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Time to head back to (fundraising) school

27 April 2021 at 8:21 am
Fundraising Institute Australia’s ongoing professional development program is designed to enrich and deepen your fundraising knowledge and skills. Wherever you are in your career, FIA’s program offers a practical and engaging way to learn the latest fundraising concepts, trends and techniques. Here’s what’s new for 2021.

Contributor | 27 April 2021 at 8:21 am


Time to head back to (fundraising) school
27 April 2021 at 8:21 am

Fundraising Institute Australia’s ongoing professional development program is designed to enrich and deepen your fundraising knowledge and skills. Wherever you are in your career, FIA’s program offers a practical and engaging way to learn the latest fundraising concepts, trends and techniques. Here’s what’s new for 2021.

Fundraising Institute Australia (FIA) is launching several new short courses this year for fundraising professionals looking to broaden their skillsets in some of the more specialised areas of fundraising.

Karen Mutch, FIA’s executive manager of education, said FIA had developed these new offerings because there is a shortage of fundraisers with expertise in specialised areas of fundraising that are becoming increasingly important.

She noted that fundraisers had asked FIA for more professional development in digital fundraising and gift in wills, especially in navigating the estate management process of receiving a bequest, and digital acquisition for gifts in wills. Fundraisers are also looking to enhance their capabilities in obtaining positive PR for their campaign or mission, attracting the next generation of donors, and conducting major campaigns involving multiple stakeholders.

“We have great fundraisers across Australia who are looking for more knowledge, confidence and practice in these specialised areas. We do our best to tailor and deliver what fundraisers want and need to do their jobs better,” Mutch said.

Where there’s a will…

Estate Management 101 is a new half-day course designed to help fundraisers obtain some practical information on getting started or improving the estate management process. It covers the key steps needed to manage the process from gifts in wills notification to the closure of a bequest, with examples and exercises to illustrate best practice. Taught by Maureen Koegel and Chris Coates of Bequest Assist, Estate Management 101 also helps fundraisers better understand wills, conduct effective communication with key individuals such as executors and solicitors, and work productively with other charity beneficiaries.

FIA has also partnered with Digital Ninjas to deliver a Digital Gifts in Wills Strategies course to show fundraisers how to create more impact with their bequest program. In this one-day course, managing director Jon Dawson will explain how to acquire qualified gifts in wills leads through digital channels, create the perfect proposition, best practice audience targeting, and tips for managing creative and supporter journeys.

How to work some PR magic

Here’s a good one for small charities with limited PR resources – From Zero to Hero: How to Get Your Stories in the Media. Fundraisers will learn from an experienced journalist how to create a wealth of stories targeted to specific media outlets. Taught by accomplished journalist Tony Nicholls from Good Talent Media, participants will leave this session with a fresh understanding of the news cycle, how to package stories that will get picked up, and ways fundraisers can get their message across in any circumstances.

Attracting the Donors of Tomorrow and Taking Them to Your Board is a two-day intensive workshop created in partnership with Hancock Creative to help fundraisers find and engage younger donors and future proof them for one’s cause. Anna Hill, Hancock Creative’s head of mentoring, will discuss how to find and keep the new generation of donors, how to research and understand data and analytics, and the best ways to present findings to one’s board and CEO to make the biggest impact. 

On the campaign trail

How to Deliver a Successful, Transformational Multi-Million Dollar Fundraising Campaign is a new two-day intensive course to help fundraisers assess their readiness to undertake major campaigns and the elements they require for long-term campaign success. Created in partnership with Peter Dalton and James Garland, directors of the DGB Group, this course will help fundraisers align their campaigns to the donor journey and life cycle. The instructors also offer ways to deliver long-term development across all influencers and donor streams, including major donors, the public, corporate partners, ambassadors and the media.

In addition to these new offerings, FIA offers several other ‘crash courses’ that quickly equip fundraisers with solid, practical skills. There’s a one-day Fundraising Essentials workshop for those at the beginning of their fundraising career. Those further down the track in their careers can hone their skills through short courses like Copywriting for Impact and Donor Journey Mapping.

A more detailed study of fundraising is available for mid-level and senior fundraisers via the FIA Certificate in Professional Fundraising or the 12-month Diploma in Professional Fundraising.

It’s all academic: new webinar series

If you like the idea of lunchtime learning, FIA offers a regular webinar series. This series has been revamped for 2021 and will focus more on research and trends in fundraising, with academics from universities across Australia and overseas presenting their findings. Upcoming topics include the phenomenon of double jeopardy in marketing trends and the changing face of not-for-profit organisations.

Free mentoring program available to members

If you’re an FIA member and need people to talk to about your fundraising career, you can participate in FIA’s free national mentoring program. The mentoring program has been going from strength to strength, with this year’s program extended to nine months. 

Through the program, mentees can obtain career advice, find support for their ideas and learn more about the fundraising sector. For mentors, it’s a chance to give back to the profession and impart their considerable knowledge and expertise to an interested audience. 

FIA also offers in-house training, which can be customised and tailored to a fundraising team’s needs. There’s also the pinnacle of the profession – the Certified Fund Raising Executive accreditation (CFRE). FIA offers regular CFRE study sessions to help fundraisers prepare to obtain this prestigious credential, which is recognised globally.

And if you just want to curl up with a fundraising book, FIA’s education department even offers a library resource centre and bookshop with a wealth of books and resources available for members to borrow or purchase.

All FIA courses will be offered online (either self-paced or tutor-led) for the next few months. However, FIA’s education team hope to return to some in-class offerings in the second half of the year as the pandemic slowly recedes from Australia’s shores.

“We will re-evaluate these measures regularly and resume in-person classes as soon as we are able, based on the public health guidelines,” Mutch said. 

Need to know more? Call FIA’s education and professional development team on 1300 889 670, email or visit

FIA’s entry-level courses are for fundraisers with limited knowledge of a topic area. Intermediate courses are for those with some understanding of a subject area who would like to extend their skills. Advanced courses are for fundraisers with extensive experience who are keen to take their fundraising practice to the next level. FIA offers professional development to suit different learning styles or time commitments, including webinars, online self-paced courses or online tutor-led learning, and half-day and full-day workshops as well as two-day intensives.


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