Identity in Communities and Networks

Philanthropic organisations and the health system: exploring trust & authenticity in the McGrath Foundation


The purpose of this paper is to examine the value of health philanthropy in Australia and the use of social media to instill trustworthiness and authenticity in the public persona of a philanthropic organisation’s figure head. This paper takes the position that once trustworthiness and authenticity has been established, it needs to be maintained by building brand identity and forming enduring, meaningful relationships with donor communities. Taking the McGrath Foundation as a case study, this paper will demonstrate how they achieve maintenance of their figure head’s pre-existing public profile: with their use of social network sites and participatory sporting events they continue to unite on-and-offline communities raising money for breast cancer research, services and preventative programs, benefiting the health system as a whole.

Keywords: breast cancer, communities, identity, philanthropy, social networks

“My theme for philanthropy is the same approach I took for technology to find a need and fill it” ~ An Wang


Breast cancer does not discriminate; affecting women and, although not as common, men, of varying ages and walks of life, world-wide. Breast cancer reeks devastation. It impacts on the person, their families, their friends and their local community. The magnitude of this disease is captured in the following statistics taken from the Australian government breast cancer (2019) website:

In 2019, it is estimated that 19,535 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in Australia (164 males and 19,371 females)the risk of an individual being diagnosed with breast cancer by their 85th birthday will be 1 in 7 [equaling]1 in 675 males and 1 in 7 females (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare as cited in Cancer Australia, 2019).

The immense costs involved, both directly (treatment) and indirectly (research and preventative programs) for this disease, and other diseases, cannot be addressed effectively by relying solely on funding from the Australian government and individuals. According to the HIHA (2018) report “governments fund two-thirds (67%, or $115 billion) of all health spending, and non-government sources fund the rest (33%, or $56 billion) with individuals contributing more than half (17%, or $29 billion) of the non-government funding. Together, hospitals (39%) and primary health care (35%) account for three-quarters of all health spending [whilst only 3% is spent on research]”. In the Australian health system, most of the primary care falls to health care personnel: an approach that stakeholders have cautioned is not sustainable (Commonwealth of Australia, 2009, as cited in Taylor et al., 2013, p. 1104).  Consequently, philanthropic organisations have stepped in to bridge the gap, providing vital funds for the necessary services, research and preventative programs. One of the most recognized philanthropic organisations in Australia is the McGrath Foundation, established in 2005 by Australian cricketer Glen McGrath and his wife, Jane, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997. With the McGraths as its figure head, the organization formed a union between pre-existing sporting communities and those affected by breast cancer, exemplifying Taylor et al. (2013) shared belief that “a healthy population is a collective good … maintaining the health of the whole community” (p. 110). The McGrath Foundation aimed to fund the placement of breast cancer specific nurses in regional and rural areas of Australia, provide preventative programs and raise awareness of breast cancer (McGrath Foundation, Since its launch, the McGrath Foundation continues to use popular social network sites (SNS) to promote their cause and raise money through on-and-offline community events. As a direct result of these donations, and as an indicator of where “adversity can bring members of other communities together and strengthen bonds” (Rhinegold, 1992, as cited in Kendall, 2001, p. 315) the Foundation has placed 143 breast cancer specific nurses in rural and regional communities and helped 83,000 families (McGrath Foundation, ). In addition, these figures signify the value of social media for health philanthropy in Australia and the importance of trustworthiness and authenticity in the public persona of its figure head. Therefore, this paper examines the role of the public and social media identity of figure heads in philanthropic branding and argues that although philanthropic organisations are supported by thousands of people, the trustworthiness and authenticity of their figure heads can make or break them, affecting the health system as a whole.

“The value of identity of course is that it so often comes with Purpose” ~ Richard E. Grant

The identity and authenticity of the figure heads of philanthropic organisations are vital for the success of health philanthropy—after all, an organisation is just a legal entity, whereas it is the people within that organisation that are responsible for its actions. Traditionally, philanthropic organisations do not have a product to sell, rather they depend on people’s goodwill, a situation which increases the demand for “positive perceptions of the organisation” (Dyer et al., 2002; Sargeant, 2001, as cited in Holtzhausen, 2013, p. 2). In order to survive, philanthropic organisations need to “raise awareness, secure donations and solicit volunteer support … [and] build long-term, meaningful relationships with potential and existing donors” (Woolf et al., 2013, p. 95) whilst addressing the “real [health] needs and problems within the communities they serve” (Wiggill et al., 2009, as cited in Holtzhausen, 2013, p. 1).  In response to building community-based relationships and where competition for donations has increased, some philanthropic organisations have looked to charitable sporting events. This approach has more than one outcome as it generates a “mutual exchange of valued benefits between the individuals and the cause” (Higgins & Lauzon, 2003 as cited in Woolf et al., 2013, p. 95). Instead of simply asking for a donation it allows for the public to become either spectators or participants; provides a socialising opportunity; and “they might also serve as meaningful ‘brandfests’, which could lead to the development of stronger (and new) attachments to the charity” (McAlexander et al., 2002, as cited in Woolf et al., 2013, p. 96). The McGrath Foundation is one example of philanthropic organisations who have adopted this practice. As the Foundation’s figure head, Glen McGrath’s identity and achievements as an Australian fast bowler were renown world-wide—even amongst non-cricket lovers. Therefore, when his wife, Jane, was diagnosed with breast cancer—instead of shying away from the public eye—they saw a way of using Glen’s existing public profile and cricket-based community to promote their purpose: raise breast cancer awareness and the necessary funds to place breast cancer specific nurses in rural and regional areas throughout Australia. Albert Borgmann (1992) wrote, “community gathers around reality” (as cited in Barney, 2004, p. 49) and although using the game of baseball as his analogy, it is just as applicable to Glen McGrath and cricket. The Domain Sydney Pink Test has become the iconic centrepiece of the partnership between Cricket Australia and the McGrath Foundation; with the previous traditional Day 3 being changed from “Ladies Day” to “Jane McGrath Day” in honour of her battle with cancer and as a co-founder of the McGrath Foundation. A day that is shared by on-and-offline communities; either in the physical—with the turning up of nearly every spectator decked out in pink, from the banal to the bizarre; or virtually—by means of the McGrath’s website or SNS promoting the event or posting photos and comments from the day; which in turn creates discussions and interactions with participants that might not otherwise be aware of the Foundation or its cause.

“We are what we share” ~ Charles Leadbeater

Social network sites are an essential medium for contemporary philanthropy to achieve maximum growth; create brand identity; trust; and increase the reach of donor communities. Although professional fundraisers believe “media exposure of charitable causes facilitates giving and volunteering” (Yörük, 2012, p. 813), many philanthropic organisations do not have the financial resources to “invest in a variety of advertising or public relations measures” (Ingenhoff & Koelling, 2008, p. 1). And whilst some critics, for example Hubert Dreyfus (2004), argue that “the Internet is a space bereft of values and offers only meaningless communication”—others [such as the McGrath Foundation] see it in more positive terms (as cited in Delanty, 2018, p. 206). The Internet provides organisations access to free software—where emails, web sites, blogs and social network sites have replaced the need for letters, posters and expensive television or radio advertising; and have overcome the barriers of geographical boundaries. Research studies have shown the motivations for philanthropic organisations’ use of social media are: general promotion; to create dialogue and a sense of community; to reach a greater audience; faster-paced communication and to change their image (Carim & Warwick, 2013, p. 522). Image, reputation and trademarks are components of an organisation’s brand identity (Van Riel, 1995 as cited in Holtzhausen, 2013, p. 2) where identity is “manifested by an organisation’s values, beliefs, behaviour, communication and symbols unique to them” (Van Riel & Balmer, 1997; Cornelissen and Elving, 2003, as cited in Holtzhausen, 2013, p. 2). Symbolism is an important starting point for developing a brand, as a reflection of an organisations’ values plus a visual recognisable identity—distinguishing one organisation from another (Holtzhausen, 2013, p. 2).  For example, the colour pink—already popularised in 1992 by Self Magazine and Estee Lauder in the form of pink ribbons as a symbol of breast cancer awareness month (squarecowmovers, 2014)— has become the identifying symbol of the McGrath Foundation. This has led to a plethora of pink-orientated fund-raising events hosted by individuals, schools, clubs and communities—and even unwitting participants, such as pigeons, as part of the Narromine shires’ annual “Pink Pigeons Festival Events”.  Pink fund-raising events which are immediately associated with the McGrath Foundation. A foundation that through promotion and sharing on social networks sites, has become almost a house-hold name and has brought on-and-offline communities together for the common good.

“The Internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow” ~ Bill Gates

Interestingly, identity and authenticity of figure heads are not only essential to the success of philanthropic organisations but are also essential elements of what Feenberg and Bakardjieva (2004) list within the five sociological and philosophical attributes of community: identification with symbols and ritual practices; acceptance of common rules; mutual aid; mutual respect; [and] authentic communication (p. 5, as cited in Kendall, 2011, p. 310). These attributes are expressed differently depending on the social network site, facilitating the formation and maintenance of the many diverse communities and community interactions. With this in mind, philanthropic organisations tend to strategically spread their online presence across other SNS, and link them, thus creating a “situation in which multiple media systems co-exist and where media content flows fluidly across them” (Jenkins, 2006, as cited in Papacharissi, 2010, p. 305). For instance, websites tend to be more of a read-only, their primary function to visually tell an organisation’s story.  An opportunity to outline an organisation’s origins, history and traditions; to establish their purpose and intent; and where they rely on donations—the publishing of financial reports (as practiced by the McGrath Foundation) all of which creates sincerity; transparency and authenticity (Holtzhausen, 2013, p. 3). By adding the function of click-to-donate it allows “an ease and efficiency of Internet giving which could lead to ‘everyperson’ or ubiquitous, philanthropy” (Reis & Clohesy, 2001, p. 116). Additionally, websites provide the scope to display corporate partnerships, which in the case of philanthropic organisations, reinforces the notion of their being seen as trustworthy and authentic by others. Fuchs (2010) believes by linking to the most popular SNS, such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, it facilitates contact between an organisation and the public in a “more casual, less sanitised way which as a result, the organisation is accepted with much less cynicism” (p. 766). SNS provide a means of connecting and creating dialogue with different demographic communities, replacing the traditional word-of-mouth with the electronic (e-WOM) that, in an age where people tend to rely more upon other users’ opinions, increases the credibility of an organisation (Gligorijevic & Luck, 2012; Park et al., 2007, as cited in Dijkmans et al., 2014). The facility to “like” or “retweet” allows the user to be part of the sharing of “content, tastes, emotions, goods, contacts, relevance and reputation” (Fuchs, 2010, p. 765). This is a double edged sword, in that it although it increases the network of the organisation—as the subject of the original post—there is an unfortunate consequence of user-generated content, where at times, when the public look at “leading philanthropists—people selected by media outlets for their unusually kind, generous acts—their thoughts become increasingly cynical” (Crichter & Dunning, 2011, p. 1208). These philanthropists’ actions, ones intended as selfless acts, can be twisted and later interpreted as selfish acts designed to promote oneself (Crichter & Dunning, 2011, p. 1212). Cynicism has often been associated with online identity where there is the opportunity to create multiple identities “free from body unifying anchors” (Donath, 1996, para 2). Or in other words, “One can have, some claim, as many electronic personas as one has time and energy to create” (Donath, 1996, para. 2) where users can create a “face” for each interaction and develop “faces” for a variety of situational contexts (Goffman, 1959, as cited in Papacharissi, 2010, p. 307).  However, in the case of figure heads that have a pre-existing offline identity, such as Glen McGrath, their identity, authenticity and purpose have already been established—but need to be maintained. One such way is by employing what Hampton (2016) describes as “persistent and pervasive contact” (p. 103). Where “persistent” refers to “articulate an association and maintain contact” and “pervasive” refers to “awareness of the ambient nature of digital communication” (p. 103). By undertaking such contact, figure heads can maintain their trustworthiness and authenticity and protect the image of the philanthropic organisation, of which they are the “face” of.

“Together we can make a difference” ~ motto of the McGrath Foundation

The role of philanthropic organisations in the Australian health system is one of extreme importance, taking up the shortfall in government and individual contributions, raising funds for health care services, research and preventative programs.  The McGrath Foundation, born out of adversity, is only one such Australian philanthropic organisation. The McGrath’s selfless philanthropic acts; the expressing of their purpose; the transparency of their foundation and the sharing of Jane McGrath’s battle with cancer spread across various SNS, has garnered the support of communities of all demographics. However, if philanthropic organisations want to continue to make a difference, they need to be acutely aware that although there is value in SNS for disseminating information; raising funds; promoting their cause and building trustworthiness and authenticity of their figure heads; there is also occasion for cynicism and provision for a user to construct or manipulate content, and unless the integrity of their figure heads is maintained, reputations that were made can rapidly be destroyed, affecting the health system as a whole.

Reference List

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Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2018). Australia’s health in 2018: in brief (Cat. no. AUS 220).

Barney, D. (2004). The vanishing table, or community in a world that is no world. In A. Feenberg & D. Barney (Eds.), Community in the Digital Age, (pp. 31–51). Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.

Carim, L., & Warwick, C. (2013). Use of social media for corporate communications by research-funding organisations in the UK. Public relations review, 39(5), 521-525.

Critcher, C. R., & Dunning, D. (2011). No good deed goes unquestioned: Cynical reconstruals maintain belief in the power of self-interest. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 47(6), 1207-1213.

Delanty, G. (2018). Virtual community: belonging in communication. In G. Delanty (Ed), Community (3rd ed., pp. 200-225).

Dijkmans, C., Kerkhof, P., & Beukeboom, C. (2015). A stage to engage: Social media use and corporate reputation. Tourism Management, 47, 58-67.

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Fuchs, C. (2010). Social software and Web 2.0: Their sociological foundations and implications. In S. Murugesan (Ed.), Handbook of research on Web 2.0, 3.0, and X.O: Technologies, business, and social applications (pp. 764-789). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

Hampton, K. N. (2016). Persistent and Pervasive Community: New Communication Technologies and the Future of Community. American Behavioral Scientist60(1), 101–124.

Holtzhausen, L. (2013). Managing corporate identities of non-profit organisations in the social welfare sector. Jàmbá, 5(2), 1-8.

Ingenhoff, D., & Koelling, A. M. (2009). The potential of web sites as a relationship building tool for charitable fundraising NPOs. Public Relations Review, 35(1), pp. 66-73. Retrieved from

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Reis, T. K., & Clohesy, S. J. (2001). Unleashing new resources and entrepreneurship for the common good: A philanthropic renaissance. New Directions for Philanthropic Fundraising, 32, 109-144.

Squarecowmovers. (2014, October 2nd). How pink became the colour of breast cancer awareness month [Blog post].

Taylor, J., Braunack-Mayer, A., Cargo, M., Larkins, S., & Preston, R. (2013). A Role for Communities in Primary Prevention of Chronic Illness? Case Studies in Regional Australia. Qualitative Health Research23(8), 1103–1113.

Woolf, J., Heere, B., & Walker, M. (2013). Do charity sports events functions as “brandfests” in the development of brand community? Journal of Sport Management, 27(2), 95-107.

Yörük, B. (2012). The Effect of Media on Charitable Giving and Volunteering: Evidence from the “Give Five” Campaign. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 31(4), 813-836.

23 replies on “Philanthropic organisations and the health system: exploring trust & authenticity in the McGrath Foundation”

Hi Lee,

Great job! Your paper demonstrates very clearly the importance of health philanthropy in Australia, and the authenticity that the figureheads of these organisations must establish and maintain to be effective. I had no idea that the health system in Australia was so reliant on these kinds of organisations and was impressed to see the outcomes that the McGrath Foundation has achieved.

I found the description of the ways in which the various types of media are used to maintain transparency to be very interesting – it was an effective demonstration of the connection between the different platforms, which all serve different purposes. There is obviously a fine balance to be struck between communicating transparently and over-communicating, but it sounds like the McGrath Foundation has got the balance right. They obviously have a great marketing and social media team!

Did you do any research into other comparative philanthropic organisations? Is the McGrath Foundation particularly successful, or are other organisations with similarly trusted and admired figureheads doing just as well?

It is a very strong case study of how celebrity and technology can be brought together to achieve positive outcomes. Very inspiring!

Thanks for sharing,

Hi Anna,
Thank you for your encouraging comments. It was reassuring to know that I had managed to convey my argument.
I’m with you Anna, it was only through undertaking the research for this paper that I became aware of the huge impact philanthropy has on our health system and of the many other organisations and individuals that make up that additional 33% of revenue needed.
As to your question about other philanthropic organisations, I did find a list of the top 40 charities within Australia (Neilson, 2018) and the McGrath Foundation came in 9th with the RFDS number one. The thing about the McGrath Foundation is that unlike most of the other well-known charities on that list, ie, CareFlight, Oxfam, RedCross, etc are not known by their figure head but by their organization as a whole except for the Fred Hollows Foundation. Then I found Whyte (2018) where she quotes 50 top Australian philanthropic organisations – none of which are on the Neilson’s (2018) list and no mention of the McGrath Foundation. So for that reason I decided to not mention either😊.
If you get time to have a look at the list of Whyte’s I’d be interested to know if you’ve heard of any of them.
Thanks again Anna, I appreciate your feedback.

Neilson, N. (2018). 2018 most reputable charities revealed. Third Sector.

Whyte, J. (2018). Philanthropy 50: Australia’s most generous givers. The Australian Financial Review Magazine.

Hi Lee,
You’ve written an excellent paper on your topic of the use of identity to promote philanthropic organisations and the McGrath Foundation serves as the perfect case study for how to do it well.

I agree with your arguments that rebut the statement by Hubert Dreyfus (2004) that “the Internet is a space bereft of values and offers only meaningless communication.” The online communication between cancer sufferers, their families, cricket supporters, admirers of Jane and Glen McGrath and Foundation members could hardly be termed as ‘meaningless’ – these are communities connected in the fight against breast cancer and supporting each other where time and distance would otherwise make that impossible. I also agree that the reach afforded by social media marketing is much more cost effective than the old vehicles for advertising/marketing that cost charities a large percentage of their donations.

Perhaps the only danger of entrusting a figurehead with the identity of your philanthropic organisation is the possibility that your figurehead will fall short in the reputation stakes – human beings are rarely perfect and the media can be quick to pounce when a ‘figurehead’ makes a mistake.

Great job on your paper. Charities are often given a bad rap today (the Australian bushfire fundraisers are a prime example) so it is nice to read a ‘good news’ story in relation to philanthropic efforts.

Hi Leanne,

Thank you for your comments – I wish you were marking my paper as you were very generous and kind with your feedback😊.

Yes, I have to say I am rather wary of giving donations to organisations, especially when you hear of money not being distributed to where it was intended (as you mentioned with the bushfires) but the Flying Doctor, Guide Dogs and the McGrath Foundation are ones that I have no mis-givings about. Interesting to find all three of them were in then top 10 (in fact the first two were first and third) in one of the lists (Neilson, 2018) I found on the Internet. But like I said to Anna they weren’t mentioned in the next one I found so decided not worth putting in my paper if I can’t verify the accuracy.

Thank you again Leanne,

Hello Leone! Good to run into you again.
I was looking forward to your paper and how you ended up writing. Perfect abstract by the way! It’s very to the point and describes the paper well.
I liked the way you directly addressed how relevant your topic is to modern society today. It was well written and really grabs the reader. Love the statistics too!
I enjoyed how you discussed how McGrath is a well established figure, and used his fame to create such a popular charity.
It would have been nice to see specific case studies of people in the organisation using SNS, but the paper was still done well!
What do you think the McGraths could be doing more of on social media to further establish their organisation?

Hi Anne-Marie,

Nice to hear from you too. Funny that I have your paper earmarked as one of the three that I intend to read tonight😊.

Thank you for your feedback, it was very rewarding to read and pleasing to know that I managed to get my message across.

Your suggestion of taking specific case studies of people’s use of SNS with the organisation is a good one and to be honest not one I had thought of. I would imagine there would be quite a team at work behind the scenes orchestrating all of that. Not sure how I would have found out that info either.

As to other means of social media for furthering their cause, I am wondering, after reading Kelly’s paper on TikTok, whether that might be something they could venture into and have videos of maybe some of their nurses doing rap dancing or whatever alongside a well known music artist? Or something along those lines. Might appeal to teenagers and get them involved in breast cancer awareness at an early age? Not sure if the nurses would be so enthused though 😊.

Thanks again Anne-Marie

Hi Lee,

I really enjoyed reading your paper. I agree with you in that it is really important for charity organisations to get their message out to a wide public yet in a consistent way that’s authentic to the group’s identity. I was wondering if you had an example where a charity had not done so well at executing this identity performance?

Or if there was an individual that didn’t have a public persona before starting the charity and how this made it more difficult to gain visibility and/or credibility in this sector?

In response to your earlier message, I also found a link to how TikTok embeds charity donations into its app. I looked on TikTok to see how the stickers work and it’s very simple to access, it may be something that becomes popular.

see website:

For TikTok example see, @goldenretrieverlife or search #onecommunity #doubleyourimpact

Thanks for sharing

Hi Kelly,

Thank you for your kind and thoughtful comments on my paper. Glad you enjoyed reading it.

Very interesting the link you put up on TikTok’s donation sticker innovation and how relevant considering that it seemed particularly directed towards health care organisations and health care workers! Something I was not aware of beforehand. Could have been a good one to have put in my paper.

I must admit I didn’t look specifically at philanthropic organisations starting up without a publicly-known figure head but would be a good one to explore. However, I did find a few articles relating to charitable organisations, affected by the behaviour of some of their representatives/workers/employees resulting in a downturn in donations due to a lack of confidence (and disgust I would imagine) such as, Oxfam and the Catholic Church:

Interesting point is that in the above article, after highlighting the decline in donations and lack of trust in religious charities followed by aid and development agencies, it states that 76% of people trust Cancer-based charities. Maybe I should have included something along those lines? It’s funny how the feedback from yourself, Anna, Leanne and AnneMarie, has made me realise what else I could have made mention of.

Thanks Kelly, I appreciated you reading my paper and your feedback,

Hi Leone,
Well done on your paper. I thought it was very well-written and structured. I also liked the way you placed quotes throughout the narrative which i thought was a unique approach to how you wanted to tell your story.
Your piece could even apply to what’s happened recently with the WHO while not quite a philanthropic organisation, their attempts to cover up a growing political, economical and health crisis caused the entire world to lose faith in such an organisation, which had until then, been a trusted institution. I note your implication of context collapse in relation to cynicsm, which is something ive been learning about more and more as I read some of the papers in this stream.
Overall, I enjoyed this paper and found the insights and perspectives offered of interest.

Hi Bruno,

Thank you for your encouraging comments on my paper. Interesting that you mention you’ve been learning more about how cynicism has been viewed through other perspectives – it was a thought that kept popping up in my head as I read different papers on the other streams, for instance Emele’s paper regarding how some Indigenous peoples regard use of SM as a form of narcissism, Tracey’s on Ebay and Indre’s on vegans, spring to mind. Looking through what other titles are out there waiting to be read I reckon there could be a few more to add to that list.

As you pointed out other organisations can loose the trust of the public as Leanne’s paper highlights the inefficiencies of WHO and why it has lost credibility – a bit like Oxfam and the Catholic Church.

Thanks for reading my paper Bruno.

Hi Lee,
Your paper is well written and researched and a joy to read! From start to finish, you have guided the reader through your chosen topic very impressively. Your case study is an excellent example; full of evidence and statistics which you have demonstrated a good grasp of. Well done!
You have aptly described how the good brand name of the charity’s head has acted as a magnet that attracts and ultimately binds together communities for a very worthy health cause. The need to connect, communicate and belong together sees the community growing ever stronger. SNSs create that opportunity for conveying the true values of the head, charity and community as well as for the maintenance of the brand name.
You rightly conclude that, there was need for the McGrath Foundation, and indeed other such organisations, to stay keenly aware of the fact that reputations and brand names take time to build but are easily tarnished. Fortunately, SNSs can be used as an important tool to successfully disseminate information about the good work being undertaken in the community, their goals and achievements.
Did you find that members of the community trusted and identified with the authenticity of the head or the charity? Or, do you think there might also be an element of the “halo effect” simply because Glen was such a star cricketer and remains a legend of the game?

Kind regards,


P.S. If you have not yet read this paper, please join the debate @Craig, @Emily, @Gerard, @Vanessa, @Kylie.

Hi Bayayi,

Thank you for your kind comments on my paper – I could have tweaked that analysis of yours and used it for my abstract! 😊

With regards to your question: Did you find that members of the community trusted and identified with the authenticity of the head or the charity? Or, do you think there might also be an element of the “halo effect” simply because Glen was such a star cricketer and remains a legend of the game?

I actually think (but have no real evidence to back it up) that a combination of all three. The fact that Glen McGrath was a bit of a legend in himself and because breast cancer affects so many people (as the statistics show) and where, unfortunately, many of us know of someone who has been diagnosed so that the Foundation’s cause itself would be relevant (as opposed to say some rare disease) and also as it is such an encompassing charity that encourages and helps in the organising of communal ‘pink’ orientated fundraisers which brings communities together under one banner.

When I was looking up other charities to see where they had figure heads – some of whom actually raise/contribute far more money and yet I was not aware of any of them other than Fred Hollows. Ones that are household names, eg Red Cross, RSPCA, Oxfam don’t have ‘figure heads’ but CEO’s.

Glad you enjoyed reading it Bayayi. With the PS- sorry but I’m not sure what you mean by it – as in where am I to go to in order to join the debate? I tried putting in Twitter but without success.

Hi Lee,

Thanks for the good answers – I agree.😊

With the P.S. I was trying to use “mentions” feature to bring in those students I have named with the @ sign to join the debate on your paper. It is supposed to work in WordPress but I failed. Not sure why. I have since written an email to Mike Kent to find out how to do it correctly.



Hi Bayayi,
That was very kind of you to try and stimulate more conversations on my paper. It also made me laugh that it hadn’t worked! Nice to know I’m not the only one whose good intentions sometimes fall flat when it comes to creating interactions online. It will be interesting to see what Mike comes back with.

One thing that has always struck me with the recognition that a celebrity gets when they die is what about all the other people who have died on that same day? Such as when Princess Di died and the public out-pouring of grief, whilst I understood it, I remember thinking how I would be so and if my mum had died on that day I would feel like screaming “What about my mum?” but such is nature of fame. It is good though that a celebrity can exploit that fame and bring much more awareness to a cause.

Thanks Bayayi,

Ooops Sorry Bayayi,
Missed out a word or two there! Should have read (after Princess Di) how I would have been so mad if my mum had died (not “so and”) 😊

Hello again Lee,
I can’t imagine the breast cancer landscape without the McGrath Foundation. The success of their organisation is incredible and it transcends the ethos that Jane McGrath originally gave it. In the centre of our little town the community painted the town bridge pink and it looks fantastic! We intend to give it a new coat every year now. I can’t imagine the reaction if the colour was not so synonymous with breast cancer research!
I must say I really liked the quotes as paragraph breaks – something I am going to consider in future.
Like Anna mentioned the real eye-opener was how dependent health research is on philanthropy – it certainly makes me want to donate more often to those causes close to me. I also found it interesting to consider your remarks regarding the affordances social media has given these charities to promote themselves. I know in pre internet days it was these advertising costs that kept many organisations on their knees.
Finally the point Leanne made about reputation was exactly what was crossing my mind as I read your paper. If Glen McGrath had a dramatic personal fall from grace what would that mean for the foundation? Thankfully I think that they probably could survive such a disgrace these days which is a credit to their promotional strengths.
All the best

Hi Katherine,

Thank you for reading my paper and your kind comments. I must admit it would have been good to have been able to put a paragraph, with a few examples of people’s fall from grace and whether they survived. However it seems to be a curious consequence that popular sports people seem to be be forgiven quite readily.

For instance as shown by the following articles about Glen McGrath’s “disgraceful conduct”, Shane Warne smoking when he was advertising for a quit smoking company and generally being a lout, or Wayne Carey playing up with another team mate’s wife, to name but a few, all seem to be shrugged off when you’ve a high profile and play the most popular sport in Australia. So yes, as you said, the McGrath Foundation would probably survive it because of who he is and because of how integrated into the community the pink-orientated fundraisers are.

Love the thought of a pink bridge! You’ll have to upload some photos to the McGrath’s Instagram when you next paint it! Do you have stalls and things or sausage sizzle at the same time? How was it done as a fundraiser?

Thanks again Katherine,

Hi Lee

Well done on a great paper! I am glad I managed to get around to reading it!

When I started reading, it got me thinking about ways that philanthropic organisations can campaign on social media and I also was going to mention the use of TikTok, when I noticed in the comments how others have also suggested this! It definitely could make for some rather interesting ways to campaign, with short clips and tags or to have a challenge of some sort for people to do, like a crazy dance or an egg & spoon race, which they tag with breast cancer support messages (and as Kelly mentioned adding donation stickers) and get people’s attention to donate to the organisation. I’m sure that it would appeal to all generations and you’d see everyone get on board, including their pets!

I think many organisations must be struggling at the moment with the COVID-19 pandemic, as a lot of their fundraising events would have had to be postponed. For instance the RSPCA has the Million Paws Walk which I heard is cancelled and I believe the Cancer Council has the Biggest Morning Tea or Daffodil Day around this time too? People would still be able to donate online, but sadly they would not be able to have fundraising events at this stage. I hope all this passes soon for us all and so they too can rebuild quickly!


Hi Indre,

Thank you for reading my paper and glad you enjoyed it.

Yes I have to say I have learned quite a bit about TikTok and the ways it can/could be incorporated for the betterment. Your suggestions are much more positive ones than the TikTok craze you mentioned on someone else’s paper where they are filming “epileptic seizures”. I hope that they might be raising money/awareness in some perverse way otherwise that it pretty disgusting!

Whilst I was doing my research for this paper, seeing all the previous or up-and-coming and annual fundraising events made me wonder too how much potential revenue they must be loosing with all the inevitable cancellations. Just another instance of the impact of Covid19. Does your town normally do any pink-fundraising?

Thanks Indre, hope your dog is OK now 😊

Hi Lee,
I really enjoyed learning more about your topic and I think you came up with a really great idea for this conference. I hadn’t expected a topic like this so thanks for surprising me!
I liked the quote you mentioned by Richard E. Grant, “The value of identity of course is that it so often comes with Purpose.” I think this quote was very fitting for your paper and helps to connect the reader to the idea of identity and purpose.
Your paper connects identity to philanthropic organisations very well and shows the ways in which social media sites can be useful to such an organisation and how that organisation will be impacted without a well-known identity that has a positive impression on others and how this identity could easily be destroyed.
Your paper was well-thought out, argued and really well-presented! Such an interesting read!

Hi Sarah,

Thank you for your reply and your kind words. I’m glad you enjoyed my paper. Although it differed from yours there was that thread of thought as far as stereo-type or expectations of a person’s actions/representations. Yours were people that were establishing them and mine was once established needed to be maintained.

Personally I would hate to be under the public eye, always having to perform in a certain way and this is probably the difficulty for a person who represents a philanthropic organisation – that if they fall from grace how would it impact on the organisation. In the McGrath Foundation case though I feel, as Katherine said, that the organisation and its cause has become bigger than Glen McGrath and so would most likely survive.

Thanks Sarah,

Hi Leone,

I thought your paper was very interesting and I very much enjoyed reading about the topic. It’s an important topic to raise awareness on and well done on an engaging choice. A great use of examples with were well thought of when researching. The quotes you included in your paper were important to the way you wanted to explain your view. A very insightful paper and great work.


Hi Kaye,

Not sure if you will get to read this seeing as the conference has officially ended but just in case, wanted to thank you for reading my paper and your kind words of encouragement.

Glad you enjoyed it and hope you enjoyed the conference. I read many (but unfortunately could not get to them all) interesting papers with a plenitude of different approaches to the ever-evolving Social Media uses and abuses.

Regards Lee

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