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The Marlin team reflects on FIA 2020

By March 20, 2020March 1st, 2022No Comments

What an amazing few days we had in Brisbane for FIA 2020. It was a privilege and honour to learn from, and be in the company of some of the best minds in the sector. We were humbled to see our collaborative creative work come to life at the conference and hear how the message and sentiment, “It starts with you”, struck a chord with so many speakers and the fundraising community.

For those who attended, we hope you had a chance to visit Marlin’s (award-winning) Sustainable Speakeasy. As well as helping you solve some of your biggest fundraising challenges, this year we were committed to going carbon neutral, pledging to donate 10 trees for every person that visited our stand. As a result, we have purchased over 500 trees through Rainforest Rescue and they will be planted in the Daintree later this year.

Marlin Sustainable Speakeasy The Marlin team reflects on FIA 2020

We couldn’t get enough of Nerve Network’s Esther Kwaku and her authentic #realtalk. Her plenary took us to the heart of powerful storytelling. If you missed Esther at the conference, you can catch her and other inspiring humans on the Marlin Speakeasy podcast, part of our new project #humansforpurpose (born at FIA 2020) which delves into what drives game-changing people like you!

Nerve Network’s Esther Kwaku podcast #humansforpurpose

Finally, here’s some personal reflections and highlights from the Marlin team who attended the conference. 

Enjoy, and we’ll see you in Melbourne for FIA 2021! 


I thought this year’s conference was the best ever. I loved the overall conference theme—that most of the speakers referenced it in some way, and that there was such a strong sense of solidarity amongst the conference delegates. That was magic. In fact, I loved the really strong community-vibe of the whole conference; it made me feel both humble, yet proud of the role we play.

– Karl Tischler, Founding Director and Idealist 


“It isn’t often you get to spend a couple of days with such a large group of passionate people who all want to see a better change in the world. It was incredibly inspiring. It energised me!”

– Miriam Raphael, Senior Copywriter


“The beginning of a new relationship is much more fun face to face, and I feel like I got to meet some exceptional new partners in this world of change-making.”

– Clayton Thomas, Creative Director


“The plenaries were a stand out for me. Annabelle Chauncey blew me away, she has achieved so much in such a short time and made such a huge impact on the world. It made me want to drop it all and go build a school! 

And I just loved Esther Kwaku’s energy and captivating storytelling. I caught up with her at Marlin’s Speakeasy and she was just so dynamic and inspiring one on one. We discussed a million different ideas in the space of 10 minutes! That’s why I love these events, you get to meet such extraordinary people, be inspired by so many new ideas and gain the tools you need to do so much more.

Oh and one notable highlight…the Gala event – just arriving in our 50s get-up, celebrating exceptional fundraising and then right at the end, having the entire room of fundraisers form a circle and sing Johnny Farnham ‘You’re the Voice’ at the top of their lungs. It gave me goosebumps.” 

– Sophie Griffiths, Communications Strategist

FIA Gala - The Marlin team reflects on FIA 2020

“It was amazing to be able to catch up with so many of our clients and partners who continue to demonstrate how the power of community and innovation are making a huge difference in the world. For me it was the best FIA conference yet. And the theme, ‘It starts with you’ just feels so important at this critical time in our industry to inspire current and future fundraisers.”

Jason Ruffell Smith, Head of Growth


“I was so emotionally engaged this year. This was because of the curation of speakers the theme of the conference. I felt so proud to be part of the sector and so inspired by everyone I met and saw at sessions. 

I was so impressed by Rochelle’s speech at the end about Ogilvy, omg I was like ‘I wish I thought of THAT’.”

Jasmine Coronado, Account Director 


“What I enjoy the most on all the conferences and events I attend is to be among like minded peers who are there on a mission to make the world a better place.”

Jakob Jarefjaell, Growth Exec


“FIA 2020 presented some great moments, with the highlight seeing some of our clients face to face as they came to put their tree on our sustainable display. I loved knowing that we would plant 10 trees for them. The presentations proved valuable, especially the insights about donor motivations when it comes to Regular Giving (by our own Dan Geaves), the Direct Mail tips and insights especially from Nicole Lovelock (Bush Heritage) and the psychology behind Human Centred Fundraising and the Psychology of Fundraising. Each plenary was engaging and offered some great takeaways. 

Being with the Marlin team, dressing up at the Gala and the coffee stand in the exhibition hall were all great opportunities for getting to know the team and building relationships (and get the caffeine fix for the 3 big days). Bring on 2021.”

Catherine Braybon, Creative Strategy Manager