Two weeks on from the 2022 Fundraising Institute Australia (FIA) annual conference, and we are still processing just how incredible it was! While we were there to connect with those in the sector and share our knowledge on grants best practices, we were the ones who walked away with a deeper understanding of just how the sector has been coping with the challenges of the last few years.  

After two years of not being able to come together in person for this event, it was incredibly powerful to see just how resilient—and real—the sector remains. 

Things we learned from the 2022 Fundraising Institute Australia conference  

The sector is ready for face-to-face events 

From networking drinks to full session rooms and a sold-out gala dinner, fundraisers (over 870 of them!) were out in full force and LOVING it.  

 Some even made the trip from overseas! 

Fundraisers are as open and transparent as ever 

Yes – conferences are a place to share learnings. But this year’s vibe felt a little different. Fundraisers were incredibly open about sharing some of the challenges they have faced, especially in the wake of recent natural disasters and the global pandemic.

There were some incredible case studies where speakers did not hold back, including Stephen Lewin, CEO, Youth Insearch, who shared the organisation’s incredible grants growth in recent years—even sharing the time they had to give money BACK to a funder—, Tatiana Isaacs, General Manager Fundraising, Redkite, who openly shared their fundraising framework in order to help others build a successful fundraising strategy in a post-pandemic world, and Rob Needham, Head of Fundraising, Endeavour Foundation, who shared their journey on creating an internal philanthropic culture. 

Global issues and diversity are being celebrated and shared 

This year, FIA introduced a new track titled Emerging Issues & Global Trends that Strategic Grants was proud to sponsor. This track explored issues that are not typically a part of the fundraising conference circuit, including accepting gifts in cryptocurrency and using Artificial Intelligence to combat COVID-related fundraising issues. It also explored incredibly important diversity fundraising initiatives, including a global phenomenon connecting approximately 1 million Muslims in raising over a quarter of a billion dollars and an analysis on LGBTIQ+ giving.

We are looking forward to seeing how this track evolves for future conferences.  

Despite the challenges of the last few years, fundraisers are on their game 

The pandemic may have gotten fundraisers down, but it certainly did not get them out. This was evident during the excellence in fundraising awards during the FIA gala dinner where innovation across the sector was celebrated. Check out our LinkedIn post for a full list of winners.  

Were you at the conference this year? We would love to hear what you thought! And if we did not get a chance to catch up, there is no better time than to reach out about how we can support your grants-seeking best practices, including how our Grants Expertise Management System GEMS can save you precious time when it comes to grants prospect research.