The 2022 FINZ awards, announced last week, celebrate the very best of New Zealand’s fundraising.

The annual Fundraising Institute of New Zealand (FINZ) awards are a highlight on the NZ fundraising calendar and an important moment to recognise the incredible efforts of fundraisers from organisations big and small.

This year’s awards, which reflected on 2020 and 2021 achievements, was loud and proud in sharing the tenacity and ingenuity of the New Zealand NFP sector during a tumultuous two years.

Let’s reveal the winners….

Best Donor Experience

This category included nominations from organisations that put their donor experience at the heart of fundraising, with the award recognising donor-centricity, and commitment and support of donors at the highest level. 

The finalists: 

  1. Save the Children – Saving Our Supporters during a pandemic
  2. Life Flight and Westpac – Saving lives for 40 years

And the winner is… Save The Children  

Judges’ comments: 

This was [a] very thoughtful [campaign that] puts stewardship to the fore. Save The Children are doing the right thing and it is paying off for them, not only in increased retention rates, but also being an organisation that donors are proud to support. [They demonstrate] really good donor centred communication and consistency of messaging.

Best Individual Giving Campaign

For this award, judges were looking for an individual giving campaign that achieved or even surpassed the organisation’s objectives. 

The category recognises the skill and expertise that goes into individual giving campaigns, including face-to-face fundraising, digital, DRTV, direct mail and telemarketing. 

The finalists: 

  1. University of Otago – Student Hardship Campaign
  2. IHC – Smile Club
  3. Variety The Children’s Charity – Give the gift of joy this Christmas

And the winner is… Variety   

Judges’ comments:

An excellent campaign that went above and beyond with donor engagement. Beautiful resources. Creative connection and very heart-warming. [A] very clear and important need to support children and families at Christmas. Excellent results. 

The judges also decided to recognise a highly commended nonprofit in this category to the University of Otago, with the following comments:  

An excellent campaign highlighting an often-hidden area of poverty in New Zealand. [Their nomination was a] clear demonstration of the success of the campaign, the impact on students and learnings and future direction. It was really great to see the level of staff engagement with financial donations – very inspiring.

Best High Value Campaign

This category recognises exceptional high-value programs, including bequests, capital, and high value donor campaigns. The judges were looking for a campaign that truly connected with major donors and increased the number of significant gifts to the organisation. 

The finalists:

  1. Harbour Hospice – Shore Project
  2. Hawkes Bay Community Fitness Centre Trust – Be The Best You Can Be
  3. Amnesty International – Financial Security for Human Rights Impact

 And the winner is… Hawkes Bay Community Fitness Centre Trust

Judges’ comments: 

The Hawke’s Bay Community Fitness Centre Trust began their bold and visionary project and campaign in 2016, ahead of becoming a registered charity with a single donor.  In that regard this campaign was very unique as it sailed past its original NZD$6 – $8 million capital campaign target, reaching close to $20 million in the first phase of a three-stage development totalling over $50 million. And while that aspect of this campaign is amongst its unique features, it was the commitment to best practice fundraising and capital campaign methodology that stood out for the judges.  

The judges decided to recognise a highly commended nonprofit in this category to Harbour Hospice, with the following comments:

This is a vital facility for the North Shore Community and the fundraising campaign showcased the need [as well as] the warmth, care and respect the team have for the patients and families they support. 

Best Partner Relationship

This award recognises an exemplary nonprofit-partner relationship.

The finalists: 

  1. Neonatal Trust and Hells Pizza – Hell Raising
  2. Senior Net NZ and Google 
  3. Life Flight and Westpac – Saving lives for 40 years

And the winner is… Life Flight    

Judges’ comment: 

This is an iconic partnership and Life Flight provides an essential public service. [This is an] incredible relationship that deserves to be celebrated. There needs to be a real recognition of the length of this partnership and how this [demonstrates] to other charities the value of nurturing your partnerships for the long haul.  

The judges decided to recognise a highly commended nonprofit in this category to Neonatal Trust and Hells Pizza, with the following comments:

As a small charity, it is great to see the support from Hells Pizza [for the Neonatal Trust], who the judges note regularly punch above their weight in the charity sector. 

Best use of Event / Community / Fundraising Initiative

This category sought to recognise a fun-filled community event or initiative that engaged with key audiences and increased income and awareness. 

The finalists: 

  1. Te Omanga Hospice – Vintner’s Lunch 2021
  2. Kids Can – The Pork Pie Charity Run
  3. Oxfam – Trail Walker

And the winner is… Oxfam

Judges’ comment: 

There were so many good features in this entry, it was just too hard to go past! Judges were impressed with Oxfam’s success in entirely changing the [event] location and connecting with a new community in a meaningful way. It’s great to see this event getting better year on year. They have a great formula! 

The judges decided to recognise a highly commended nonprofit in this category to both Kids Can and Te Omanga Hospice, with the following comments:

KidsCan: This is always a fun event that engages a wide range of supporters. KidsCan’s meaningful involvement has meant they have been the chosen charity [for this event for five years now.

Te Omanga Hospice – An excellent result for a reinvigorated event. The judges loved the Wishing Wall idea. 

Excellence in Innovation

This award category recognises the year’s most memorable and innovative fundraising campaign. 

It sought to recognise a fun-filled community event or initiative that engaged with key audiences and increased income and awareness. 

The finalists: 

  1. Save The Children – The Good Food Guide
  2. Graeme Dingle Foundation – After 4’s for Tamariki
  3. Orphans Aid – Mystery Banana Box

And the winner is… Save The Children  

Judges’ comment: 

An excellent campaign that is engaging, interactive and perfectly pitched for the audience. 

The judges decided to recognise a highly commended nonprofit in this category to Orphans Aid Banana Box, with the following comments: 

A brilliant idea in such an uncertain time. I hope that they continue with this idea, even outside of lockdowns. 

Best use of digital

The criteria for this award was to put nonprofits forward as digital champions, able to connect with a myriad of audiences across different platforms. 

The finalists: 

  1. Outward Bound – Growth Giver Survey and Appeal
  2. Wellington Free Ambulance – First digital Onesie Day

And the winner is… Outward Bound  

Judges’ comment: 

[We] really liked this campaign! It exceeded its objectives, enabled two new programmes to begin, and gave valuable insights for the fundraising team. 

The judges decided to recognise a highly commended nonprofit in this category to Wellington Free Ambulance, with the following comments: 

We love what WFA have done with this previously, mostly offline campaign. They deserve recognition for their ability to change direction and go fully digital.  

Fundraising newcomer of the year

This category seeks to acknowledge the contribution made by a fundraiser who is new to the sector. To be considered for this award, the person needs to have made an outstanding contribution to fundraising, shown consistent excellence and best practice through their actions, and have demonstrated leadership and intellect.

The finalists: 

  1. Trilby Benge – IHC 
  2. Shalini Raju – Macular Degeneration New Zealand

And the winner is… Trilby Benge   

Judges’ comment: 

Trilby has demonstrated an effective and donor-centric approach to fundraising at IHC.  The positive impact of this approach has been highlighted in financial outcomes, but it is clear that the essence of this success is in her effective and direct engagement with donors.

Fundraising manager / leader of the year 

This new category recognises supportive, inspiring and passionate fundraising leaders.

The finalists: 

  1. Claire Carruthers – Wellington Free Ambulance
  2. Bryony Greenhalgh – Oxfam
  3. Karla Paotonu – Outward Bound
  4. Greg Millar – IHC

And the winner is… Claire Carruthers   

Judges’ comments: 

Claire was chosen because she has not only demonstrated brilliant fundraising skills, but she has worked to influence and improve her entire organisation. Claire shows that she cares about the cause, donors, and the people she works with. She is the kind of fundraising director we all aspire to be. 

The details provided in Claire’s nomination spoke loudly to the judges about her leadership which she was able to provide effectively from the very commencement of her role at WFA.  Her commitment to her team and their needs, to best practice fundraising, and building on what was already a successful fundraising programme demonstrated a passionate and committed fundraising professional the sector can be proud of. 

Face-to-Face fundraiser of the year

The nominees for this award were assessed against the following criteria: 

  • The number of sign ups
  • The average monthly pledge dollar value of those sign ups,
  • The percentage of those donors still active after three months, and
  • What the fundraiser does that makes them an inspiration

The finalists: 

  1. Jessica Impson Davey – Surge Direct
  2. Callum Allison – Cornucopia
  3. Troy Vandergoes – Community Solutions 

And the winner is… Troy Vandergoes   

Judges’ comments: 

The judges were impressed by Troy’s high standards of professionalism and adherence to compliant CovidSAFE fundraising activity. In spite of the challenges of wearing a face mask all day to speak to potential donors, Troy’s ability to connect and inspire people saw over 700 new donors supporting IHC, Hospice Waikato and the National Heart Foundation in 2020. A truly incredible effort in these challenging times. 

Fundraising Excellence Award 

This, the major award of the event, recognises and rewards a nonprofits’ fundraising excellence, with a winner chosen from the categories above. 

And the winner is… Life Flight

 Judges’ comments: 

The significance of a 40-year [corporate] relationship is undeniable and sends an inspiring message to other charities and their supporters. Nurturing a relationship that has survived this long is the essence of fundraising and exemplifies the notion that looking after our people and our communities underpins the real success of our partnership. 

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