I want to start my first column of 2020 by expressing my condolences to everyone affected by the bushfires that have ravaged large parts of Australia. This summer has brought devastation, hardship and heartbreak to so many communities across the country.
Amid the tragedy and loss, It is the Australian community spirit that shines through and continues to inspire. From the volunteer firefighters who have risked their lives and sacrificed work and holiday time, to the extraordinary outpouring of generosity from ordinary Australians, celebrities, sports stars and businesses, generous people and organisations are helping those impacted to get back on their feet. It is Australian civil society at its best.
I’m proud of the work undertaken by several FIA members to help their fellow Australians. Many have sacrificed their holidays and are working long hours to help their communities. While there are too many members to name, I’d like to highlight the hard work and dedication of the Australian Red Cross, the Salvos, Vinnies, Anglicare, Foodbank Victoria, the RSPCA, WWF and St Kilda Mums. You are all heroes in my book.
What’s clear to me is how critical a role fundraising plays every day. Given the need, which only seems to increase, it is our responsibility as a sector to ensure that we grow and advance our skills so we can continue to undertake the incredible work of connecting generous people to the causes they care about.
On that note, a new year is always a good time to consider how we can be the best fundraisers possible. Planning to grow your skills to be better at what you do, advance your career or consolidate all that you know for continued excellence, is why belonging to Fundraising Institute Australia is so critical. Our professional development program in 2020 offers more learning opportunities in areas that you told us particularly matter to you.
The 2020 program features a range of new courses, including how to navigate the fundraising regulatory environment, privacy and brand safety, and copywriting for impact. We have also partnered with the team at More Strategic to offer new courses in strategic planning for fundraisers, mid-value donors, and personalising the supporter experience.
This year we’re providing greater flexibility in our in-class Certificate in Professional Fundraising (updated for 2020) by offering it in trimester format. Also, a reminder that scholarships are available for selected core education courses and provide opportunities for students to advance their knowledge of fundraising while reducing financial pressures.
Our Fundraising Essentials course, also updated, is now available at half the cost of previous years to allow more fundraisers and team members to obtain a broader understanding of their role in fundraising.
We’ve also got a couple of special education events coming up, with international experts in major gifts and gifts in wills fundraising visiting Australia to present leading-edge masterclasses. Importantly, the FIA mentoring program is back and better than ever. This initiative is a significant member benefit that is enriching for both mentors and mentees, so I encourage you to get involved.
As most of you know, we offer online training in the FIA Code, and it remains very successful with approximately 3,340 registrations. If you have not done your Code training, you should do it soon as it’s a requirement of membership and we do check to see who’s completed it.
Our 2020 education brochure should be landing on your desks by early February, so please look out for it or visit FIA’s professional development section on our website.
Meanwhile, our conference and events team is busy getting ready for FIA Conference 2020 in Brisbane at the end of February. This event is the biggest conference for fundraisers in the Asia-Pacific region, and we have an excellent program planned, so I hope you can attend.
And of course, our state committees, run by our awesome volunteers around Australia, have great plans for networking and educational events in 2020. Find out what they have organised by reading our monthly state-based e-bulletins or by checking Your Local FIA section on our website.
I wish you all the best for a successful year in fundraising.