Pricing the Red Cross
August 10, 2016

Jonathan Coe, Senior Manager


I have been volunteering for the Red Cross Roadhouse at the Griffin Centre in Canberra since 2012.

Roadhouse Services provides a place where vulnerable people can access meals and receive additional support with information and assistance that may affect positive change in their lives.

The service aims to support people who experience social isolation and provide a safe, inclusive environment in which to enjoy a nutritious hot meal, fresh salad vegetables and hot beverages.

When Synergy started the Charity and Community Group in early 2015, I approached the Red Cross to see if Synergy could support them through pro bono work on various projects.

The whole not-for-profit sector is currently undergoing significant change in the way it is funded and how organisations can deliver some of their services.

The global economic downturn has resulted in a substantial increase in demand for community services, contributing to resourcing pressures for the non-for-profit sector.

At the same time, many not-for-profit organisations, including the Red Cross, face budget constraints from lower returns on investment funds, tightening corporate budgets and less funding from philanthropic trusts and foundations, major donors and community giving.

Consequently, we assisted Red Cross with the design and analysis of their user surveys for Meals on Wheels clients, and we are currently developing a pilot costing of their services and putting together some illustrative pricing models for discussion.

We developed a pilot model for Meals on Wheels which involved building a service catalogue and activity dictionary, surveying staff and understanding and analysing the nature of their costs so we can determine what drives them.

By applying messaging and change management, all staff who were involved in these exercises understood the purpose.

Now we are using that cost information to provide some illustrative pricing approaches, before expanding the costing and pricing across all of Red Cross’s social connectedness services in the ACT.

Synergy is proud to continue supporting the Red Cross by providing our services.


The Red Cross which prepares meals for the people of Canberra in need at the Griffith Centre in Civic. From left, volunteers, Leanne Spiteri, Jonathan Coe, Raymond Spiteri and liaison worker Tracey Crowther prepare the food. Photo: Melissa Adams, Canberra Times.