At the end of each financial year the Online Hate Prevention Institute produces an annual report which includes a summary of our activities and impact, how each of our activities aligns with our charitable objectives, and audited financial accounts. These reports are lodged with the Federal Government’s Harm Prevention Register (part of the Department of Social Service) as well as the Australian Charities and Not for Profit Commission (ACNC). The full 2018 report, as well as our past reports, can be accessed through the ACNC website.
The briefing provides a summary and highlights from the Annual Report as well as some additional information extracts from past annual reports to help with comparisons.
As our supporters know, a few years ago we needed to drastically reduce the scope of our operations. This was due to our seed funding from major Australian donors ending, while other sources (such as government funding) were very limited.
We face a double challenge with raising money to support our work. First as a charity working in new area, and one linked to cutting edge technology, we find foundations and governments are more reluctant to support us. Secondly, as a charity working to combat hate again many different parts of the community, we tend to be excluded from many grants as government in particular prefers to directly fund each impacted communities. Those communities in turn struggle for funding, so seeking to raise funding from them to support our work is challenging.
Our total expenditure for each year is shown in the table below and our output and impact should be read in light of the size of our operational capacity during that year.
We thank the small group of regular donors whose monthly donations help to keep us afloat. Most donate $10 or $20 a month and this makes a huge difference to us. To put this in perspective, a donation of just $23 a month would amounted to donating 1% of our total expenditure for the year. If you would like to join our regular donors, or would like to make a one off donation to support our work in 2019, please visit our donations page. Donations may be made by anyone and are tax deductible for Australian tax-payers.
Publications & online engagement
During the year we contributed to a new book “Cyber racism and community resilience: strategies for combating online race hate“, published a journal paper on “Building SMARTER communities of resistance and solidarity“, and conference paper on “Solving antisemitic hate speech in social media through a global approach to local action“.
We also published one major OHPI report on the “Car Attack in Flinders Street Melbourne” and 10 briefings. As the report was published int he form of an extended briefing we have included in the briefing statistics below.
The drop in the number of briefings combined with a lack of regular social media posts to keep our audience engaged contributed to the drop in shares / reactions / comments on Facebook. This reduction is a result of our reduced capacity due to the drop in our funding. 2016 reflected a time when OHPI had a team of 5 staff, 2017 reflects the efforts of our CEO while working for the organisation almost full time in an unpaid capacity, and 2018 reflects what could be done by our CEO in a voluntary capacity around the commitments of other work.
Our message still reached a large audience, including through content published in the media. Our reach suffered less of a decline than our engagement, largely due to paid promotion of content. A post linking to an article by our CEO in The Conversation, for example, received 26,800 paid views and 1,800 organic views.
Our website was viewed by 14,574 people during the financial year, a 36.1% decrease from the previous financial year. This is a result of the reduced volume of new content. Organic search contributes around 40% of our traffic. Social media is up to 27% (from 21% last year), and direct traffic is down to 28% (from 32% last year). This is likely a result of a lack of newsletters during the year.
The main lesson from the drop in our reach, impact and website traffic is that given the resources we know how to make a significant impact. Our impact is still high compared to many other organisations, even at a fraction of what it was when we were at our peak.
We had 12 media appearances, half as many as the previous year, but more than was expected given the lower level of activity. Coverage included ABC News, SBS News, The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Conversation, Shepparton News, The Australian Jewish News and J-Wire.
Face to Face Engagement
We gave guest lectures for Victoria Police, the Jewish Holocaust Centre, Monash University, La Trobe University, the Autonomous University of Barcelona and U3A. We presented at conferences including the Australian Alliance of Holocaust Organisations Conference (Melbourne), the 2nd National Advancing Community Cohesion Conference (Sydney), Stranger in a Strange Land: Conference (Sydney), An End to Anti-Semitism! (Vienna), Crime Prevention and Communities conference (Melbourne), and the Asia Pacific launch of the UN’s GIFCT & Tech Against Terrorism (Sydney). We also attended two meetings of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance as part of the Australian Government’s delegation.
We have two major projects which are currently underway and which were setup during the past year.
One of these is part of Australia’s engagement with the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance and sees our Fight Against Hate software being used with a new schema for reporting antisemitism and Holocaust denial (based on IHRA’s two working definitions). The project will run in Australia, Italy and Luxembourg.
The second project is a partnership with Deakin University and will look at how community groups (from a range of communities) can use Fight Against Hate to tackle online hate impacting their community.
During the year we made significance advanced on the new version of our Fight Against Hate monitoring tool as well as the related CSI-CHAT analysis tool. Two teams of final year Monash University students worked with us on CSI-CHAT and one team, as well as some graduates working as casual staff for OHPI, worked on Fight Against Hate during the year.
Fight Against Hate has been under development since 2011 and enables the reporting of online hate on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. The new version allows a gateway (an App / widget) for reporting online hate to be embedded in the websites of partner organisations. The gateway is fully configurable so it can be used for the reporting of different types of hate on different partner’s websites. The interface can be presented in different languages allowing the system to operate internationally. Partners with a gateway can see graphs with a breakdown summarizing the relatively number of items in each category they are monitoring. Users can see a list of their past reports. Partners will soon be able to see a list of items reported via their gateway from within Fight Against Hate.
Moving forward to 2019…
Having stabilized our activities in 2018, we expect 2019 to be a period of growth. We have appointed a project officer and a communications officer. Earlier today at our AGM we thanked Junaid Cheema for his service on the Board over the last 2 years as he stepped down, and welcomed Jo Silver, a founding director of OHPI, back onto the Board. We also elected three new Directors to the Board, David Wishart, Nasya Bahfen and Mark Civitella, who bring with them a wealth of expertise.
Already the first half of the 2019 has seen a dramatic increase in activity from last year. So far we’re published nine briefings and receive media coverage nine times including from The Sydney Morning Herald, Ten Daily, the Australian Jewish News, Sputnik News and the Illinois Times. We attended the Stronger Cities Network Global Summit (Melbourne) and the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Technology and Human Rights conference (Sydney). Our CEO delivered the 2018 Yitzhak Rabin Memorial Lecture (Adelaide) on the topic “Building peace by fighting online hate” and presented on our project combating antisemitism and Holocaust denial at a meeting of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance in Italy.
On the financial side things are looking up as well. Thanks to a generous multi-year donation, our overheads will be covered for the next three years. This allows us to use donations and grants to push forward with new projects and efforts to rebuilt our staffing levels and impact. Our world class software will give us the edge in applying for grants at this time when online hate is increasingly in the mind of grant makers and donors. By licensing the software to others we hope to empower more groups to tackle the problem, and raise additional income to support both our core work and further improvements to our monitoring and analysis software.