Each year Fundraising Institute Australia calls for nominations from its national membership for the annual Awards for Excellence in Fundraising. And despite seriously hectic schedules, challenges of limited resources and enormous pressures to raise vital funds for incredible causes, so many take the time to put forward submissions across the various categories. In itself, this is a worthy acknowledgment.

Awards Committee Chair, Sharon Elliott, CEO of Ethiopiaid said, “The quality of this year’s applications ensured the judges had a very difficult job with little to choose between the finalists. But this is exactly what we want to see, it really demonstrates the quality of the people and the work in the sector and helps showcase best practice and innovation.”

It goes to show just how much the sector values these highly respected Awards and their appreciation of their importance for the professional careers of Australian fundraisers. The 2023 program saw over 100 submissions from 57 charities.

“The Awards are a wonderful celebration of the excellence within the sector. It’s a time to shine a light on the successes that often pass by without the celebration they deserve and an opportunity for fundraisers to reflect upon what they have achieved. It’s also a perfect occasion to review their campaigns and best practice.

Being a finalist, a campaign winner, a state winner or an individual winner provides great motivation for teams and individuals and a fantastic way to demonstrate to leaders and boards just what an excellent job is being done,” Sharon says.

Entries are reviewed by a dedicated team of over 30 diverse experts in the sector which make up the volunteer judging panels.  They are inspired by the number, quality and content of the submissions year on year and are passionate about their role in determining the finalists and winners.

FIA reviews the categories each year to ensure they are fully inclusive of the key areas of the fundraising ecosystem.  Here are some category overviews along with the finalists for 2023.

Best Supporter Experience – A positive and engaging donor journey is critical to successful fundraising, so FIA invites nominations to reward campaigns that show donor centricity at its best. This year’s finalists are:

  • Australian Red Cross – a new mid-value supporter experience
  • Cancer Council Queensland – Ponytail Project
  • Guide Dogs Queensland – Memorial Garden
  • Kidney Health Australia – Close the Loop Supporter Experience

Fundraising Impact through Creativity – with 60,000 charities all after the public dollar for their worthy causes, innovation is key to getting cut through, particular at the key giving times. Thinking outside the box, superior engagement techniques and clever use of communication messaging and channels features strongly in this category. This year’s finalists are:

  • Amnesty International Australia – “Relentless” Tax Appeal
  • Ethiopiaid – Christmas Campaign
  • Ronald McDonald House Charities GWS/SEQ/SYD/SA/VIC-TAS – Santa for Sick Kids Christmas Appeal
  • The Salvation Army – Christmas Wishes
  • UNICEF Australia – VaccinAid: Give the World a Shot

Best Strategic Partnership. This year’s finalists are:

  • Anglicare Victoria – FOXFM Appeal “Doing It for the Kids”
  • Foodbank of South Australia and RAA Mobile Food Hub
  • Orange Sky Australia and Adairs
  • Ovarian Cancer Australia – Ovarian Cancer Australia, Hanes Brands and Coles Group for Take on Cancer in Your Undies

Volunteer of the Year – charities depend so much on the unfailing support of their volunteers to reach their fundraising goals. It is so important that they are encouraged and empowered in appreciation for their efforts. This year the State Winners are:

  • Charlie Bennet – MS Queensland (QLD State Winner)
  • Margaret Kelly – Foodbank NSW/ACT (NSW State Winner)

Young Fundraiser of the Year – the challenge for the sector is attracting young people to the fundraising profession so it is important to commend those at the start of their fundraising career and encourage them to continue in the sector.  The State Winners this year are:

  • Emily Lewis MFIA – Australian Conservation Foundation (VIC State Winner)
  • Emily Marriott – Hobart City Mission (TAS State Winner)
  • Rebecca Stone – University of Newcastle (NSW State Winner)

Arthur Venn Lifetime Achievement – the dedication of so many fundraisers warms the hearts of many. There are a few that have proudly been long standing members of FIA. Many have also been involved in committees, boards and given so much of their time and valuable skills to help multiple charities succeed in fulfilling their missions through excellent fundraising outcomes. It has previously been won by Roewen Wishart FFIA, Dr Wendy Scaife FFIA, Martin Paul FFIA CFRE, Jennifer Doubell OAM FFIA CFRE and Vicki Rasmussen FFIA CFRE.

Best Pivot Campaign – no more than in the past few years has the ability for charities to be agile in their fundraising campaign been more essential. Fundraising strategies, channels of fundraising, creative campaigns and donor journeys have been revamped and restructured to adapt to the ever-changing environment in which we all fundraise. FIA seeks to acknowledge those doing this well and with great outcomes. The finalists in this category are:

  • Australia for UNHCR – Ukraine & Afghanistan Appeals
  • Canteen Australia – Canteen Shop 2021
  • Great Barrier Reef Foundation – Going Digital for the Reef
  • Parkinson’s NSW – Step Up for Parkinson’s
  • Royal Flying Doctor Service (QLD) – Guiding Lights
  • Stepping Stone House – Sleep Under the Starts 2022
  • The Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research – Safe Harbour – A Giving Circle
  • The Smith Family – Sponsored Student Birthday Reminders
  • The Smith Family – The Toy & Book Appeal 2021

To see the finalist in other categories please click here:

  • Fundraising Impact through Technology
  • Supplier Team of the Year
  • Fundraiser of the Year
  • Most Innovative Campaign
  • Impact Through Events
  • Fundraising Team of the Year
  • Fundraising Champion of the Year

FIA Awards Committee member, Allan Godfrey FFIA, says, “As a profession, like all other professions, it is important to acknowledge excellence, best of breed and leadership in fundraising. The awards are a great way to showcase the professionalism, innovation, creativity and diversity of our sector and the amazing contribution fundraising makes to improving and delivering social and community outcomes.

Being part of the Awards committee is so rewarding.  I have had the privilege of working with and getting to know some other amazing fundraisers volunteering their time for the betterment of the profession.  I have also been fortunate to judge many award categories and am always humbled by the resourcefulness, and determination of our members.”

Nothing delights FIA more than seeing fundraisers displaying their Award status in social media, their websites, and other communications.  As the peak body for fundraising, we are so proud of the work being done across our 650 Member Organisations and the annual Awards for Excellence in Fundraising is one key way in which we can broadly celebrate the impact of Australian fundraisers.

Sharon also commented, “we should also consider the positive image this brings to an organisation, donors and other stakeholders will see an organisation made up highly skilled people receiving recognition from their industry – a true vote of confidence that brings great credibility.”

We invite you to read the Finalists Wall featured at the 2023 FIA Conference, enjoy the celebrations at the Gala Awards Dinner and engage with social posts featuring the deserving finalists and winners wherever possible.