What did you want to be when you grew up?
Initially, a choreographer, which is amusing because I really can’t dance. Then I wanted to be a marine biologist and then a doctor (based on the extensive ‘be a doctor or a lawyer’ careers ‘advice’ at my school!). So, I took science A-levels (VCEs) and it turns out they were neither my passion nor my strength – which feeds into my belief that almost no one knows what they want to do at 16 and that careers should be ever-evolving, twisting, turning journeys.
How did you get into the not-for-profit sector?
My career started in event coordination in London. When I moved to Australia, I did a brief stint in hospitality and strawberry picking on the Sunshine Coast (which was blissful!). When I settled in Melbourne, I moved into an events role at RSPCA Victoria and the rest is history. My career has spanned events, fundraising and communications across my roles at the RSPCA, St Kilda Mums and Bayley House, and I have learnt so much along the way.
Tell us about the work you do?
Three weeks ago, I moved into the Content Creator role at F&P and I’m loving it! My job is to write, research and edit content for our print magazine, e-newsletters, website, social media channels, conferences and webinars.
Why did you make the switch from not-for-profit to F&P?
My first love is writing.
As my career has progressed, I have really observed what does, and does not, make me happy when it comes to work. And I’ve realised a few things. My written work, and telling a story in the best possible way, is what has always brought me most joy and pride. That I am grateful to have progressed to leadership roles but overseeing teams and being part of the executive was not what made me tick. And that I much prefer ‘doing the doing’ rather than the ‘overseeing’.
When the role at F&P came up, it felt like such a perfect fit in terms of what I wanted to do every day and I knew I’d be doing it for an organisation I already knew and admired through conferences and the magazine.
Plus, I get to work from home, 100% of the time, and whilst that isn’t for everyone, it’s a structure I love. I don’t think I ever want to commute again!
Who or what inspires you?
I learnt a LOT from St Kilda Mums founder, Jessica Macpherson OAM. Jessie is a NFP leader who made it her business to immerse herself in fundraising, which meant she was always at the forefront of helping the organisation raise money. Jessie definitely helped me to hone my writing style, teaching me to write authentically and not overthink it. She’s an ardent supporter of flexible work and championing employment pathways for women. And she’s also the most passionate person I have ever met when it comes to technology (she’s now running her own technology social enterprise, Blaze Your Trail) – she showed me technology can be our best friend!
I’m already learning a lot from F&P Content Director, Clare Joyce, who is teaching me about feature articles and a more journalistic way of writing.
And in my three short weeks, I’ve spoken to some incredible people doing amazing work in the nonprofit world. This role will enable me to take a bird’s eye view of the work happening in our for-purpose sector and I feel very privileged for it.
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?
To put your hand up whenever you can. That came from my dad, and it’s been sage advice. Being a yes person opens doors, there’s no doubt. But I’ve also had to tweak it along the way – there’s no point in saying yes to everything and then feeling overwhelmed.
Can I add another one? My sister and brother-in-law are master job hunters – they have a whole process – and they very much encouraged me to knock on doors at the beginning of my career and not rely solely on sending my CV into the abyss. It was intimidating, but it got me in front of the right people faster, and as I’ve recruited people throughout my career, I’ve always been impressed by people who have been proactive enough to seek me out.
What has caught your eye recently as a great example of fundraising?
The Wayside Chapel gets me every time. I think Jon Owen’s weekly Inner Circle email is beautifully written, impactful and moving and I pretty much open it the second it hits my inbox – I’m often in tears by the time I’ve finished reading.
I recently joined their ‘Voices from the Streets’ event on Facebook Live during Homelessness Week, when Jon spoke with three Wayside Chapel clients about their experience of homelessness.
The event put these three incredible people front and centre of the conversation and they spoke about a huge variety of issues facing people on the streets – not least that stopping to chat with someone sleeping rough is just as powerful as offering money and food. This really stuck with me and reminded me I need to open my eyes more when I’m moving about my city. The event educated me, it touched my heart and it confirmed my regular gift is making a difference – could there be a better example of donor care?
You can contact Fiona at email@example.com