CEO Update

Despite a somewhat brighter outlook on the horizon, charities across the board have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. With community events being postponed or cancelled, plus a sluggish economy, not-for-profits have had to be resourceful, innovative and change the way they fundraise.

I recently wrote about how some of our members have taken their community events online or undertaken strategies such as moving face-to-face fundraisers to the phone. It was a scramble for some, and maybe they didn’t raise what they were hoping for, but they still brought in much-needed funds for their beneficiaries. I know those case studies I discuss in the story are just a few examples of some amazing creative thinking! You can read my article online at F&P if you have a subscription.

Mentoring matters

I’m pleased to tell you that applications for the FIA National Mentoring Program 2020-21 open today. The opportunity to participate in the program is a significant benefit that is free to all FIA members. As someone who has been mentored for much of my working life, I can tell you it’s very worthwhile to do. The FIA program has gone from strength to strength these past few years, and now it’s more important than ever to learn from and share with each other, so I do hope you will get involved. 

For potential mentees, this is a chance to connect with a mentor who can offer you advice, insight and improve your understanding of the not-for-profit sector while helping you climb the next rung of your career ladder.

For mentors, this is a wonderful opportunity to give back to the fundraising sector, gain satisfaction in helping someone grow professionally, develop your skills as a leader and teacher and hone your skills and networks. 

Our program starts 1 September 2020 and finishes 30 April 2021. Email training@fia.org.au for your application form and note that applications close 31 July.

We’re excited to see the mentorships and outcomes which evolve and look forward to matching you!

Vale Rosemary Wilcox EMFIA

Speaking of mentoring, I was sad to learn that Rosemary Wilcox, an esteemed member of the fundraising community, died 25 May, aged 84. Rosemary was the coordinator of one of FIA’s first mentoring programs.

From Melbourne, the Preston Girls Secondary College graduate started fundraising in the late 1970s when there were only a handful of women working in the sector. A caring woman with a good sense of humour, Rosemary was also known for being candid and forthright, especially when it came to social justice and fairness to all. And some fundraisers who knew her have told me she was also a stickler for best-practice fundraising, a woman I can certainly relate to.

With a career that spanned nearly 30 years, Rosemary’s first job in fundraising was as assistant to the community relations director at Wesley Central Parish Mission in 1978. She later worked in a variety of senior fundraising roles for organisations like Community Aid Abroad (now Oxfam Australia), Alzheimer Association-Victoria, Diabetes Australia-Victoria and the Mayflower Retirement Community. At the latter, she ran a successful capital campaign that raised over $1.6 million.

Later Rosemary moved into consultancy, running her eponymous agency and supporting loyal clients, including Scope, International Diabetes Institute and Methodist Ladies College. She retired in 2006 but was not one to sit still; she continued as an energetic volunteer fundraiser for several years afterwards.

Rosemary was a long-time FIA member (since 1983) who served as president, secretary and sponsorship manager for the Victoria chapter and was also a national board member. She was made a Fellow of FIA (when it was known as the Australasian Institute of Fundraising) in 1991. 

Rosemary believed fervently in giving back to her community, and she proved to be a pioneer in this respect. She became the first female chair of Community Aid Abroad in 1974. She was heavily involved in the Rotary Club of Preston, becoming their first female president in 2000, and serving twice in the role during her long membership. Rosemary was also a stalwart supporter of the Uniting Church, volunteering as chair of the church committee and taking on many other committee roles.

As her daughter, Fiona Bradley, says: “her faith and a strong sense of justice for all made her the incredible woman that she was.” How lucky are we as a fundraising community to have had the benefit of Rosemary among us!

Katherine Raskob
Chief Executive Officer