Emily Lewis

Donor Engagement Coordinator,  Australian Conservation Foundation

In her first week at the Australian Conservation Foundation, Emily Lewis led her first fundraising appeal. Oil giant Woodside Energy planned to dump a 2529-tonne chunk of an oil rig near Ningaloo Reef in northern WA, and ACF planned to stop them. 

“This reef is a World Heritage-listed marine sanctuary and a place whale sharks, turtles, manta rays and humpback whales call home. They wanted to simply discard their rubbish and walk away,” says Emily, who started as Direct Marketing Coordinator – Individual Giving at ACF in July 2021.

With fire in her belly, Emily’s multi-channel campaign elevated income for the 2021 Spring Appeal by 80%, with the average gift of $119 up 78% year-on-year and a record number of 592 new donors acquired. And for Emily and the ACF, the most important outcome: the public attention caused Woodside to back down. 

That all started in week one, so how about year one? Let’s look at the (very good) stats…

Raised $2.4 million in FY22 — 18% higher than budget

Raised $380k for the 2021 Spring Appeal

Led ACF’s first ever giving day, Save our Big Back Yard, raising $518k against a target of $200k (and mostly using in-house resources)

Achieved the highest ever solicited income on record ($556k) for ACF’s 2022 Tax Appeal, with total income of $864k

Created a high-value pack for the first time at ACF, which was sent to a select group of 2000 donors during the Tax Appeal and generated an industry-leading 28% response rate and $160 for every pack sent out

Almost tripled annual emergency appeals income, including raising over $100k from digital channels for an appeal to fund legal action against Woodside Energy for a polluting gas plant.

“I believe I was recognised for this award as I’m an ambitious and ethical fundraiser. I strive to take a deeply donor-centric approach to all aspects of my work and the results prove this to be successful,” says Emily.

Emily has made an incredible difference to what we thought was a mature fundraising program.

Emily began her fundraising career at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute where she quickly earned the respect of her colleagues. “Emily is passionate, determined and has the biggest heart — and most of all she truly cares, and this was shown through her care for our community of donors and causes close to her heart. Her tenacity, drive and determination to absorb and learn was everything you want in a young fundraiser and as part of the industry,” says Antonia Makkar, General Manager of Philanthropy at Baker.

At ACF, Director of Fundraising, Christine Anderson, agrees. “Emily has made an incredible difference to what we thought was a mature fundraising program, but she’s really shown us that there was plenty of room for growth and improvement. And she did that by bringing her innovation, creativity and data-driven approach and her willingness and desire to always test and learn to our individual giving program.”

Along the way Emily achieved a professional goal to join the FIA State Committee for Victoria, where she now serves as Secretary, and has moved to a new role at ACF as Donor Engagement Coordinator. 

Stellar careers rarely happen in isolation and Emily is grateful for the support of her peers and colleagues. “From the beginning of my career, I have been immersed in a rich and vibrant community of passionate fundraisers who have mentored and guided me to where I am today,” she says.