Vinnies calls on marketing and media professionals to join online CEO Sleepout

The annual Vinnies CEO Sleepout will look a little different this year, with participants not actually taking to the streets to experience a night in the life of a homeless person. Instead, business and community leaders will participate remotely from their cars, couches or backyards.

In addition, the CEO Sleepout will be live-streamed online in an interactive broadcast hosted by television personality Dr Andrew Rochford.


The changes for the 18 June event are in response to the dangers posed by COVID-19, however Vinnies noted that each of the alternative locations – couches, cars and backyards – reflect the hidden reality of sleeping rough. The organisation said one in 14 of the 116,000 people experiencing homelessness in Australia are hidden from sight, ‘sleeping rough’ in cars and tents or couch surfing.

This year there will also be no minimum fundraising expectation for participants in recognition of the financial impact of coronavirus. Last year the event raised $7.9m for homelessness services. That funded 689,819 beds, 1.59m meals and 1.949m individual support programs. So far, this year’s event has raised $1.105m. Its current goal, based on participation, is $2.423m.

“I’ve seen the difference that Vinnies’ homelessness services make first-hand, and the Vinnies CEO Sleepout is such an important fundraiser to make sure they can continue helping thousands of people every year,” Dr Rochford said.

“It’s great to see Vinnies, and the business and community leaders who participate in the Sleepout, adapt to ensure this year’s event can go ahead in the midst of coronavirus. The onset of a global health crisis means people facing homelessness need that support more than ever.”

The event is open to all c-suite and executive-level professionals including small business and community leaders. The organisation called on marketing and media professionals to get involved.

In 2017, the event attracted some criticism for utilising virtual reality technology to enable CEOs to visualise the realities of homelessness. Critics pointed out the disconnect between the expensive technology and the situations regularly faced by Australia’s homeless.


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