FIA Conference 2021
Top-notch talent: Viktoria Harrison, Simon Scriver and Barbara O’Reilly are just three of the amazing presenters at this year’s FIA Conference.
Top-notch talent: Viktoria Harrison, Simon Scriver and Barbara O’Reilly are just three of the amazing presenters at this year’s FIA Conference.

This month, Fundraising Institute Australia (FIA) will hold three jam-packed days of professional development with three days of virtual sessions (24-26 February) and the option of attending a state-based, facetoface meet-up on 26 February. 

While the conference has had to go mainly virtual due to the ongoing pandemic, the loosening of restrictions has made it possible for FIA to organise state hubs in six capital cities. The hubs will allow fundraisers to view sessions together, workshop sector issues and watch the live stream of thFIA Awardsin a COVID-safe environment.  

For 2021, there will be more than 60 sessions of live and on-demand sessions featuring expert, carefully curated content across nine tracks.  

The nine core areas allow delegates to focus on a particular theme or spend time across a range of topics. The tracks are as follows:  

Adaptation and Responding to Change  

Community and Events 

Fundraising How To… 

Gifts in Wills 

Individual Giving 

Leadership and Strategic Partnerships 

Middle, Major and Philanthropy 

Personal Effectiveness 

Understanding Your Donor. 

It’s fantastic to be able to provide the speaker content for six months after the conference, one of the advantages of going virtual,” said Katherine Raskob, FIA CEO.  

The great thing is you don’t have to choose between sessions. You can listen to a live presentation at the conference and go back in your own time to watch others. You can incorporate more learning than ever before in generalist, specialist and emerging areas of fundraising,” she added. 

Ross Anderson, the 2021 conference program committee chair, urged the sector to support the conference, created by fundraisers for fundraisers.   

“It’s your opportunity to learn from world-leading fundraisers and build on your skills. The conference content is up to the minute, especially the adaptation and responding to change track, which focuses on how charities had to switch up and innovate their fundraising programs during the pandemic. People will certainly appreciate these learnings in this environment,” he said. 

Anderson noted that fundraisers had also requested more information on gifts in Wills and middle and major donors, two growth areas for fundraising, and more education on creating successful regular giving programs, a speciality that many fundraisers still find challenging.  

Here are just a few of the hot-topic live and on-demand sessions that will be delivered by local and overseas fundraising experts this year.  

Simon (Scriver) says: Individual giving is dead. Long live individual giving  

Ireland’s Simon Scriver, co-founder of Fundraising Everywhere & Everywhere+, will deliver a session on the problems of individual giving, focusing on what’s working and what’s not, questioning current best practice, discussing how to keep fundraisers in the profession and outlining a future that works for all.   

Someone’s at the (digital) door! 

Closer to home, Janine Kewming, head of fundraising, Salvation Armyand Garth Stirling, head of services, ntegrity, will share insights and learnings gained from transforming the Salvo’s 55th Red Shield Appeal fundraiser from traditional doorknock to digital door rap.  

They will explain how five teams came together to reimagine months of strategy and planning in just two weeks; how they reinterpreted iconic brand elements and experiences for a digital environment to engage and drive new donations, and how they deployed an army of volunteer micro-influencers to spread the word.  

Happy hour with Bernard Ross  

Award-winning UK author, comedian and management consultant Bernard Ross makes his first appearance at FIA Conference. He’ll deliver an entertaining mix of stand-up comedy and neuroscience during happy hour on 24 February. Ross works worldwide for ethical organisations and shares ideas for infotainment, combining useful ideas with humour and theatre. A favourite at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Ross is always ready to challenge people’s assumptions about rational decisionmaking and how smart they are.  

Gimme some (donor) lovin 

The USA’s Barbara O’Reillyfounder and principal of Windmill Hill Consulting, will outline her five tips to build the right strategies to connect with and retain donors, improve donor engagement and raise more money. She will share her firm’s world-first global study findings that examine how development planning contributes to fundraising results.  

Getting the green light  

The Sydney Children’s Hospitals Foundation has built a greenlight pilot, based on the process by which the film industry makes decisions to produce and finance films. The foundation wanted to see if they could apply this film-financing process to decision-making about philanthropic funding for paediatric medical research. Foundation CEO Nicola Stokes will map the journey and discuss how researchers, philanthropists and fundraisers became part of their greenlight community. 

Panel discussions on bushfire and pandemic learnings  

Panel discussions are often lively events, and the ones on offer in 2021 won’t disappoint. This year, fundraisers can tune into a panel on learnings from the bushfire emergency and how to prepare for the next natural disaster on the fundraising front. Another panel features five of the finalists from the 2021 FIA Awards Best Pivot or Initiative Award, discussing how they successfully adapted their campaigns during the worst days of the pandemic.  

And here’s a few other sessions you can tap into:   

Australia: Cassandra Chapman, lecturer in marketing (donor psychology), University of Queensland 

Major donors: identifying who will give to your cause and why (on demand) 

 USA: Viktoria Harrison, cofounder, The Branded Startup/charity: water 

How to: launch a monthly giving program (live) 

UK: Tim Longfoot, director and co-founder, Open 

Fundraising in a recession (on demand) 

Australia: Chris Mills, trusts and foundations manager; Luke Toebelmann, partnerships manager, and Anita Toy, trusts and foundations manager, Brotherhood of St Laurence  

Making change that lasts – embedding an organisation-wide partnerships framework at BSL (on demand) 

 Australia: Vanessa McCarthy, director, Tone Studio and Mary Anne Plummer, creative director, Exuberance 

From tactical to emotional – fundraising creative that goes beyond best practice (on demand) 

And that’s not all. A virtual expo will be part of this conference, giving delegates the chance to meet via onetoone video with key suppliers to the sector. There is also a virtual awards ceremonymeet the speaker sessions and small group networking activities.  

As always, there is something for every level of fundraiser at FIA Conference 2021. So, have a read of the program on the conference website and register soon. We look forward to seeing you online or in person!