INSTITUTE OF FUNDRAISING: Fundraising breaks out of its established boundaries

Lindsay Boswell, chief executive of the Institute of Fundraising

This week's Member Viewpoint comes from Plan UK, part of the worldwide Plan organisation. International partnerships might seem to be low on the priorities of a UK fundraising organisation but the world is constantly shrinking and we need to take note of what happens elsewhere.

There are two partnerships that the Institute is playing a key role in developing.

First, close to home, the Institute has been at the heart of helping to establish the European Fundraising Association (EFA). This is an opportunity to share issues and concerns among the fundraising associations within Europe. For example, we are currently working with the Fundraising Academy of Germany to look at where there is common ground in the standards of training we produce and we are jointly tasked by EFA to develop a European standard for the Certificate in Fundraising Management.

Second, we have a close link with the American Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP). Here in the UK there has always been the tendency to look across with a degree of envy at fundraising in the US, but this no longer needs to be the case. There is some fantastic fundraising happening in this country and we are now on an equal footing in terms of maturity and sophistication.

However, the sheer scale and size of the market in the US means that there are certainly lessons we can learn. Although we both have a few teething troubles, members of the Institute will soon be able to access the members' only sections of AFP's web site and vice-versa. Additionally, members receive the same benefits from each organisation in terms of members' discounts on books, materials and training courses. This very much fits with our objective of providing you with the right information to help you do your job better without bombarding you with emails and literature.

Like the email news briefings from the national, regional and special interest groups, you decide what you get by logging onto the members' only section of the web site and, while checking your details, selecting what you do and do not receive.

Many more causes and charities are linking up with partners across Europe and the rest of the world. At the same time, we face the needs of successful and growing voluntary sectors with their own clear identities in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. The only criteria for how we all link together, or don't, is to look at what the benefits are for fundraisers in each community and ensure that we are helping them to do their jobs. Nothing else.

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