CIoF delays fundraising convention amid focus on harassment issues

The Chartered Institute of Fundraising said it has postponed its annual convention as it prioritises issues surrounding harassment in the sector.

The CIoF said in a statment it had pushed back the conference from its usual slot at the beginning of July to 27-29 September.

Setting out its reasons for delaying the convention, which will be an online-only event this year, the CIoF said that in March it had committed to an action plan to tackle harassment, discrimination and abuse within fundraising, with urgent steps to be taken over the following three months.

It came at a time when the coronavirus pandemic had hit the organisation’s income and forced a reduction in its capacity, the CIoF said.

“We have also listened to feedback from our convention board that we need to prioritise this important work now and explore incorporating these themes into the Fundraising Convention online 2021 programme,” the umbrella body said.

“Therefore, we have taken the positive decision to move the date of this year’s event to the autumn.”

The membership body has been under public pressure from high-profile fundraisers in recent weeks after it was claimed that it ignored a complaint of sexual assault that is alleged to have taken place at one of its events.

The institute subsequently set out an action plan in response to the criticism, including promising to set up a panel with an independent chair to oversee its complaints and disciplinary process as part of an overhaul of how it handles serious allegations against members.

The CIoF is still expected to hold some events on the original dates of the convention, 5-7 July, including its annual general meeting, which usually takes place at the conference, and a free safeguarding event.

Laurie Boult, executive fundraising director at Age UK and chair of the board that oversees the convention, said: "The convention board will do all that we can to support the action plan and to ensure that the Fundraising Convention embodies the culture that we want to see in our sector.”

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