Debate: Does the work of fundraisers need to become more professionalised?

The Institute of Fundraising recently launched its new learning academy, offering training in all aspects of the job

SANDRA SCOTTING - honorary secretary of the Stairway to Heaven Memorial Trust

- Sandra Scotting , honorary secretary, Stairway to Heaven Memorial Trust

As a small, local charity, we find the free training services offered by the Small Charities Coalition invaluable, but to pay for further training would be too expensive for us.

Our charity was set up three years ago to raise funds for a memorial to the Bethnal Green tube disaster. It was the worst civilian loss of life of the Second World War - 173 people were crushed to death in the east London station, which was used as an air raid shelter. Most survivors and relatives of those who died are now pensioners, so time is running out to raise the £200,000 that we need.

Training is essential to ensure we adhere to all the correct rules and regulations, but fundraising training can be prohibitive for small charities like us.

GILL RAIKES - director of fundraising at the National Trust

- Gill Raikes, director of fundraising, National TrustFundraising as a profession was a closed society when I first took up the role in the 1980s, with well-meaning middle and upper-class folk asking their networks for support. Nothing wrong with that - many charities owe their existence to it - but it was a narrow, somewhat haphazard exercise.

Over time, charities have realised that investing in fundraisers and ensuring proper training means more money comes to the charity and, with it, a higher profile and a sense of value.

Forging relationships with donors from every part of our community brings loyalty, understanding and respect. The professionalisation of fundraising, enabling fundraisers to grow and develop, is a key part of this.

ALISTAIR MCLEAN - chief executive of the Fundraising Standards Board

- Alistair McLean, chief executive, Fundraising Standards BoardI cannot believe anyone would argue that greater professionalisation of the work of fundraisers is not a good thing. Sharing experiences and key learning enables fundraisers to work to higher standards and maximises their value for beneficiaries.

Externally, it can also have a positive impact with the public, media and corporates. Charities make up a significant, competitive business sector with complex methodologies and channels.

Fundraisers need to be armed with the knowledge and skills to connect with donor audiences. Demonstrating that there is a real career path can encourage new intake and upskilling. Greater professionalisation also shows government and the wider world that this is a maturing sector.

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