalf of SLS entities that are members of, or affiliated with, Surf Life Saving Australia.

The objective of the Fund is to maximise the net (after fees) earnings of the funds under management at an acceptable level of risk that protects the capital value of the investments.

The Fund has two components:

  • The Perpetuity component which includes funds held on trust by the Foundation in accordance with the terms of the Trust Deed of the Foundation Perpetuity Trust; and
  • The Withdrawable component which includes funds that have been directly invested by SLS entities.

All of the monies in the Fund are pooled within three investment options (short-term, medium-term and long-term), all with their own distinct investment allocations. By pooling funds into these three investment options, the Fund is able to utilise large scale and specialised investment resources that would not otherwise be available to SLS entities to maximise their net investment returns. The costs of administering the Fund are borne by The Surf Life Saving Foundation; the Foundation does not charge or retain any fees from the Fund.

An independent Investment Committee provides oversight and strategic advice on the effective investment of the Fund.


  • A total of $11.5 million was distributed to SLS entities
  • $6.22 million returning to the movement through philanthropic and commercial activities
  • $5.3 million raised for state entities and clubs through direct funding requests for Surf Life Saving entities by the Foundation Grant Seeking Unit.

Melanie Thompson
Head of SLS Foundation

SLSA Operations – The Surf Life Saving Foundation