RECENTLY, the Star Observer held our Annual General Meeting, where we reported on our performance for the financial year that ended June 2015 (FY2015).

To put it bluntly, the Star Observer weathered a very difficult year and emerged stronger. It might perhaps come as a surprise, but I am happy to report that our organisation achieved a $51k profit for the financial year, the first profit for many years.

[showads ad=MREC] We are also currently on track to produce a profit for the current financial year as well, while continuing to expand our support for new community organisations and initiatives.

For those of you who don’t realise, the Star Observer is a not-for-profit social enterprise, owned by hundreds of LGBTI community shareholders. Our board is made up of unpaid volunteers, and our financial results are independently audited every year. Proceeds of the business are re-invested in our journalism and LGBTI community initiatives.

Now, I am not going to suggest to you that these results were easily achieved.

In fact we faced dire circumstances posed by two separate legal actions against the organisation in FY2015. It is important for everyone to realise that these threats created a very serious financial burden on the organisation, and stretched our staff and resources to the limit. These threats were reported publicly at the time. I do not intend to comment further on these legal actions.

To ensure the survival of the Star Observer and our important community work, we undertook a fundraising campaign using the online Pozible platform. The fundraising campaign occurred for 3 weeks in August 2014, and raised $104k before fees and costs.

The effort put into the fundraising was extremely significant, and paid off in a fantastic result. We achieved this fundraising result with support from every major LGBTI organisation across Australia. It was truly humbling.

I would like to thank again everyone who contributed time, money, and energy into ensuring the survival of the Star Observer. Key individuals in the effort included our CEO Daniel Bone, our Editor Elias Jahshan, and myself.

FY 2015 also saw the Star Observer monthly magazine grow strongly, and cement its role in the market as a coffee table style lifestyle magazine with long life content. We also grew our digital magazine formats and news content via our website and social media channels.

Bucking conventional wisdom, we also cautiously launched the first issue of LUXE Magazine lift-out in December 2014, specifically targeting our most affluent readers in a high gloss printed lifestyle magazine format. LUXE has been extremely well received by our readers and advertisers, with support from a wide range of prestige and upmarket product brands.

I am optimistic, and believe that the Star Observer is now better able to adapt to change, and is on a path towards a more secure financial future. I am not going to pretend that our fundraising didn’t influence our FY2015 profit. But the simple fact is that we are currently on track for a profit in the current financial year as well.

Enormous changes have been made to our organisation, and these results are thanks to the hard work of the Star Observer team, volunteers, and the board.

I would also like to thank all of our readers. We could not have achieved these results without your support.

I strongly encourage anybody who would like to contribute to the future of the Star Observer through sponsorships, donations, or as a volunteer, to contact me at [email protected] .

Sebastian Rice

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