CEO Update

Now that the federal election is over and the Coalition has been returned to government, we will be ramping up our regulatory affairs activities once again. I will be seeking a meeting with the Hon Zed Seselja, who has been re-elected to the Senate and re-appointed as Assistant Minister for Finance, Charities and Electoral Matters. FIA welcomes the specific inclusion of charities to his ministerial responsibilities.

FIA urges the government to give early consideration to the unanimous recommendations of the Senate Select Committee on Charity Fundraising in the 21st Century, which reported in February. The committee’s principal recommendations were for a two-year deadline to reduce red tape for fundraisers and to cooperatively harmonise state and territory regulations.

FIA has developed a five-point plan to implement those recommendations. I will keep you posted on developments as the two-year timetable unfolds.

Privacy in the digital era

On a different policy front, I had an excellent meeting with Deputy Commissioner Elizabeth Hampton and her team from the Australian Office of the Information Commissioner. She was impressed with the work FIA has been doing around our Code, as well as the recently updated privacy guide for charities, developed in collaboration with MinterEllison. We discussed the challenges our sector faces in this area, including responsible use of data to find new donors and maintain donor relationships. A key event to watch out for will be the report on the Digital Platforms Inquiry – expected soon – which could lead to changes in privacy regulation.

Membership renewal time

With the arrival of June, it’s time to renew your FIA membership. As an FIA member, you’re part of Australia’s largest fundraising community and one of almost 1,400 voices. Your membership demonstrates you’re a best-practice fundraiser, gives you regulatory support and allows you to stay up to date and connected with your peers around the country. You also benefit from resources, networking events, a great annual conference and access to excellent professional development courses. Click here to renew your membership so we can continue to build a stronger and more sustainable future for fundraising.

Essential Member Updates

We finished our Essential Member Updates with a Zoom session on 23 May. Feedback from members was incredibly positive, and people were amazed at how much work is going on at FIA on their behalf. We will definitely offer these annually, with some improvements to the format based on feedback received from the post-event surveys.

Social media platforms

I recently had a productive meeting with Facebook and the PayPal Giving Fund about some technical challenges our member charities are experiencing with these relatively new platforms. I was so impressed by their constructive and conciliatory approach, and I’m pleased to report they have agreed to make some changes that will definitely help fundraisers use the Facebook fundraising tools more effectively. This is a great result, and I will keep you informed as these plans progress.

Member meetings

I also managed to squeeze in several member meetings over the last couple of weeks. While in Brisbane for the Essential Member Update, I had the chance to catch up with long-time FIA supporters – Mater Foundation’s Nigel Harris (past FIA chair) and Leukaemia Foundation Australia’s Alex Struthers – to find out what’s happening in their fundraising worlds of hospitals, health and research.

 In Sydney, I met with Mark Stewart at Bandaged Bear to learn more about the merger at the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network and how they help thousands of children each year in hospital and at home to live their healthiest lives. It was also great fun to meet the staff at the Humour Foundation (aka Clown Doctors) and how they treat kids in hospital with their own particular medicine: doses of smiles and laughter. That was an excellent remedy for hump day!

Cracker of a time: FIA staff volunteered to pack biscuits with the staff at House With No Steps last week. A great time was had by all!

Katherine Raskob

Chief Executive Officer