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Dine Below the Line

The Success of Dine Below the Line

By Kristina Doucouliagos
National Campaign Director of Live Below the Line.

On Wednesday, I sat in front of my computer frantically hitting refresh, moving between the US election and the Dine Below the Line website, eagerly awaiting updates. Why? Because I am a massive politics nerd who can’t resist an election, especially one that has the potential to significantly impact Australia. But also because Dine Below the Line was very close hitting $15,000 raised.

When we hit that magic number I couldn’t help but jump up, out of my seat in excitement. How often does an idea you dream up while serving customers at your part time job turn into a fundraising campaign that sees over 150 people across the country host dinner parties in order to raise money and awareness about poverty?

Dine Below the Line launched in September after having gone from inception to reality in the space of a month. The premise was simple. We challenged people to host a dinner party. Doesn’t sound too difficult, right? But there is a twist: you are only allowed to budget $2 per head. This makes things a little more difficult.

Why $2 per head? $2 is the Australian equivalent of the extreme poverty line. While extreme poverty is more than a question of monetary deprivation, the benchmark of $2 per day is a powerful symbol that raises awareness of the issues facing millions of people throughout the world.

It was thrilling to see how many people rallied behind this campaign and seeing the steady stream of photos from people’s dinners, showcasing some pretty impressive culinary skills! Hosts took their guests around the world, cooking everything from Cambodian curries, to Malaysian Nasi Lemak, Vietnamese vermicelli salad and Italian homemade gnocchi. Some even managed to make dessert, proving that $2 can go a long way!

As an avid dinner party host, my Dine Below the Line was by far the most successful event I have ever thrown, and not just because I hit my fundraising goal. At first I was overwhelmed by the prospect of cooking for 25 people (yep, 25- I couldn’t believe that many people RSVPed!!), but as we were sitting around a makeshift table on my living room floor, something really special happened.

We began sharing stories about why we were passionate about ending poverty. Some had first hand experience growing up with limited opportunities, others had grown up hearing stories about their family’s experiences with poverty overseas, and some talked about how grateful they were for organisations like Oaktree and the work that they do. It was an incredibly powerful moment.

The money raised through Dine Below the Line funds Oaktree’s campaigns to help fight poverty. This includes our partnerships with local organisations in the Asia Pacific, the lobbying work we do to influence politicians for fair and just policies, as well as our campaigns to empower young Australians and promote youth in the workplace.

Thank you to everyone who helped make this campaign a reality. Whether you hosted a dinner or donated your time or money, the work that Oaktree does would not be possible.

Haven’t hosted your dinner yet? It’s not too late. Dine Below the Line will continue to accept registration and donations throughout November.  

Check out https://www.dinebelowtheline.com/ to find out more!