Mark Townend Interview – Saving Animals With Innovative Technology

Arete Podcast with Richard Triggs

Feb 12
Mark Townend Interview – Saving Animals With Innovative Technology

How do you turn an organisation with a tarnished reputation into a thriving charity? By working towards a shared mission with the right staff and innovative technology.

In this episode, I chat to Mark Townend who has been CEO of RSPCA in Queensland for 19 years. He has local government, commercial and not-for-profit experience and likes to think outside the box to find creative solutions.

RSPCA QLD deals with some 56,000 animals a year – more than anyone else in the Southern Hemisphere – and has an 88% save rate with a $51m budget. Its 340 staff, 5,300 volunteers and 24 inspectors deal with 18,000 cruelty complaints a year

As well as significantly strengthening RSPCA QLD’s future health, Mark has several Board responsibilities with Bio Security, Animal Welfare, St Paul de Chartres and Regional Development Australia (RDA), a government initiative.

He’s also the director of Tap Tins, a fully self-serve contactless payment system for donating to charity, and Pet Cloud, an Airbnb-type setup for animals.

In this episode:

  • RSPA stats – 56,000 animals
  • How RSPCA Queensland has the highest save rates
  • Mark’s background – born in Sydney, early jobs, moving to Queensland and children
  • Running for local government elections in South East QLD and holding a place for 8 years
  • Moving on from politics and working on his commercial business
  • Mark’s opinion of Logan City government
  • An offer to buy Mark’s company and partnering with an American businessman
  • The struggle for small and medium businesses and state governments
  • Why federal and state governments don’t support small and medium businesses
  • Moving into the RSPCA
  • Mark’s enterprise software initiative to electronically coordinate animals’ and peoples’ records
  • Key milestones – first site to have animals online, first to introduce animals into pet shops
  • Trial adoptions of animals and working with people to find the right pet
  • Creating a positive RSPCA presence in Queensland
  • From $5m to $50m turnover
  • New innovations to help generate $51m for RSPCA Queensland
  • Why Mark steers RSPCA QLD away from face-to-face fundraising
  • What Mark does to help him continue to generate ideas
  • RSPCA’s latest innovation – Pale Tale Beer
  • “I hate the word not-for-profit, it should be profit-for-purpose because if I got out of bed not to make profit every day, we wouldn’t be in business.” - Mark Townend RSPCA #Business #Charity #AretePodcast

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