Welcome back. I hope that all of you who celebrate had a wonderful Easter break and enjoyed quality time with friends and family. For our Jewish members, I hope Passover was also a time of reflection and family joy. I find time away from the demands of work, even for just a few days, can be remarkably therapeutic. A bit of Easter chocolate never hurts either!
I managed to pack several meetings and events into our shortened work week before Good Friday. I started the week by attending a federal budget breakfast event organised by the Australian Council of Social Service (Acoss) at University Technology Sydney. This breakfast briefing provided a critical opportunity to examine the potential impacts of the federal budget from the perspective of the community services and charitable sectors, and those experiencing poverty and inequality.
The event featured a dynamic panel of speakers including Minister for Families and Social Services Paul Fletcher MP and Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen. Moderated by Jessica Irvine, the senior economics writer for The Sydney Morning Herald, the discussion got quite lively at times as the speakers applied a razor-sharp focus and critique of the budget from both Labor and Liberal perspectives.
Tuesday, I met with representatives from the Better Regulation Division of the Department of Finance, Services and Innovation. This team oversees fundraising regulation for NSW, and I was keen to see how they were progressing with the next stage of reforming charitable fundraising legislation, regulation and guidelines.
I urged them to keep on with their own reform program which remains the most advanced in Australia and to take the lead in encouraging other states and territories to do the same.
That day I also caught up with Lyndsey Rice, director of fundraising at Cancer Council NSW. Every year in NSW alone, more than 48,000 new cases of cancer are expected to be diagnosed. That is a massive impact on families, carers and their communities, and we are so grateful for the incredible work by the fundraising and marketing team at Cancer Council, a long-time member of FIA and a strong supporter of the sector.
On Wednesday I attended my second Mail Working Industry Group. These meetings typically involve representatives from Australia Post, the Printing Industries Association of Australia, Neopost and Pitney Bowes (representing meter vendors), and Australian Paper and Candida (representing envelope suppliers). The group consults and shares ideas on industry promotion, innovation, changes and pricing, and supply chain efficiencies amongst other things.
Direct mail is critical to fundraisers and charitable organisations for their campaigns and appeals. With a price hike only last October, I continued to urge Australia Post staff to hold off wherever possible on price increases as they are huge financial burden to FIA members and reduce their ability to fund ongoing and critical campaign work. Rest assured, I will keep you ‘posted’ on issues and developments in the addressed mail realm that are relevant to you.
This week, I would like to remind you about our Essential Member Update events taking place in May. These are new events designed to provide FIA members with vital sector information that impacts on you and your organisation.
We will discuss government and regulatory issues, privacy and data concerns, and fundraising trends. I will also present on the findings of the FIA Code Authority’s recent round of Code monitoring, which I hope you will find useful in your daily fundraising practice. A white paper outlining key issues will also be available following the update.
Our member updates are open to all professional members, organisational members (two per organisation) plus those who are additional staff members through their organisation.
They will take place in all state capitals and the ACT; with a Zoom session for those in regional areas or people who can’t make their city session. Please refer to our website for the date in your city and to register as soon as possible. I hope you will find these sessions on the critical issues and trends in our sector helpful.