2022 Young Fundraiser of the Year: Tom Hansford

What did winning the FIA Young Fundraisers Award mean to you?

‘I think that it is always a little challenging winning an individual award when so much of what was achieved from the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre Grants Team that year was a team effort. I am really proud of how we were able to respond to the challenges of COVID-19 in the 2020-21FY and secure and deliver on some amazing funding opportunities. As someone who is still very much just learning the ropes in this sector, I have been really fortunate to have some incredible mentors and leaders at the ASRC and previous work – so it meant a lot to be able to share the news with them about the recognition of our work together.

What would you say to other young people about the benefits of working in the NFP sector?

‘I love working in the NFP space, it gives me an opportunity to have a voice at the table and a say in what we want the world we inherit from older generations to look like – without the stifling bureaucracy of government or cognitive dissonance of the corporate sector. Working for organizations that put their money where their mouth is (not as profits in the pockets of shareholders or senior management) shows that the value of each week’s work can have a direct impact on the cause you are passionate about.

How has winning the Award impacted you personally and professionally?

Professionally, I think an increase in confidence has been the biggest impact. I haven’t really had a linear pathway to the fundraising sector, nor did I really think that I would ever find myself doing what I am, but getting the external feedback that the integrity in which I bring myself into the work and the results that come from this performance has given me an extra boost to back myself a little more. 

Personally, the experience of being at the FIA Conference and seeing parts of the sector participating in professional development together under the one roof has helped me to reframe the Fundraising sector from more of an activist lens – enabling members who can be marginalised by society, to have more of an influence by accessing activities supported by fundraising efforts. As a sector, there is work to be done to increase representation, participation and leadership in professional development opportunities like the conference for those who haven’t lived with the privileges that I have (white, cis-gendered man, able-bodied, private school educated, native English speaker, etc) and may have closer experiences to those accessing activities, so I am looking forward to the work involved in achieving that change, from whatever platform I can.

I am also really looking forward to going to the International Conference 2023 in New Orleans next April! 🙂

Having had the experience of winning, why would you suggest people nominate someone for an award?

If you have someone under the age of 30 or new to the sector that has been making some awesome progress in the fundraising work that they do, the acknowledgement of that progress, through nomination, may help to influence their sense of belonging within the sector and build their confidence to lend their voice and improve the sector. And the opportunity to attend and learn at the FIA Conference will only make the organisation they work for and the rest of the sector stronger for it.