Fundraisers from 10 Catholic organisations gathered at Catholic Mission’s office in North Sydney on Monday to learn more about the Fundraising Institute of Australia’s new Code of Conduct.
FIA Chief Executive Officer Rob Edwards, independent Chair of the Institute’s newly formed Code Authority Ursula Stephens, and the FIA’s Executive Manager of Regulatory Affairs Scott McClellan were on hand to talk through the changes in the new code, which was approved in June, and their implications for fundraising organisations.
"This is the first presentation we’ve made to this kind of group of day-to-day practitioners of fundraisers," Mr McClellan said. "It is a good chance to have open discussion."
Each of the three FIA representatives spoke during an in-depth examination of the new code, which will be in force from January 2018.
Mr McClellan said the new code is more concise and includes a greater focus on the conduct of organisations when engaging with supporters, particularly those who are vulnerable.
According to the FIA website, the code is voluntary and self-regulatory, which aims to to raise standards of conduct across the sector by going beyond the requirements of government regulation. The code covers ethical behaviours, conduct towards donors and beneficiaries and adherance to it is a requirement of FIA membership.
Fr Brian Lucas, National Director of Catholic Mission, said the gathering was a valuable opportunity to glean insight from those who had put the new code together.
"We are grateful to Rob, Ursula and Scott for their time and expertise in sharing with us about the new Code of Conduct," he said.
"The Catholic brand is very precious and we need to be at the forefront of good fundraising practice.
"This was a great opportunity for a variety of organisations, including the Archdiocese of Sydney, CatholicCare, Caritas, Jesuit Mission, Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, Divine Word Mission, and Columban Mission, to gain a greater understanding of how best we can engage with the new code, specifically in terms of fundraising within the Catholic sphere."
Both Fr Lucas and Ms Stephens indicated the likelihood of other similar forums in the future. "This is a very informative session and one that would be helpful for charity representatives in other cities also," said Fr Lucas.
Catholic agencies gather to discuss new fundraisers code of conduct (Catholic Mission)