Fundraising Programs in Australia
Records show that systematic fundraising began in Australia around 1875, as part of the Benevolent Society of NSW’s attempt to “organise the philanthropic instincts of the citizens of the colony of NSW”. In more recent times, the Wells Organisation, a church fundraising program, began an Australian chapter in 1954. Within 2 years, Wells was employing about 30 people each in Sydney and Melbourne. Non-church fundraising also expanded, with funds benefitting Sovereign Hill in Central Victoria, and the Pharmaceutical College in Parkville Melbourne.
The demands on fundraising employees, which included constant travelling and long hours, took its toll, as individuals quit to start their own companies or join non-profits. To put the industry on a more professional footing, the Australasian Society of Fundraisers (ASF) was formed in 1968, which evolved over 4 years into The Australasian Institute of Fundraising (TAIF). Chapters were quickly established throughout Australia, and then in New Zealand (which later became the Fundraising Institute of New Zealand) and Tasmania.
In 1988, TAIF became incorporated under the Fundraising Institute-Australia (FIA) Inc. It has been holding biennial national conferences since 1974, with attendance usually numbering around 500 individuals made up mostly of FIA members. In the late 1980s, TAIF became a Foundation Member of the World Fundraising Council, which consists of national fundraising organizations from around the world. FIA now maintains a network of associations with fundraising groups globally including organizations in the U.S., U.K., and New Zealand. FIA is also a Participating Organisation in CFRE International, an international body established to provide certification for fundraising professionals.
The FIA puts forward a series of goals:
- providing a forum for discussion on common concerns
- providing opportunities for continuing professional education
- researching, developing and disseminating relevant information
- representing the professional interests of each fundraiser within the Government arena
- fostering ethical standards for the management, direction and counseling for fundraising programs
FIA members are individuals who are primarily engaged in professional fundraising. Members employ all sorts of fundraising activities, from peeler fundraiser programs to charity balls. These members have united to make the profession better and to serve communities. They all have a commitment to fundraising and to philanthropy. FIA members work with non-profit organizations in a variety of fields, including medical, arts, educational, religious, community and welfare service as well as sporting and social fields. FIA membership indicates an individual’s lifetime commitment to the ideals of fundraising and philanthropy.