Liz Henderson reveals which organisations and people were honoured at the sector’s awards night in March.

TrophyOxfam Australia and MS Research Australia have each taken out two awards in this year’s Fundraising Institute Australia Awards for Excellence, which saw 14 honours bestowed on 12 organisations.

Its Nepal Earthquake Appeal won Oxfam Australia awards for ‘Emergency Relief Appeal Over $5 million’ and ‘Most Outstanding Fundraising Project’ after more than 37,000 new donors gave, 1,108 of whom became regular donors (see case study on page 13).

MS Research Australia scooped ‘Special Events Under $5 million’ and ‘Most Effective Creative Campaign’ for the Kiss Goodbye to MS 2015 national awareness and fundraising campaign. This raised over $1 million in 2015 for MS research compared to $833,000 in 2014 in spite of a significant dip in corporate sponsorship. One successful strategy was seeking publicity through celebrities and bloggers, one of whom shared a daily selfie wearing red lippy (the campaign logo) through the campaign month of May. 

Acquisition standouts

The International Women’s Development Agency followed its 2014 FIA award with another win, this time for ‘Donor Acquisition Under $5 million’, lauding the charity’s first try at using a petition to generate online leads who were then asked by phone to support women’s rights in the Asia-Pacific region (see page 16 for a case study).

In the ‘Over $5 million’ category, Royal Life Saving Society WA (RLSSWA) triumphed for its Royalty VIP Memberships Club. From the club’s launch in October 2013 to June 2015, this regular giving program enlisted 7,032 new supporters for the organisation. Giving via automated debit or credit card, to enter into monthly raffle prize draws, they contributed an impressive cumulative revenue of $940,168 from a $606,928 investment, to minimise the burden of drowning on WA families.

Industry-topping capital, events and renewal campaigns

Diabetes Queensland won ‘Donor Renewal Under $5 million’ for its first survey and reactivation campaign. A pack canvassing 7,014 donors of $40+ from 2011 to 2015 received a huge 1,507 replies – a response rate of 21.5%, well over the industry benchmark of 4-5%. Also more than $47,000 was donated, 15% of people mailed made a donation, and 22 confirmed their intention to give in their wills.

The award for ‘Special Events Over $5 million’ went to St Vincent de Paul Society Victoria for waking up the CEO Sleepout. From 2013 to 2014, participation and income had declined by almost a third. So for 2015 revival strategies included creating a new income stream by inviting executive teams; a LinkedIn InMail campaign to 3,500 Melbourne CEO prospects; and providing registrants with e-mail and social media templates to encourage peer involvement. With 231 CEOs and community leaders signing on for the events (up 56%), income was $1.03 million, 116% more than in 2014.

Taking home honours for ‘Capital Campaigns Over $5 million’ was Ronald McDonald House South East Queensland’s ‘Power of Love’ campaign. This required the charity to go from mostly doing community fundraising and having no major donor program, to raising over $15.5 million in gifts and pledges by July 31 2015 to build new accommodation for families of seriously ill kids being treated in Brisbane.

Helping overcome the challenge? The input of advocates recruited to the Campaign Planning Committee, whose enthusiasm assisted in the development of a pool of more than 200 qualified major donor prospects.

Individual winners

This year two great fundraisers shared the Arthur Venn Fundraiser of the Year Award – Peter Dalton and Jennifer Doubell (see article on page 18). Volunteer of the Year was Kevin Enchelmaier, who for nine years has driven the safety vehicle following cyclists for the Mater Foundation’s Smiling for Smiddy fundraising campaign.

Young Fundraiser of the Year was Guide Dogs SA/NT’s Executive Manager, Business Development, Andrew Sabatino – named a sector ‘Mover and Shaker’ in F&P’s August/September 2015 – who has helped lift his organisation’s revenue from $1.6 million to over $8.6 million in six years.


National award category

Winner’s name

Campaign (where relevant)

Donor Acquisition



Under $5 million

International Women’s Development Agency

‘End the Right to Rape’

Over $5 million

Royal Life Saving Society WA

Royalty VIP Club

Donor Renewal



Under $5 million

Diabetic Association of Queensland (Diabetes Queensland)

Survey and reactivation

Over $5 million

Berry Street

‘Enough! No More Hurt’

Major Gifts Over $5 million

Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research

Centenary Campaign (Phase One)

Bequests/Gifts in Wills



Under $5 million


Gifts in Wills Marketing

Over $5 million

National Stroke Foundation

Gifts in Wills Direct Marketing

Capital Campaigns



Under $5 million

Hear and Say

‘Project Possiblity’

Under $5 million

Ronald McDonald House South East Queensland

‘Power of Love’

Special Events



Under $5 million

MS Research Australia

‘Kiss Goodbye to MS’

Over $5 million

St Vincent de Paul Society Victoria

Vinnies CEO Sleepout

Emergency Relief Appeal



Over $5 million

Oxfam Australia

Nepal Earthquake Appeal 2015

Most Outstanding Fundraising Project

Oxfam Australia

Nepal Earthquake Appeal 2015

Most Effective Creative Campaign

MS Research Australia

‘Kiss Goodbye to MS’

Arthur Venn Fundraisers of the Year

Peter Dalton, Jennifer Doubell


Volunteer of the Year

Kevin Enchelmaier


Young Fundraiser of the Year

Andrew Sabatino




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