CELEBRATING THE FUNDRAISING PROFESSION THROUGH NEW NATIONAL APPRECIATION DAY
Fundraise For Australia urges charities nationwide to come together on a new national appreciation day to acknowledge and honour the invaluable contributions made by fundraising professionals in driving positive change in our society.
Fundraising professionals play a vital role in supporting charitable organisations and nonprofit causes, channelling resources to where they are most needed. Their commitment and expertise in mobilising funds are essential for driving social change, tackling societal challenges, and creating a better future for all.
Fundraisers are the unsung heroes of some of the most transformative gifts in this nation’s history and are a critical part of a not for profit’s team, culture, and a conduit to the change their missions implore.
While Australia is a generous nation - currently ranked fourth in the World Giving Index, which considers three measures of generosity: financial, time, and acts of service - its rates of giving in relation to GDP are low in comparison to similar societies worldwide (0.81 per cent), but with a new commitment from the current government to double philanthropic giving by 2030, there is a real opportunity to develop a new culture of giving within the country and to develop the infrastructure to ensure this goal is realised.
A critical part of that infrastructure will be frontline fundraisers - those who build cases of support and will need to make these additional ‘asks’ to grow and secure a larger share of funding - but they are often missing from the conversation and have been ultimately missing from the policies informing the governments 2030 goal. This must change.
To do so, fundraisers and the social sector at large should come together and call for further professionalisation of our work, and acknowledging their work is an important step forward in achieving this.
That is why Fundraise for Australia is proposing the establishment of Fundraiser Appreciation Day. The observance shall occur on the first Friday of July, which is the first Friday following the end of the financial year in Australia, and the end of a very important month for charities nationwide. June is the time when we see more donation revenue come through than any other month. This year, Fundraiser Appreciation Day will be on Friday 7th July 2023.
Source: Blackbaud 2021
There is currently no national appreciation day for professional fundraisers in Australia and its establishment is important for several reasons:
Awareness and Education: A national appreciation day brings attention to the profession of fundraising and helps raise awareness about its significance. Many people may not fully understand the complexities and challenges involved in raising funds effectively. By highlighting the work of fundraisers, it promotes education and understanding of their role in facilitating social change and addressing societal needs.
Recognition and Gratitude: Fundraising professionals play a crucial role in supporting nonprofit organisations, charities, and other causes by raising the necessary funds to carry out their missions. An appreciation day provides an opportunity to recognize and express gratitude for their hard work, dedication, and contribution to society.
Encouragement and Motivation: Fundraising can be a demanding and challenging profession with several research reports sharing fundraisers average time spent in their roles being at 16 months (with about a third leaving the profession entirely). Recognising fundraisers through a national appreciation day can provide a morale boost and serve as a source of encouragement and motivation. It lets fundraisers know that their work is valued which can inspire them to continue their efforts with renewed enthusiasm.
Recruitment and Professionalism: By highlighting the importance of fundraising through a national appreciation day, it can attract more individuals to consider the profession as a career choice. It also emphasises the need for professionalism, ethical standards, and ongoing training and development within the field.
Networking and Collaboration: A national appreciation day for professional fundraisers can serve as a platform for networking and collaboration. It has the potential to bring together fundraisers from various organisations, creating opportunities to share best practices, exchange ideas, and build relationships. Such interactions can lead to increased collaboration and synergies among fundraisers, ultimately benefiting the broader philanthropic community.
The stigma around what a fundraiser is and what they do needs to change. Being ‘not for profit’ is a tax status not a business model. Granted, a unique one at that, but one that is deserving of better.
Sales people get big bonuses, commissions, awards, and holidays solely for the money raised and products sold. While we are not advocating for that, we do need to start telling the stories of how fundraisers make change happen.
What are their roles in securing 8 figure gifts? How do they go about threading the needle of affinity, capacity, legacy and outcomes? And how do they weave together vision and the technical know-how to fund research to name but a few?
Just about every charity relies on donations for some of its work, and that means a good fundraiser can be worth their weight in gold to an organisation. That’s also why the National Skills Commission has identified fundraising is one of Australia’s fastest-growing occupations.
And as Rogare, the fundraising think tank articulately put, fundraisers connect people who want to change the world, underwriting charities’ successes and insure against their failures.
It’s time to shine a light on the work of our fundraisers not only to support retention and career development but to inspire a new golden age of giving, not continue to work in the background seeing this work in a vacuum.
We thank all those working hard on the frontlines of change. It’s truly making a difference and will help lead to everything I know this profession can be. Fundraise for Australia stands with you and looks forward to helping celebrate your contributions to our nation on Friday 7th July. Your passion, drive, and commitment deserve our heartfelt appreciation and recognition.