Debate: Do fundraisers need a campaign to help address their image problem?

Three sector experts, including Donna Woodman of the Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice, share their views on the Institute of Fundraising's new Proud to be a Fundraiser campaign, which aims to counter negative views of the profession

Donna Woodman does not see the need for the Proud to be a Fundraiser campaign
Donna Woodman does not see the need for the Proud to be a Fundraiser campaign

Donna Woodman, regional fundraising manager, Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice

I have never felt the need to be defensive about my role and therefore do not see the need for a campaign. To most people, the role is about raising money - but there is more to it, such as connecting with donors.

I can see how street fundraisers, for example, who are removed from the charity's cause, might need a campaign - but if you are embedded in the team and the community, you are not perceived negatively by the media or the general public because they can see the positive impact you are having.

Jack Miller, head of fundraising, Victim Support

This campaign could have a big impact and income. I've worked in fundraising for 12 years and the puzzled look from people when I tell them I'm a fundraiser has become an irritant. "What, so you stand on the street shaking a tin?" tends to be the response, or a variation thereof. I instinctively launch into a monologue - about the professionalism of the sector, the rise of strategic philanthropy and an outcome-led industry - that leaves them apologetic. We must all raise the profile of what we do with internal stakeholders and the public. Fundraising teams are an investment, not a cost.

Joe Saxton, co-founder and head, research consultancy nfpSynergy

Fundraisers don't have an image problem, but fundraising does. We need to focus not on the role but on the outcomes that raising money creates: lives saved or changed and a better world. We do this by emphasising the integral part fundraising plays in helping charities. We shouldn't have a campaign because we don't want to make people feel that fundraisers are a breed apart; they are a vital part of the whole. We will change attitudes not by saying we are proud of fundraisers, but by listening to others and responding to their concerns.

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