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Australia Triumphs at Global Fundraising Awards

Thursday, 21st October 2010 at 11:56 am
Staff Reporter
An iconic Australian charity and an Aussie volunteer have triumphed at the Resource Alliance Global Awards for fundraising – the world’s first global awards for fundraising - announced in the Netherlands.

Thursday, 21st October 2010
at 11:56 am
Staff Reporter



Australia Triumphs at Global Fundraising Awards
Thursday, 21st October 2010 at 11:56 am


Above: Outstanding Volunteer of the YearMichaelCowan rode 1000km on his Penny Farthing to raise money for AsthmaFoundationNSW.

An iconic Australian charity and an Aussie volunteer have triumphed at the Resource Alliance Global Awards for fundraising – the world’s first global awards for fundraising – announced in the Netherlands.

The Royal Flying Doctor Service – (Victorian Section), which provides emergency evacuation for patients requiring care in specialist hospitals, beat off competition from three other shortlisted entries in the Big Idea, Small Budget category.

In announcing the winner at a gala award ceremony in Amsterdam overnight, organisers said transferring patients over long distances was very challenging, with the average trip taking 6 hours and 20 minutes. The Royal Flying Doctor Service launched an appeal which raised over AU$1m to acquire a jet that would reduce the flying time for patients by half. This heralded a new era for the future of patient care.

Back in Melbourne, the Director of Development of RFDS Victorian Section, Nicole Dunham says she always knew the campaign was a winner given that it had won at the FIA's national fundraising awards but never dreamed it would win on the international stage.

But she says the win is very exciting and a wonderful way to complete the fundraising campaign.

In the category of Outstanding Volunteer the winner is a volunteer from the Asthma Foundation NSW, Michael Cowan -an 

Above: The Royal Flying Doctor Service raised over $1 million to acquire a jet to reduce flying time for emergency patients by half.

extreme sportsman from the Hunter Region of NSW. Cowan rode a Penny Farthing continuously for nine days covering distances of up to 170km a day and raised AUS$75,000, double the previous year’s income form volunteer fundraisers.

Cowan, who already held the NSW and Australian titles, rode 1,000 kms to raise money for asthma research and help raise awareness about the chronic disease that affects 1:9 children and 1:9 adults in Australia, admitted to having tears rolling down his cheeks as they called out his name at the Awards ceremony.

A very excited Cowan says the organisers showcased his video on the big screen along with the other finalists and when the TV commercial played and they saw the kangaroos there was a big "aaaww " from the 900 plus crowd.

Cowan says he held hands with the two people next to him as the drum rolled and the presenter said “And the winner is…. Michael Cowan.

He says he made his way to the stage like he had just won an Oscar shaking hands and kissing complete strangers. He had a standing ovation that he says lasted an eternity.

Michele Goldman, CEO of Asthma Foundation NSW was the first to offer her congratulations saying Michael has been a great ambassador for Asthma Foundation NSW.

She says his incredible passion and his sterling efforts first on a unicycle and then on the Penny Farthing has raised the best part of $100,000.

Both award winners had won FIA National Awards for Excellence in Fundraising and were nominated by the FIA.

Action Aid UK, which aims to harness and enable local people to secure their rights to food, water, education and safety from conflicts and disasters, won in the category for Innovative Fundraising Campaign. In October 2009, the charity focused on one area in the UK, Yorkshire, Leeds, with the aim of working closely with supporters and the community to recruit supporters. In the first week, the campaign took up 20% of prime airtime of the main regional TV news program and response rates to inserts were 192% higher than its national campaign, which took place at the same time.

The Resource Alliance Global Awards for Fundraising rewards creative work that demonstrates best practice in fundraising. It recognises excellence in 4 categories from Big Idea, Small Budget to Outstanding Volunteer and is open to both organisations and individuals.

Neelam Makhijani, chief executive of the Resource Alliance said there was excitement and enthusiasm from those who entered the Awards, which were across boundaries and a range of causes and the judging panel showed equal enthusiasm when considering the entries.

Per Stenbeck, Executive Director, WaterAid Sweden and one of the judges said the inaugural Awards had entries submitted from around the world with the winners demonstrating a level of work that the judges found particularly impressive.

The winners are:

Category: Big Idea, Small Budget

Royal Flying Doctor Service – Victorian Section, Australia

Category: Innovative Fundraising Campaign

ActionAid, UK

Category: Fundraiser of the Year

Arundhati Ghosh, India

As deputy director of India Foundation for the Arts, Arundhati Ghosh has raised funds from a variety of donors, including foundations, family trusts, corporate and individuals.

Category: Outstanding Volunteer

Michael Cowan, Australia

The high-profile international panel of judges included some of the sector’s leading lights:


  • Dame Stephanie Shirley, Founder and Executive Producer, The British Government's Founding Ambassador for Philanthropy, UK
  • Ashvin Dayal, Managing Director, Rockefeller Foundation, Asia;
  • Kumi Naidoo, International Executive Director, Greenpeace International, Netherlands;
  • Paulette V. Maehara, President and CEO, Association of Fundraising Professionals, International Headquarters, USA 
  • Per Stenbeck, Executive Director, Water Aid, Sweden.

Resource Alliance is an international NGO working to build the capacity of Not for Profit organisations to mobilise funds and local resources for their causes, largely focusing on work in the Global South and developing countries.

Michael Cowan's TV commercial can be viewed here.  



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