Andrea Heffernan

The Funding Network

Andrea Heffernan is the Victorian State Director for The Funding Network (TFN) and Melbourne Nous House member. We caught up and learnt about her professional journey, her work at TFN and her tips for other non-for-profits considering joining a co-working community.

Tell us more about you and your professional journey.

“I’ve been in the non-for-profit sector for 17 years. When I started working, I worked in advertising. I moved to Tasmania and worked at the NFP KidSafe, but when I came back to Melbourne and my work in advertising, it didn’t stack up. I learnt that I preferred the non-for-profit sector.

You don’t go into the non-for-profit sector for the money, however I’ve had a much more rewarding 13 years. There’s not a day that I don’t want to go to work.”

That’s amazing to hear. Now you’re the Victorian State Director at The Funding Network. Can you tell us more about TFN?

“The Funding Network started off as a live crowdfunding event in the UK for small grassroots non-for-profits that lacked resources, and didn’t have a platform to raise funds and awareness of what they were doing.

This event involved screening the candidates that had applied for funding and eventually selecting three small grassroots charities to present at the event. We’d bring together approximately 150 corporate contacts, philanthropists and guests. At these events, people would pledge donations live, and each charity generally raised between $15,000 – $20,000.

That’s how The Funding Network Started. Today, The Funding Network works with grassroots non-for-profits and early-stage social enterprises that have the potential to create positive change for individuals, communities and society over the long term.

As well as running these live crowdfunding events, we also support non-profits post event, sell pitch coaching workshops and more.”

Would you mind telling us about your most recent event?

“The last event was hosted by Clayton UTZ in October. We selected three non-for-profits to present, including:

St Kilda Gatehouse –“ St Kilda Gatehouse is a not for profit Christian organisation which works alongside those involved in street based sex work or affected by commercial sexual exploitation as a result of hardship”
Eat Up – “With the generous help and lunch-making skills of a dedicated army of hospitality students and volunteers, we make and deliver thousands of lunches a month to schools in metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria. In fact, since 2013, we’ve delivered over 80,000 lunches.”
Satellite Foundation – “Satellite Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation that focuses exclusively on supporting children, young people, and families where a parent has a mental illness, and is dedicated to providing them with specialised programs and support. “
On that evening, $88,000 was raised that evening, with approximately $30,000 each going to each organization. It was a great result.”

What do you enjoy most about being at Nous House?

“I like coming in to Nous House, it’s a good mix from being able to work from home. It’s also great being able to network. I like meeting people like Shaun (from E-mail Experts) and seeing the exciting things that they’re up to.

Being based in the city is good for meetings and appointments. I like being able to work in the office and work from home – I work from home on Friday. In addition, having access to meeting rooms is a plus, there are great facilities, and different break out spaces to work from when you get bored of your usual spot.

In addition, I love the location, the fact it is new and the good rates offered!”

Do you have any tips for other not-for-profits looking to join co-working communities?

“Smaller non-for-profits would really benefit from co-working, as they would be able to tap into people with other skills, such as marketing. They would also have people around them to bounce ideas with and get support that they wouldn’t otherwise get whilst sitting at home.”