Sarah Wickham talks about her career in philanthropy

Swinburne alumni Sarah Wickham

Sarah Wickham completed the Masters of Philanthropy and Investment (now Social Impact) in 2015. Less than a year after finishing, Sarah landed her dream job as Philanthropy Manager at Equity Trustees and started her own social enterprise, co-founding Good Mob.

"I was very keen to learn more about not-for-profits and philanthropy, and found out about the Masters of Philanthropy and Social Impact at Swinburne.

I met some other alumni who spoke very highly about the course. It's the only formalised study of philanthropy in Australia. It is unique and impressive and it's great to see a university dedicated to the greater good.

"I would like to grow the giving culture in Australia so more people can give back."

The most memorable moment during my studies was meeting my now really good friend and Good Mob co-founder, Bryony Green. As you can probably imagine, I studied with a lot of people who were older than me. To meet a really bright and energetic young woman in my first class, who was as passionate about giving as I was, really sparked a lot in me.

We became fast friends and are now business partners. We have designed an Australian-first online platform to facilitate collective or group giving. Individuals come together on a regular basis and pool money for bigger impact.

I would like to grow the giving culture in Australia so more people can give back at the level they are able to.

I also absolutely love my day job. It’s incredible working with philanthropists every day to identify their passions and help them give to what is important to them.

The beauty of the masters is it is a bit smaller so you really get to know the students and staff. I only have really positive things to say about my lecturers. They let me explore what I was really interested in.

I’m now president of Swinburne Philanthropy Alumni, a completely student-led philanthropic foundation that sits within the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation.

Ten years ago a creative and innovative group established this philanthropic fund. They weren’t content to just learn the theory – they wanted to have an impact while they were students through their own giving vehicle.

We have raised over $100,000 and annually give money to not-for-profits in Australia. Our niche is to upskill their staff through professional development.

Swinburne Philanthropic Alumni provides the perfect opportunity for current students to practically apply their skills and develop their understanding of governance. If you come without experience in the sector, you can get involved in our committee and experience running a philanthropic fund.

Increasingly I’ve become fascinated by innovation. Swinburne has really helped me unlock my interest in this. In Australia, if we are going to make a difference to systemic social issues, we need to look at new ways to be innovative and get to where we need to be quicker.

There is a wealth of knowledge at Swinburne and people are genuinely willing to share."