Strategic Grants Director Jo was honoured at the FIA 2017 Conference Awards Dinner to receive the Arthur Venn Fundraiser of the Year Award. 


 Author: Jo Garner



Sharing the recognition

“It’s all about relationships, Jo Jo” These are the words of one of my dearest friends, Mary Martyn, who I met in the 90’s at a Fundraising Institute Australia (FIA) Conference. Mary was a dedicated and passionate fundraiser who I had the joy of working with directly from 2002 over which time we became firm friends. To me, Mary epitomised what fundraising is all about. Relationships, excellent communications, and of course, hard work. She was always updating grant-makers and major donors with the exciting outcomes that their gifts and grants were enabling, which often lead to repeat and higher level donations.

Sadly, Mary lost her long but oh so brave battle with cancer in November last year, which is why I was moved to dedicate my recent Arthur Venn Fundraiser of the Year award to her.

I was not only surprised to receive this award, but also honoured and extremely humbled.

“The Arthur Venn Fundraiser of the Year Award recognises a fundraiser who has made an outstanding contribution to fundraising in Australia. The fundraiser should have shown consistent excellence and best practice through their actions, leadership and intellect.”FIADInner

It remembers one of the founders of FIA and teachers of fundraising in Australia, Arthur Venn. Arthur was a mentor to many fundraisers and a teacher who sought to build pride in those who took up fundraising as a profession.

For me, the work that I lead with my team in both our roles with Strategic Grants and all the voluntary roles that we each participate in, within our local communities, is simply, a way of life. People often ask, how do I fit it all in? To be able to help others who are in need via the work we do both directly and indirectly is gratifying and a privilege. Yes, it’s hard work, but it’s also fun! I am very fortunate to be surrounded by people who have the same philosophy. And even more proud that my children are also passionate about helping those in need via their own fundraising and community support endeavours.

Interestingly, most of our current team had not worked specifically in NFPs prior to their role with Strategic Grants. What then did I look for when recruiting? Excellent communicators who could relate to a diverse range of people and causes, with a passion for helping organisations achieve their missions. All just like Mary.

And what do I put my achievements down to? In the words of someone who inspired me from my early childhood, Helen Keller, “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”

The power of positivity cannot be underestimated in creating success, whatever success means for you.


A huge congratulations to all the other winners and nominees, including some of our nonprofit partners, on the impactful work you do so well!

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