There was a meeting of some 23 different fundraising organisations at the International Fundraising Congress in Holland this month. Representation stretched from the Ukraine, across Europe, sweeping across Africa to Kenya and South Africa, as well as Korea, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.
The Americas, both north and south, were well represented.
The aim of the meeting was to look at areas of common interest and the vast majority of the time was spent looking at ethics and fundraising standards.
It is reassuring to know that many of the issues and dilemmas we face are mirrored elsewhere. For example, both Australia and New Zealand are currently looking at what is happening in the UK and considering setting up a similar set of systems and going through the challenges of having a Charities Bill.
When you look at the issues they face it makes the achievements in Scotland of driving through a Charity Bill with such speed and engagement a potentially outstanding piece of work.
Interestingly, nowhere else has the same set up of best practice standards as we have in the UK. Many of them aspire to having a set of codes of fundraising practice in a similar format to those we have here and all are watching what happens with the introduction of a self-regulatory scheme, based on best practice, with real interest.
The announcement to the sector about what this scheme will look like is due to be made in early November, including a time scale for introduction of self-regulation. That end result should not look too different from the proposals that the Institute submitted to the Buse Commission. Since then, a steering party involving a cross-section of key sector players, chaired by the Charities Aid Foundation, has agreed the legal and operating structures for the scheme, for presentation to the Home Office.
Home Office funding is being used to carry out the business planning and market research necessary to work out what the scheme will cost, and how success can be measured. It is then simply a case of setting the scheme in place. While it will take time to build up participation, it is still the Institute's aim that the scheme will be launched in the spring.