Were you one of the over 1,200 delegates who flocked to the Brisbane Convention Centre for the 2024 Fundraising Institute of Australia (FIA) conference? It was officially the biggest FIA conference in history! 

We are still buzzing from three days of incredible conversations, inspiring ideas and the general excitement that happens when the for-purpose sector comes together. 

Here are some of our favourite moments. 

Standing with our Ukrainian friends 

Please donate to Tabletochki if you can. 

It was standing room only for the powerful conversation lead by Svitlana Pugach and Olha Poliakh who joined the conference all the way from the Ukraine to share their incredibly brave story of leading their children’s cancer charity, Tabletochki, through a war. 

Little Dmytro with Tabletochki plush ‘tablet/pill’ ambassador – Tabletockhi translates to tablet. 

Despite operating under incredibly challenging conditions (including having friends and family killed or seriously injured during the war), they so humbly shared their journey of supporting the children and families that rely on Tabletochki.  

Making international news – their feature in the Washington Post. 

Their aim is that no child in Ukraine will die of cancer, and they continue their work despite everything, even during such dangerous and uncertain times. 

Powerful take-aways from Svitlana and Olga from Tabletochki children’s charity in the Ukraine. 

Strategic Grants’ Director Jo with Olha (left) and Svitlana – happy to finally be in Australia after a 3-day journey! 

Supporting the ‘Pay what it takes’ initiative 

While the report by Social Australia Ventures and Centre for Social Impact was launched two years ago, the campaign by the for-purpose sector is still going strong. Delegates were encouraged to download the guide and sign the pledge. To reframe overhead, collective action is required. Find out more and pledge your support here. 

Jo pledging Strategic Grants’ support of the Pay what it Takes campaign.  

Unpacking Ancillary Funds 

We’re passionate about educating the sector on grants best-practice, and it’s always an honour to be able to share the stage with our charity and funder partners. This year, Denise Cheng, National Manager, Active Philanthropy, Equity Trustees and Sandy Murdoch, CEO, Traction for Young People AND Co-founder of Towards a Better Future Private Ancillary Fund (PAF), which Equity manages,

both shared insights on engaging with Ancillary Funds, and in Sandy’s case, the motivation behind establishing a PAF with his family.  

Top takeaways (GEMS subscribers have full access to the slide deck, plus an extra behind the scenes exclusive with Denise in your Knowledge Centre): 

  • Relationships are key. Keep abreast of changing objectives. 
  • Be confident WHY your organisation exists and WHY you need support. 
  • Use networks for introductions to PAFs that have no public visibility. 
  • Listen to referrer’s advice – if the fit isn’t right, it isn’t right. 
  • Understand each other’s expectations. Ensure you deliver the agreed outcomes reporting, to demonstrate benefits, learning and impact.  
  • Understand mechanics of different giving structures. Engage, and treat all as partners. 
  • It’s ok to educate funders on reporting expectations. Ask the questions: Why do you want that particular data set? How will you use it?   

Pictured left to right: Denise Cheng, Sandy Murdoch, Jo Garner 

Respectful engagement with First Nations Peoples 

As we continue our Reconciliation journey, we were thrilled to see the session “How to engage respectfully with First Nations Peoples” on the program. Facilitated by Chris Mills, Monash University, Jamil Tye, Director, William Cooper Institute Monash University, shared learnings and lessons on Indigenous cultural awareness. Jamil is a proud Yorta Yorta/Boon Wurrung man whose family have been integral to the Aboriginal activism movement throughout Victoria from the 1880’s to the present day. 

Chris Mills and Jamil Tye. 

Meeting our wonderful clients and creating new partnerships! 

One of our favourite things about conferences is connecting with our charity partners. Sector events are sometimes the only opportunity we get to connect face-to-face, and we don’t waste a moment!

The SG stand. 

The lovely Lyndal from RSPCA QLD and Helen from Anglicare SQ having a chat in the SG grants best-practice lounge! 

SG Grants Strategist Bianca with long-time partner and friend Naomi from Royal Flying Doctor Service Queensland. We are so grateful to Naomi for nominating SG as a Supplier of the Year Award and while we didn’t take out the National Award, we are a proud State finalist.  

Launch of benchmarking highlights

Thank you to everyone who stopped by our stand to say hi. If you weren’t at the conference, we launched our inaugural Grants Funding & the For-Purpose Sector Benchmark Report. If you are keen to compare your organisation’s grant-seeking processes and success rates, be sure to download the public version of the report and join us 3 April as we unpack the key findings. 

Finally, congratulations to all the FIA Awards for Excellence in fundraising winners! Read the full list of winners here.