Charities should invest more in self-regulation to help finance culture-change programmes within fundraising agencies and introduce fines and sanctions for "rogue practitioners", according to Richard Taylor, chair of the Institute of Fundraising.
Speaking at the IoF convention yesterday, Taylor, who is executive director of fundraising and marketing at Cancer Research UK but will be leaving this role shortly, said the sector needed to invest now in the self-regulatory framework and that it should not be forced to rely on the goodwill of volunteers and the expertise of a few professionals.
"We can’t do self-regulation on a shoestring," he said. "I’m calling for charities to invest more in this critical area. A few pounds invested now could protect huge sums for our causes in the future and, perhaps more importantly, trust in our causes."
He said the investment could be put towards financing the reviewing and setting of the Code of Fundraising Practice, mystery shopping, culture-change programmes for third-party suppliers and fines and sanctions "to chase up poor practice against rogue practitioners who are tarnishing the entire industry".
He said it would also help to fund the Fundraising Standards Board's adjudication process, helping it to respond "faster, more flexibly and with more teeth".
Referring to the IoF’s establishment in 1983, Taylor said the carefree spirit of the 1980s was a distant memory as far as the fundraising world was concerned.
He said he did not believe the charity sector and the fundraising profession had kept pace with the "24/7 media environment" and they needed to become "more agile, more responsive and, if not a contradiction, more proactive".
He said this might require the sector to add its voice to the media mix where appropriate, but cautioned charities that "good news stories are rarely the ones that get picked up".
He added: "This is not the time for division; we are in this together. We all believe in what we do ourselves; it’s important we also believe in and defend what others do."