Media Release: Entries open for 2021 FIA Awards for Excellence in Fundraising

1 July 2020 (Sydney) — Fundraising Institute Australia (FIA), the peak body for professional fundraisers, is calling for entries for the 2021 FIA National Awards for Excellence in Fundraising. 

For the 21st year running, the FIA Awards will recognise and celebrate the achievements of fundraisers. It remains the only program in Australia that rewards fundraising excellence and ethical best practice in the voluntary sector and is one of the highlights of the annual FIA Conference.

“The FIA Awards reward the most effective and creative work of fundraisers, charities, suppliers and volunteers from across Australia. They promote the role of fundraising in improving society and celebrate best practice, innovation, impact and individual accomplishment,” said Katherine Raskob, FIA chief executive. 

“Whether you work for a big organisation or a small one, the FIA Awards are an ideal opportunity to showcase to your organisation and your donors that you, and your team, are the best. Winning an award can demonstrate to your board why they should be supporting your endeavours and help attract the best fundraising talent to work with you. It’s also a wonderful way to recognise your team,” added Ben Cox, chair of the awards committee.

New Best Pivot Campaign Award and Arthur Venn Lifetime Achievement Award

With 2020 a year of environmental disasters and a pandemic, many fundraisers had to swiftly transform some of their campaigns to emergency fundraising or take their community events online. As a result, FIA has created the Best Pivot Campaign or Initiative Award to highlight the year’s most agile campaigns.

Meanwhile, the Arthur Venn Fundraiser of the Year, presented since 2012, will become the Arthur Venn Lifetime Achievement Award, recognising a fundraiser for their long-standing service to the sector, FIA and causes. A Fundraiser of the Year Award will be added to honour a fundraiser for their consistent impact in fundraising over a five-year period.

There are 14 awards this year, as follows: 

Organisational Awards
Most Innovative Campaign 
Best Supporter Experience 
Fundraising Impact Through Creativity 
Impact on a Shoestring 
Best Strategic Partnership 
Best Pivot Campaign or Initiative
Impact through Events 
Supplier Team of the Year (nominated by non-profit organisations). 

State Awards 
Young Fundraiser of the Year
Volunteer of the Year 
Fundraising Team of the Year                                                                                   

Individual Awards
Fundraiser of the Year 
Arthur Venn Lifetime Achievement Award

Principal Award 
Most Outstanding Fundraising Project. 

Past winners weigh in

Steffi Chang, the 2020 Blackbaud Young Fundraiser of the Year, said winning the award “significantly raised my visibility within the industry. It’s enabled me to connect with people beyond my immediate network, which will help me become an even more effective fundraiser. I’m grateful to be recognised for my work and to those who helped me get this far. I hope to pay it forward and help other young fundraisers where I can.”

Blackbaud’s support of this award will allow Steffi to travel to the United States to attend an international fundraising convention when international travel resumes.

MS Ltd.’s revitalised MS Readathon took home the Impact Through Events and Most Outstanding Fundraising Project in 2020. Ben Holgate, executive manager-strategic fundraising, said one of the consequences of winning the awards is that it gave their chief executive and board the confidence that they could further grow the MS Readathon. More funds were subsequently released to invest in the program.

“This is already showing strong signs of paying off in the 2020 MS Readathon, which has seen registrations growth well ahead of target. We were even given enough funds to do a TV campaign in 2020, which is going well. The resurrection of MS Readathon has been exciting for everyone but particularly for our staff and the clients we serve,” he said.

Free entry, webinar and help putting applications together

There is an easy, online applications process. Entrants are also required to make a one-to-three minute smartphone video telling the story behind their campaign and why they should win. To assist busy fundraisers, FIA is making help available to organise and draft submissions.

Thanks to sponsors Precision Fundraising and MonDial Telephone Fundraising, there is no charge to enter the 2021 awards. Applications open Wednesday, 1 July and close Friday, 4 September 2020. FIA will hold a webinar on Tuesday, 28 July at 1pm (AEST) with Katherine Raskob and Ben Cox discussing getting ready for the awards and how many opportunities there are for fundraisers to enter. They will be joined by past winners (TBC) who will discuss their tips for success.

Finalists will be announced in the states and territories in December, with the winners revealed at The Fundraisers’ Gala Awards Dinner in Melbourne on Thursday, 25 February 2021.

For more information:
Kim Carter
0407 771 698