Buddy Bags Program Manager

Care · Melbourne, Victoria
Department Care
Employment Type Full-Time

Position Description



Position title:               Buddy Bags Program Manager


Reports to:                   Head of Children and Families


Job type:                      Permanent, full time


Date:                            January 2021



About the Alannah & Madeline Foundation

The Alannah & Madeline Foundation (the Foundation) was set up in memory of Alannah and Madeline Mikac, aged six and three, who were tragically killed with their mother and 32 others at Port Arthur, Tasmania, on 28 April 1996. In memory of his daughters, Walter Mikac AM and a small group of volunteers set up the Foundation with the belief that all children should have a safe and happy childhood without being subjected to violence. The then Prime Minister launched the Foundation on 30 April 1997. 

The Foundation:

  • identifies issues that adversely affect the wellbeing of children; we work to help them recover and safeguard them from bullying, violence and harm

  • uses trauma-informed care to support children to recover from violence and harm

  • works across the spectrum of prevention and care to deliver state-of-the-art, evidence-based programs and products

  • works with the best minds to identify and reduce significant threats to children’s safety through innovation and partnerships

  • speaks out on the need for systemic change to build a supportive and safe society through advocacy, partnership and the building of strong alliances with child-centred organisations.

We are committed to child safety and our Child Safe Policy outlines our safe practices for children. 

The Foundation’s values are caring, friendliness, respect, responsibility, valuing difference and including others.

Position in Context


Reporting to the Head of Children and Families, the Buddy Bags Program Manager is responsible for the delivery of the Buddy Bags program, stakeholder engagement, and the supervision and support of the volunteers required to deliver the program. The Buddy Bags program provides bags to refuges, emergency accommodation services, and emergency foster care agencies across Australia. Often the children arrive with nothing more than the clothes they are wearing. Many will have experienced or witnessed violence and suddenly find themselves separated from parents or siblings. They are scared, alone and in need of comfort. A Buddy Bag offers more than just material aid, it is one of the vital first steps to recovery. The Buddy Bags program works collaboratively with corporate sponsors and relevant agencies to ensure they have the right supply of bags for these children.


Whilst the organisation supports flexible working, due to the oversight required over the Buddy Bags program’s full production life cycle and of volunteers, a significant portion of time will need to be spent at Level 1, 256 Clarendon Street, South Melbourne (or wherever our goods are warehoused).


Freedom to Act

  • The Buddy Bags Program Manager works according to the policies and procedures of the Alannah & Madeline Foundation.
  • The Buddy Bags Program Manager will execute the strategy, expansion and implementation of the program and associated initiatives as part of the overall organisational strategy, as agreed with the Head of Children and Families.


Major Job Responsibilities


  • Identify new opportunities and develop long-term relationships with strategic external stakeholders and organisations to optimise and grow the program including enhancing the Foundation’s brand and reputation for high quality and effective program delivery.
  • Logistics management to ensure the execution of agreed program specific deliverables to optimise and achieve outcomes for the Foundation and the supporting funding arrangements.
  • Make ongoing refinements to overall performance of the Buddy Bag program through identifying and realising innovation and continuous improvement opportunities, including growth during COVID-19 and other possible future crisis environments.
  • Using an agile approach, proactively manage risks and deliver to a work schedule that ensures timely delivery at each step of the supply chain in the production life cycle to deliver appropriately resourced Buddy Bags.
  • Work collaboratively with the social services and corporate sectors to build mutually beneficial relationships that maximise opportunities for growth to meet identified needs.
  • Work collaboratively with other teams at the Foundation who provide essential support functions such as marketing, communications, funding and research, to enable the Foundation to show its value-add strengths in delivering services for children and families.
  • Manage a team of volunteers to efficiently and effectively pack Buddy Bags using best practice operations management processes.
  • Identify and submit funding submissions for Buddy Bags and complete written reports and progress reports on behalf of the Foundation for funders as required.
  • Undertake daily management of Buddy Bags including management of stock, working with suppliers and coordinating all elements of program delivery.
  • Provide subject-matter expertise into aligned project groups or activities.
  • Participate in research, evaluation, project work or other activities as appropriate and agreed with the Head of Children and Families.
  • Undertake other duties as required by the Head of Children and Families and the Senior Leadership Team.

Knowledge, Experience and Requirements


  • 5+ years’ experience in program management or coordination, or project management.
  • Demonstrated experience in building and maintaining strong relationships with internal and external stakeholders at all levels in the social services and/or corporate sector/s.
  • Working knowledge of the social services sector, such as child protection, family and other forms of violence, homelessness, refugees and/or exploitative practices.
  • Demonstrated experience in effectively navigating complex and diverse welfare service systems to deliver a quality, client focused service.
  • Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively by modelling and promoting a culture of teamwork.
  • Encouraging the recognition and value of volunteers, including corporate volunteers, whilst acknowledging the limitations of people who volunteer.
  • Sound understanding of child trauma principles.
  • Experience in successfully managing a team of service delivery staff, most of whom will not have a reporting relationship.
  • Experience in quality improvement expertise and methods, supporting the development and implementation of program evaluation tools, and making changes to service where appropriate.
  • The ability to take the initiative and work autonomously to achieve set goals.
  • The ability to work within a commercially driven not-for-profit environment whilst maintaining a focus on providing effective services to children and young people.
  • The ability to analyse data, using the insights to drive program improvement and help inform decision making and program development.
  • The ability to prioritise and manage resources, accordingly, including time constraints, and ensure program deliverables are met.
  • A current Working with Children Check and Criminal Record Check.

Thank You

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  • Location
    Melbourne, Victoria
  • Department
  • Employment Type