Fundraising committee chairs express concerns over response to sexual assault claim

A group of Chartered Institute of Fundraising committee chairs has written to the body expressing concerns about the CIoF’s response to allegations that it ignored a complaint of sexual assault.

On Friday, the CIoF came under fire on Twitter when the fundraising consultant Mandy Johnson tweeted that two years ago “in a minuted meeting” with “a director” at the CIoF, she had shared an audio recording of a woman describing being sexually assaulted at a CIoF event.

The woman on the audio recording said she had previously reported the incident to the CIoF and nothing had been done, Johnson alleged.

In its initial response on Friday, the CIoF said: “While we wouldn’t normally comment on a complaint where the outcome didn’t result in a sanction, we think it important to place on record that an investigation concluded that no allegation had been made.”

But it later amended the statement, adding: “The investigation into the audio recording was conducted immediately, and found there was no evidence that a previous allegation had been made. However, the substantive evidence of alleged sexual harassment that came to light during the investigation of that case is currently being considered as part of an existing and ongoing investigation.”

Today, Dana Kohava Segal, co-chair of the CIoF’s Cultural Sector Committee, tweeted that she and other committee chairs had collaborated to “write a formal letter to the board and CEO expressing our concerns” about the CIoF’s formal statement and “and their handling of this entire process”.

She said the letter had been sent this morning.

Sarah Goddard, co-chair of the CIoF Community Fundraising Committee, tweeted a similar message.

The CIoF did not respond to a request for comment on the letter from Third Sector before publication of this story.

Both Goddard and Kohava Segal added: “All chairs have spent the weekend creating the letter and keeping our committee members updated. We will continue to do so.

“Proud to be working alongside fantastic committee chairs, all of whom are showing transparency, compassion, communication and leadership on this.”

Other committee chairs and members tweeted their support for and endorsement of the letter, including Damian Chapman of the CIoF Corporate Fundraisers Committee; Priya Changela, a member of the CIoF’s EDI committee; Paul Courtney of the South West Committee; Emma Russ of the North West Committee; Angela Cluff, chair of the supporter experience committee; and Rory Traynor of the Scottish Major Donor Special Interest Group.

Chapman tweeted that the allegations and CIoF response were “an issue for every fundraiser” and described them as “shameful treatment of women in fundraising”.

In a later tweet, Kohava Segal said that she would not rest until a new process was in place that “believes victims first & foremost… is transparent, simple, and not onerous on the victim”, and “where all committees are supported to ensure the safety of members at CIOF events/mentoring/training”.

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