For two years, the Institute of Fundraising ran the fundraising management certificate with the Directory of Social Change, but this qualification came to an end last year when the institute launched a new learning academy.
The academy's launch coincided with the arrival of the IoF's new chief executive, Amanda McLean, who has now left the job. Shortly before taking up her role, she said that making fundraising more professional would be one of the institute's main aims under her watch. The academy offers several different strands of training, including a four-tiered fundraising qualification framework, with each level specifically tailored for different stages of a fundraiser's career.
The four tiers of qualifications now available are: the Introductory Certificate, the Certificate in Fundraising, the Diploma and the Advanced Diploma. The IoF is also running shorter courses that focus on specific skills such as major donor or corporate fundraising.
Paul Marvell, head of learning at the IoF, says that more fundraising job descriptions require IoF qualifications: "As the choice of candidates grows, this will become even more the case," he says.
Kevin Webb, fundraising and project development officer at Voice for Disability, who recently gained the Certificate in Fundraising, says taking the course was an investment in his career. The qualification was so important to him that he paid for it himself and completed it during holiday time.
"I did the one-day Charities Aid Foundation courses last year - it is brilliant for getting practical ideas you can implement in the office the next day," he says. "The IoF course is more strategic."
Matthew Boyle, director of fundraising at the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, who recently took the IoF diploma, says the quality of the speakers, who included Stephen Pidgeon, chair of the fundraising and marketing agency Tangible, and Adrian Sargeant, professor of fundraising at Indiana University, was a major factor in attracting him to the course.
"That's what drew me to it instead of other courses," he says. "They are distinguished in the field and they really know about the subject matter."