The Centre for Volunteering | School of Volunteer Management | 2012 NSW Volunteer of the Year Award

History of Fido

Fido was founded in 1999 on not much more than a great idea and loads of goodwill by Andrew Laming with Tim Hardy and Niki Vincent. Fido was established as the Friends In Deed Organisation to connect organisations and volunteers.

FIDO dogTim Hardy, co-president of Fido from 1999–2005, said he has seen in Australia communities becoming more and more marginalised and believes that the gap between the 'haves' and the 'have-nots' is widening all the time. Upon meeting with Andrew Laming in April 1999 it became clear to him what an amazingly powerful tool Fido could be as part of the process of redressing social imbalance, connecting people to support each other in their communities.

"It is a 'win-win' because non-profit organisations benefit from the work of volunteers and the volunteers benefit because they get a better balance in their lives from contributing to their community. I think there is an increasing recognition that we feel good if we give something back to our community – rather than just taking from it. This is where we make a difference," says Tim.

Simon Divecha was FIDO's Treasurer 2001-2005. "I joined it knowing the very real difference skilled volunteers can make to non government organisations. I also saw we could deliver capacity to NGOs that often did not have time to think through how such professional volunteers can most effectively work with their organisations".

Niki Vincent, co-president from 1999–2005 joined the Fido team because she was inspired by the concept of a simple and effective way to facilitate meaningful volunteering. She shared co-presidency with Tim until Fido was handed to The Centre for Volunteering in December 2005. Niki is currently the Director of the Governor's Leadership Foundation in South Australia.

Fido's first Help Desk column appeared in The Sydney Morning Herald in July 1999 and has been published in The Sydney Morning Herald every Monday and Saturday since.

Tim Hardy began his relationship with The Centre for Volunteering in 2000, sitting on the committee of the International Year of Volunteers. He subsequently sat on The Centre's board until July 2004. Tim now runs his own philanthropy consultancy, Enrich Australia, helping people to be more effective in their giving, for example by setting up charitable foundations. He also educates and trains financial advisers to incorporate giving in their clients' financial plans.

In December 2005 the Fido management team handed ownership of Fido over to The Centre for Volunteering and is part of The Centre's Volunteer Referral Service. Fido changed from Friends in Deed Organisation to Fido Skilled Volunteering in early 2006.

CQU logoIn March 2006 a team of Bachelor of Multimedia Studies students from Central Queensland University (Sydney Campus) undertook the task of redesigning and redeveloping the Fido website which was completed in June 2006.