Spotlight on the FIA Code

The Fundraising Institute Australia (FIA) Code is a voluntary code, aiming to raise standards of conduct across the fundraising sector in Australia. It goes beyond mandatory government regulation, to encourage best practice fundraising for charities and not-for-profits. 

The FIA Code provides guidance to fundraisers on the following key areas:

  • Compliance – The FIA Code reaffirms that members must comply with all laws and regulations applicable to fundraising. It imposes compliance requirements for board members, training requirements, and the obligation to accept the decision of the Code Authority in respect of any complaint made under the Code.
  • Ethical conduct – Members must act honestly and with respect for the causes, donors and beneficiaries they represent. They must value privacy, trust and integrity, and be open about the nature of the work they do.
  • Conduct towards Donors  – Members have a number of obligations in relation to donors. These relate to complying with donors’ reasonable requests, providing opt-out information,  transparency around the cause for the fundraising and use of funds, protecting donor information, refusing donations that are inappropriate for a number of reasons, refraining from unduly influencing or harassing donors, and ensuring the veracity and high ethical standard of promotional materials.
  • Conduct towards Beneficiaries – Members must not engage in conduct that is disparaging towards a beneficiary, or that threatens their dignity. These requirements centre around upholding respect for beneficiaries in promotional materials and in use of language.
  • Conduct in Supplier relationships – Members must have written contracts with parties in their supply chain, specifying the responsibilities of all parties. It is a member’s obligation to ensure that all relevant parties are aware of the member’s obligations under the Code, and that they do not act in a way that could breach the member’s obligations. Members must also ensure supplier costs incurred in fundraising represent fair market value. 
  • Administration and enforcement – While the Code is voluntary, members agree that compliance with the Code will be monitored by the Code Authority, and alleged breaches will be referred to the Code Authority.

FIA has published a series of Practice Notes, which should be read in conjunction with the FIA Code. The Practice Notes cover specific areas and are designed to assist organisations with their implementation of the Code. Access to the Practice Notes is available here.

Our Standards & Performance Pathways (SPP) platform hosts a self-assessment for the FIA Code, accessible to existing FIA members. Using the platform, you can work through a series of user-friendly assessments to track your organisation’s compliance with the Code. It is a convenient way to highlight what you’re doing well, and also identify areas for improvement.

What's new for the Code?

FIA has recently released a new Practice Note on Fundraising and National Disasters. This resource addresses the topical area of national disasters, which can be natural, man-made or otherwise, and for which proceeds of donations can be contentious and challenging.  Fundraising bodies should place donors at the centre of any fundraising interaction.

The Practice Note guides organisations in their responsibility to be transparent about the charitable cause and how donated funds will be used, so that donors can make informed decisions at heightened emotional times, including during national disasters. It is important that donors understand who the beneficiaries of donations will be, and the different ways funds will be used.

FIA will also be releasing a further three new Practice Notes later in 2021, so keep your eyes peeled for those.

Upcoming webinar

BNG and the Fundraising Institute of Australia will be co-hosting a webinar at 3pm AEST on Wednesday 5th May to walk you through the FIA Code as well as the corresponding self-assessment in SPP.

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SPP has been a great resource for understanding and mapping Standards, preparing for Audits and also sourcing resources for policy development. I would recommend it to other organisations to complement their quality and compliance work. Information can be easily shared, and evidence gathered to support all work done.
Community mental health service provider, Victoria
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Large provider of settlement services to immigrants, New South Wales
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Everything is going well with SPP. It’s helped us through three lots of accreditation over the past nine months plus some internal auditing, so I’m very glad to have had it to assist us through the processes.
Large regional multi-service provider, Victoria