Volunteer Spotlight: Dave Bathur

Dave Bathur from Simpatico is our pro-bono brand expert and digital strategist.

Dave has been a big help to us over the past two years during our rebrand from The Australian Foundation for the Peoples of Asia and the Pacific (AFAP) to Action on Poverty (AOP). However he’s been a supporter for much longer than that. Dave shares his journey with us in his own words.

Dave’s story

I first wandered up the dusty staircases of old the AFAP offices back in 2003 as a Youth Ambassador volunteer for the Pacific partner network – Foundation for the Peoples of the South Pacific (FSPI). In Fiji I worked as FSPI’s communication manager and helped manage the Civil Society Outreach program. The latter was an interesting program that used conflict-resolving media processes for post-coup reconciliation workshops. Then followed that up with another year at AFAP in Australia.

After working with AOP, I left to pursue a deeper understanding of the (then still nascent) world of digital media. I got lucky, and spent a decade working on some genuinely innovative campaigns, just as digital and social media was crashing into the foreground. I went back to uni, picked up a degree in psychology and I’m currently doing postgrad research on how digital video can help establish trust by predicting rapport.

I’ve run my own consultancy since 2010, alongside my two partners. Simpatico specialises in ‘innovative communications for change’ – which means I do a lot of digital media training, behaviour change projects, and branding work.

My favourite work is still the international development sector, which I’m fortunate to do with organisations like Australian Volunteers for International Development (AVID), United Nations Global Compact (GCNA). I now provide pro-bono communications advice and strategy to Action on Poverty. Most recently I’ve been involved with AOP’s rebranding process.

Branding is a tricky process – you have to pack so much meaning and differentiating significance into so few words and shapes… but it is the basis of your story and everything you communicate. It’s important to get right.

At Action on Poverty, I’ve been a guiding hand – facilitating discussions and workshops, and then coming back with first draft concepts, which evolved into terrific results. I’ve worked with a number of charities and development groups over the years and in my view, none have the self-effacing effectiveness that Action on Poverty has.

The way AOP operates is the way development should be done. Without self-aggrandisement or identity agendas – just pragmatic expertise, community focus, and a genuine recognition for the value of partnerships. In a world of increasing fakery, this authenticity is a relief.

Read more about volunteering with Action on Poverty

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