Regulation of fundraising

I know I shoot from the hip occasionally (and I hope it encourages debate) but I feel incredibly passionate about regulation because I was around when the Institute of fundraising was founded. It was founded  to ensure best practice (for fundraisers) , and to ensure donors were, in effect, made “happy donors” in terms of recognising best practice being followed (hence the production of the  Donor Charter as one example). In addition beneficiaries would also be protected. 

In my view the IoF was, and is, in existence for:

                Me as a fundraiser (now consultant)

                For donors

                For beneficiaries

As a member of the IoF I follow best practice – enthusiastically.

The IoF’s decision to include an independent chair, and recruit lay members, of the Standards Committee, is 100% common sense. It is not just fundraisers who should say “what is best” in terms of fundraising.  Donors should have a voice and so should beneficiaries. In fact I believe the IoF is incredibly brave, prudent and fair in recommending the involvement of lay members.

I do not agree with Adrian – who is an amazing thinker – that only “experts” (or even “advertising experts” to quote his blog, should have their say.

Donors are not experts, they are the change-makers and fundraisers are only (dangerous to say “just”) the agents of change. Donors should have a strong voice.

I listen to donors 2-3 days a week and they do not always know what they “want” in terms of fundraising – or perhaps it is better to say “the ways they are asked for funds”. But in my view there is a real need for donor education as much as fundraiser education. Donors can only be educated by being involved in the equation.

We can only have a happy way forward by including donors (and beneficiaries) in the regulation mix. By involving lay members we will be promoting a voice from “the ask to the give” and then to caring for supporters through great cultivation and stewardship programmes. You cannot have one without the other.

If you have a complaint about an accountant the complaint is handled through Recognised Supervisory Bodies and Recognised Qualifying Bodies. They are the same (with the exception of CIPFA) because it makes mutual accountability and regulation much easier.

So let’s put ourselves in the place of a member of the public (donor, potential donor, volunteer, beneficiary). I want to make a complaint. Under Adrian’s regime I can go to the IoF, the FRSB or the Committee for Fundraising Practice. Oh God I don’t know so I will not make a complaint.

PLEASE can we have just one point of contact. And that point of contact must involve all those who are involved as stakeholders in our charities. Fundraisers are those who start the process of “asking” and that is exactly where the process should begin but involving those who “supply the goods” or indeed the good.

Richard Radcliffe

Founder Radcliffe Consulting  



Comments are closed.