Five minutes with … FIA Awards judge Lucy Jacka

Ready for centre stage this February at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, the FIA Awards for Excellence in Fundraising have been rejuvenated for 2020 with new categories and more opportunities to win. Kim Carter speaks to Lucy Jacka, general manager-fundraising at Cerebral Palsy Alliance, who judged in two new categories: Best Strategic Partnership and Fundraising Impact Through Creativity. She asks what struck Lucy about this year’s entries and why 2020 marks a significant change.

What do you find special about the FIA National Awards for Excellence in Fundraising?

The FIA Awards are a celebration of the ‘life-changing’ work being done every day in our industry. They shine a light on great Australian fundraisers and organisations, and they inspire their colleagues to continue their amazing work.

What’s changed in the sector over the past several years that demands a fresh approach and new categories?

Fundraising today is more professional, more competitive, more complex and more important than ever. It demands collaboration, creativity and ingenuity.

What did you make of the new categories for 2020? Did it make a difference to the number and type of entries? What was the overall quality like of the campaigns?

I’m delighted to say that the new categories saw a significant increase in the number of award nominations this year, indicating that they resonated with fundraisers across Australia. The quality of the submissions was high.

You judged in two categories: Best Strategic Partnership and Fundraising Impact Through Creativity. Could you talk us through these new categories?

In both these categories, myself and the judging panel were impressed by the high standard of award entries and the varied range of projects, organisations and fundraising ideas. The Strategic Partnership nominations were particularly impressive, with the majority demonstrating a genuine commitment to generating mutual benefit for the charity and the funding partner.

Do you think FIA’s new approach, with less paperwork, video entries and a free entry system, made a difference?

I hope it helped nominees, particularly those with limited resources. The videos were helpful for judges as a way to bring projects to life through a human element.

Do you often hear people say: ‘I’m not going to enter because I know I won’t win?’ What would you tell them?

I’d encourage people to get involved. The nomination process is a great way to reflect on your successes and to inspire your industry colleagues. Winning is exciting, but the awards are really about the celebration and acknowledgement of fundraising in Australia.

What would be your three top tips for aspiring entrants to these categories in future?

The strong nominations clearly articulated the impact of their activity on beneficiaries and succinctly described what they did to achieve this. The exceptional applications were able to generate a significant response (sometimes emotional) in the judges – these were often supported by great videos.

Do you have any advice for future judges?

I’d encourage others to get involved – it’s a great way to see what’s happening across the industry, to be inspired, and to be reminded why you love fundraising!