CEO Update

Today is the start to the seventh annual Include a Charity Week in Australia. It’s a time for all of us to think about the impact of charitable bequests and encourage more Australians to consider including their favourite cause in their will, after providing for loved ones.

To mark the week, we’ve organised breakfast seminars and workshops across the country for fundraisers wanting to undertake more gifts in wills professional development. As part of this, we have brought over an international speaker to communicate the latest information in this specialised area of fundraising.

I’m looking forward to hearing Meg Abdy, Legacy Foresight business development manager, speak about her inaugural research into the Australian gifts in wills marketplace. Meg has been researching where gifts in wills income has been heading in the UK for 20 years now, and more recently she’s undertaken similar research in the Netherlands. I don’t want to give too much away, but one finding from Meg’s study suggests gifts in wills will nearly double by 2040 in Australia!

Webinar on Code monitoring results

In other news, on Thursday, 26 September, I’ll be co-hosting a webinar with Scott McClellan, our executive manager Code and regulatory affairs. We’ll be talking about effective self-regulation in fundraising, and we will reveal the results of our mystery shopping of members to test their compliance with the FIA Code.

The Code Authority, which monitors compliance and deals with complaints from the public, has been reviewing how fundraisers treat donors in vulnerable circumstances. Its members have also been examining how well charities respond to requests to opt-out of fundraising appeals. You may find the results surprising. Tune in to hear the results! Register here.

Postal rates

We received notice that Australia Post is putting up prices again. FIA has joined with a coalition of other industry voices representing large volume mailers to oppose the increases, arguing:

  • ongoing price increases by Australia Post to counter loss of revenue is unsustainable as a business strategy. Volumes are currently at risk of accelerated decline due to price increases that are well above inflation. We need to work in partnership with Australia Post on strategies to stabilise volumes
  • we believe fixed and operational cost efficiencies have not been fully explored. There remain many opportunities across Australia Post’s operations to increase efficiencies and improve its bottom line without resorting to postage increases
  • the timing of the price increases does not recognise the lead times charities need for planning and budgeting. Implementing price increases across an October/January timeframe catches most charities in the midst of their financial year, leaving them unable to mitigate these price increases and resulting in decisions to cancel campaigns, thus impacting mail volumes as well as income to charities
  • transparency is the key to sustainability. Australia Post operates to a four-year forecast. Its customers should be able to do the same. A pricing calculator with established methodologies would provide clarity and remove the ongoing unknown of annual increases.

Thanks for renewing!

Finally, I’d like to extend my gratitude to those members who have renewed their membership for 2019/2020. We can’t do our vital work on behalf of the sector without your support. Thank you.

Katherine Raskob

Chief Executive Officer