Take a stroll down Feeney Way

UQ has recognised the generosity of US uber-philanthropists, Chuck and Helga Feeney, by naming the thoroughfare outside the iconic Forgan Smith Building ‘Feeney Way’. Chuck and Helga’s ‘Giving While Living’ philosophy has influenced countless philanthropists and had an indelible impact on UQ. Over 14 years, the Feeneys gave more than $100 million to the university via The Atlantic Philanthropies. Those funds helped establish the Institute for Molecular Bioscience, the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, the Queensland Brain Institute, the Centre for Clinical Research and the Translational Research Institute. These institutes are developing research to fight MND and antibiotic resistance, scan melanomas, revolutionise vaccine delivery and house the world’s largest venom collection that could cure and change the way we treat heart disease. This investment fundamentally shifted Queensland’s research ranking, increasing the number of researchers in the state from 8,000 to 18,000 between 1998 and 2011. The Feeney’s giving also funded the UQ Centre, as well as a new home for the UQ Art Museum.


Finding and retaining key staff is one of the biggest challenges for Australian not-for-profits,
as exhaustion takes a toll and employers with deep pockets dominate an increasingly
shallow talent pool.


(Source: Pitcher Partners’ 2022 Not-for-profits Survey)

The evolution of relationship fundraising

Time flies when you are taking care of your donors. It has been 30 years since Ken Burnett first coined the term ‘relationship fundraising’.

Ken’s philosophy influenced an entire generation of fundraisers. Here’s how he describes it: “An approach to the marketing of a cause that centres on the unique and special relationship between a nonprofit and each supporter. Its overriding consideration is to care for and develop that bond and to do nothing that might damage or jeopardise it. Every activity is therefore geared toward making sure donors know they are important, valued, and considered, which has the effect of maximising funds per donor in the long term.”

As the new millennium approached, the concept was refined to include factors that influence how people experience relationships – commitment, satisfaction and trust. Get these right and your donors will love you back. 

The era of Relationship Fundraising 2.0 had a long run, but now there is new research to usher in Relationship Fundraising 3.0 —  a way to double giving by merely tweaking your communications.

Kathryn Edworthy, Adrian Sargeant and Jen Shang from the Institute for Sustainable Philanthropy have jettisoned the idea of cultivating relationships as a means to an end in favour of looking at impact, specifically the impact of giving on the supporter. As a fundraiser, your focus should shift from facilitating gifts and support to stewarding the human capacity to love. 

To find out more, track down the report, Relationship Fundraising 3.0: A Review, Assessment and Experimental Results. According to the authors, by adopting this lens and changing just a few words in your communications, you could multiple donations and bolster wellbeing.

Charity revenue rises… but so do expenses

Here are some key stats from the latest Australian Charities Report (which covers the 2020 reporting period):

• Charity revenue rose to $176 billion — up by more than $10 billion on the previous period

• Donations rose by 8% to $12.7 billion

• Revenue from government rose to $88.8 billion — up $10.7 billion on the previous period, accounting for 50.4% of total revenue  

• Other major revenue sources were goods and services (32.5%) and donations or bequests (7.2%)  

• The 50 largest charities by revenue accounted for 33% of total sector revenue

• Expenses increased by $10.2 billion

• Charities employed 10.5% of all employees in Australia — 1.38 million people

• There was a rise in the proportion of full and part-time employees and a decrease in casual staff

• Education charities employed the most staff — more than 330,000

• 51% of charities reported no paid staff

• Volunteer contribution was high with 3.4 million volunteers, but decreased by 220,000 on the previous period

• Environment charities reported the most volunteers — 810,000

• Approximately half of the sector’s expenses were employee expenses


Return on Gifts in Wills investment is 8.5 times that of Direct Marketing
(Individual Giving ex Major Gifts)


(Source:The Benchmarking Project Essentials Report 2022)

Breaking the pattern

Would you like a piece of iconic Australian art in your pocket or on you home device while also helping to support some of our most vulnerable members of society? That’s what Lighthouse Foundation was counting on when they partnered with Australian artists Ken Done, David Booth and Rachel Castle to create a campaign that uses art to help spread awareness and break the pattern of youth homelessness.

Starting at $2, supporters are able to download and display the digital artworks as limited-edition phone, tablet, computer and social media backgrounds and screensavers. 

Amplify launches to assist grant making 

Amplify is a new capacity building service for Australia’s Private Ancillary Fund (PAF) sector that allows funds to engage in more flexible and ambitious philanthropy while strictly adhering to distribution rules and requirements.

Developed by Creative Partnerships Australia in partnership with the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation, Amplify engages the Australian Cultural Fund, an existing national fundraising platform established by the Commonwealth Government, and provides administrative and operational support to Australia’s PAF sector to assist in distributing funds to arts and culture. Amplify allows PAFs to increase the flexibility and eligibility of their funding, finding unique solutions to help achieve meaningful and impactful grant-making.

Funding to non-DGR recipients Amplify allows PAFs to fund individual artists and organisations without DGR status, providing greater flexibility in funding options and allowing PAFs to direct funds where they are needed most within the arts and cultural sector.

Grant management and administrative services Amplify provides PAFs with a trusted and efficient way to approach giving to the arts. The Australian Cultural Fund offers resources that provide structure to grant-making activity and allow PAFs to utilise best-practice processes without needing to develop them from the ground-up.

Multi-year funding By using Amplify, PAFs can fulfil their annual distribution requirements in one donation to the Australian Cultural Fund, which can then be distributed to recipient organisations over several years, signalling an alignment with global trends in philanthropy towards multi-year and unrestricted grant-making to build capacity and sustainability for the arts and cultural sector.