The Fundraising Institute of Australia (FIA) Conference is an annual event that brings together professionals from the fundraising sector to connect, learn and share their knowledge about the latest trends and best practices in the industry. 

The 2023 46th FIA Conference was held in Melbourne from the 22nd to the 24th of February and was officially the largest ever FIA conference! It was an incredible opportunity for fundraisers to connect with peers, gain insights from leading experts, and strengthen their skills. 

Following a day of Masterclasses, the conference kicked off on Wednesday afternoon with an opening address from Nuz Hameed, Chair of the Conference Program Committee and Katherine Raskob, CEO of FIA, who highlighted the conference theme of “Together, unlimited”. The record crowd of delegates were also welcomed by Naomi Steer, Global Advisor for UNHCR and Doug Taylor, CEO of the Smith Family, who spoke from the heart about their fundraising journeys and reminded us of the power of hope and that leaders are made, not born.  

A packed opening plenary.

Welcome drinks that evening opened the huge exhibition hall with a bang, with lots of great catch ups, conversations and even roaming freshly shucked oysters delivered to the stand!  Our team loved catching up with clients and friends old and new at this event and over the remaining action-packed two days.  

Tess and Pasanna from team SG at our stand.
Freshly shucked oysters!

On Thursday and Friday, attendees participated in a range of sessions and workshops covering topics such as donor stewardship, the future of fundraising, fighting imposter syndrome and so much more. 

The sessions were led by industry experts and provided attendees with practical insights and strategies to improve their fundraising efforts. 

Read some of our key session takeaways from our team here

Naomi Lehrer, Philanthropy Manager of Royal Flying Doctor Service VIC with Jo Garner, Director of Strategic Grants.

One of the highlights of the Conference is the FIA Awards for Excellence in Fundraising. The awards ceremony recognises the outstanding achievements of fundraisers and organisations in Australia, celebrating their innovation, impact, and dedication to the fundraising profession. 

It was an emotional presentation, which included beautiful speeches from the winners and incredibly important recognition of both fundraising professionals and volunteers from across Australia.  

We were also very excited to see so many Strategic Grants clients taking home well-earned awards! These include Childhood Cancer Support, winner of Impact on a Shoestring for their highly successful Grants Program, in addition to the most Outstanding Fundraising Project, Peter MacCallum Cancer Foundation, winner of the Most Innovative Campaign, Cancer Council QLD, winner of Best Supporter Experience, Ronald McDonald House Charities GWS/SEQ/SYD/SA/VIC-TAS, high commendation for Fundraising Impact Through Creativity, Anglicare Victoria, high commendation for Best Strategic Partnership, Royal Flying Doctor Service QLD, high commendation for Best Pivot Campaign or Initiative and Cerebral Palsy Alliance, high commendation for Fundraising Impact Through Technology.  

Friends from Childhood Cancer Support with a few members of the SG team.

While we’ve all come home with new ideas and tactics to bring to our work, the value of connecting with peers is unparalleled. Being able to connect face-to-face to share ideas, build relationships, and collaborate on new projects and initiatives was a special gift and we’re so grateful for all the fantastic conversations we had and new friends we made.  

FIA Conference 2023 demonstrated the strength and passion of the fundraising profession in Australia, and highlighted the important role that fundraisers play in creating positive change in the world.  

Were you at the conference this year? We would love to hear what you thought! And if we didn’t get a chance to catch up, get in touch to discuss how we can support your grants-seeking best practices, including how our Grants Expertise Management System GEMS can save you hundreds of hours in funding prospect research.  And thirsty for more PD or couldn’t make conference, check out our upcoming Best Practice Grant-Seeker workshops here.   

The Strategic Grants team at the stand.

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