Providing young refugees and asylum seekers hope so they can dream


Tried something different, worked against the odds and gave a voice to refugees and asylum seekers students.”


  • 77% of new donors  to workplace giving support the Sanctuary Scholarship program
  • 5% increase in the amount donated over the past 12 months
  • Senior leaders are key drivers of the program
  • Program messaging uses behavioral science theory


  • Deakin University, one of Australia’s top 10 universities, made a commitment to provide access to higher education for asylum seekers and refugees by quadrupling its Sanctuary Scholarship program
  • In 2017, only 0.4% of staff were donating through workplace giving to the scholarship program and the program was declining
  • Through extensive consultation, utilising sector best practices, Deakin University revamped its workplace giving program and relaunched “Deakin GIVE”. This was achieved despite a tight budgetary framework
  • Deakin GIVE adopted a new behavioral science framework to engage staff around the benefits and the positive impact of workplace giving. The program was championed by then Vice-Chancellor Professor Jane den Hollander and current Vice-Chancellor Professor Iain Martin
  • The use of scholarship holders sharing unique stories across the marketing materials including videos, e-forms, posters, screen savers, postcards and lanyards encouraged giving and engaged staff
  • The Vice Chancellor sent personalised launch emails to staff encouraging them to support the Sanctuary Scholarship program
  • At staff events, the benefits of workplace giving were promoted. In addition, past Sanctuary Scholarship recipients shared their stories empowering the students and reinforcing the positive collective impact of workplace giving
  • Last financial year, fourteen talented young refugees and asylum seekers found sanctuary at Deakin. Four of the Sanctuary Scholarships were funded by Deakin staff through workplace giving
  • Deakin staff also funded five other access and equity scholarships through workplace giving in FY 18/19
  • The workplace giving program also supports Médecins Sans Frontières, Give Where You Live and The Smith Family