The FSI scoops a Lifelong Learning Centre Win at the SQA Star Awards

SQA Star Awards 2019
The FSI’s Commercial Director, Janine Edwards (l) with Jean Blair, SQA’s Director of Operations (r).

The FSI (Foundation for Social Improvement) is delighted to have won the Lifelong Learning Centre Award at the SQA Star Awards.

The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA)’s annual Star Awards is a celebration of the outstanding achievements in education and training, not just in Scotland, but throughout the UK and around the world.

The SQA Star Awards recognise the successes of individuals working towards SQA qualifications as well as the centres – the schools, colleges, training providers, and employers – that deliver SQA qualifications and enable learners to achieve their ambitions.

This year’s ceremony was held at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow’s West End and was hosted by TV personality and entrepreneur Carol Smillie.

In 2017, the FSI approached the SQA to develop a fundraising qualification specifically for the Small Charity Sector. Whether a well-established charity or a small grassroots community group, the need for expertise in fundraising has never been greater in the current climate. Funding from local, regional and central government sources has been dramatically cut and there is increasing competition from all sources.  Therefore, a qualification was developed to ensure that charities were ready to meet the increasing demand for skilled and experienced fundraisers in our sector.

The FSI’s fundraising qualifications have provided a great option to help small charities gain a fundraising edge, enabling them to benefit from expertise to maximise their fundraising potential.

Monitoring and evaluation of all FSI members undertaking their fundraising courses in 2018 found: 95% felt their knowledge had improved, 96% felt their confidence had improved and 89% felt their skills had improved.

Over the past two years, the FSI has worked with the small charity sector and moved over 60 learners onto their qualifications.

“I am studying for the Diploma in Fundraising to gain a qualification that will arm me with the tools to help sustain our charity for the future and provide new and innovative ways of working…. The trainers are engaging and inclusive and you get out what you put into the training. I am really excited about working with the FSI!” said Pam Aubert, Head of Fundraising and Communications, Macmillan Cancer Support Jersey.

With funding from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in 2017 – 2019, matched by a donation from the FSI themselves, the FSI was able to jointly invest in 30 small charities with an income under £100,000 (who would not ordinarily undertake a qualification due to funding) and offered bursaries to the introduction to Fundraising Practice.

Over the two years, the FSI also introduced new technology such as webinar software and a Learning Management System to improve the experience and delivery of the qualification, from delivering ad-hoc out of hour webinars through to developing two E-learning modules including Developing Your Fundraising Strategy, which is one of the main modules for the qualification.

With new e-modules continuing to be developed, webinars and e-learning help make delivery accessible, especially for rural charities. The e-learning development also enables the FSI to expand the audience for qualifications beyond their core small charity audience, to larger charity fundraisers and fundraising teams, in a resource-effective way.

Based on feedback from learners, the FSI continues to explore new innovations and ways of improving the learner experience and are, for example, now looking to develop an online community using Facebook or similar for learners to connect online, chat and share experiences.

CEO of the FSI, Pauline Broomhead CBE, said: “We are thrilled to have been named a Lifelong Learning Centre winner at the SQA Star Awards. We founded the FSI because we are passionate about enabling small charities and community groups to fulfil their potential and increase the grass roots support they give to millions of individuals in the UK and across the globe. The FSI’s Fundraising Qualifications enable many small charities to gain fundraising expertise at a heavily subsidised cost, and to enhance and develop their vital support to beneficiaries.”

To celebrate winning the award the FSI are providing the following offer to charities for a limited period:

  • An exclusive 20% charity discount to any sized organisation booking the Certificate or Diploma level Fundraising Qualification quoting ‘Star Awards Discount’ (previously only available to FSI members)
  • 30 x free trial places on a first come first served basis on the FSI’s E-learning courses to charities of any size who are interested in signing up to the qualification.

To take up either offer, contact