As FIA’s chief executive, I encourage my team to consider their professional development and undertake training or courses to broaden or deepen their skills. It can be so hard to find the time to do this in our crazy work lives so I was glad to have the chance to spend a few days with other association CEOs to discuss the challenges we face in our roles everyday – membership, advancing our professions, technology and leadership amongst other issues. I found a few days away to examine and learn to be so beneficial! I’m thankful to Answers for Associations and Business Events Tasmania for inviting me along.
In other news, I spent a few days in Melbourne in mid-November, meeting members and attending a workshop given by Ted Garrard, chief executive of Toronto’s SickKids Foundation, one of the largest children hospital foundations in the world.
Ted provided a comprehensive analysis of the issues challenging charities today and how successful charities, like the SickKids Foundation, are adapting. It was inspiring to hear how Ted took an ailing hospital foundation that was riven by scandal 10 years ago and addressed the issue head-on so that he could get any negative stories out of the way. In doing that, Ted was able to move forward with his mission to promote the great work of the hospital. It worked: along with his team, he has turned the hospital’s fundraising fortunes around to the tune of millions, and the hospital is currently undergoing a rebuild for the 21st century. Wonderfully inspiring.
We also held an FIA brains trust session with senior fundraising leaders in Melbourne. It was a productive meeting with highly engaged members working out how we can solve some of the sector’s critical challenges around donor retention, heightened scrutiny about our relevance and impact, and donor communications. We agreed to focus on how we can advance as a profession of fundraisers and ideas and actions for how we can do this.
Then it was up to the Gold Coast for more member meetings and to attend the end of year celebration organised by the Gold Coast group of the FIA Queensland Committee. It was terrific. More than 50 people were there, and many had never attended an FIA event before, so we had the chance to properly introduce them to what FIA has to offer. Meredith Dwyer, chair of the FIA Queensland Committee, gave an inspiring speech about why she is a fundraiser and she also threw in several plugs for why being a member of FIA is so essential! Thank you Meredith: I couldn’t have said it better myself!
The festive season is now upon us. Tomorrow is #GivingTuesday, the day for good deeds and the remedy for the excess that often clutters the season. The day is set to raise nearly $730 million for good causes and countless hours of volunteer effort across 60 countries, with Australia being among the first to begin the wave of giving.
I’m pleased to see many FIA members have chosen to participate and that the movement is growing here in Australia as a worthy alternative to the online spending sprees fuelled by Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Australia’s Click Frenzy. I hope GivingTuesday really takes off in Australia as it is such a great idea. You can track the action tomorrow on social media at #GivingTuesdayAUS.