INSTITUTE OF FUNDRAISING: Your feedback can help shape the sector's future

LINDSAY BOSWELL, chief executive of the Institute of Fundraising

We are half way through the consultation period for the Strategy Unit's report into the future shape of the voluntary sector. If you have not yet read the outline recommendations, then, at the very least, get hold of a copy quickly.

In the various discussions that we have had with those involved in this report, there has been one comment that really hit home. The consultation is a measure not just of quality but also quantity. A well-honed argument or proposal has disproportionate impact if it is echoed and repeated by many submissions.

Put simply, ministers and civil servants notice the number of submissions as well as the content. I am not referring to joint signatures or even inappropriate petitions, but well cross-referenced submissions from a wide range of different stakeholders. The message here is don't let your organisation sit on the fence and either ignore this report or just assume that some grey umbrella body might be reflecting your views.

It is for this reason that we are actively seeking to communicate with as wide an audience of fundraising organisations as possible. Traditionally, we update and share our policy thoughts with our organisational members through email briefings. These are then shared with our members via similar communications and the web site. However, when it comes to the Government, size matters. We have invited those fundraising charities which are not members but fall into the top 500 fundraising organisations to engage with us over the consultation period.

It is vital we know who agrees and supports our proposals and that as many people as possible influence and shape those thoughts. But it doesn't stop there; we need relevant and considered proposals to come from as many organisations as possible. This message about getting engaged is coming from not only us but NCVO, ACEVO and the Charity Finance Directors' Group are also challenging their members to participate.

Practicality kept the letter of invitation to the top 500, but I would strongly welcome the chance to engage with any organisation of any size and covering any sector. The consultation around the fundraising implications of the report will mostly be electronic, however, there is a London-based consultation meeting on 28 November.

Further details are available from www.institute-of-fundraising.org.uk in the charity law consultation section, or email consultation@institute-of-fundraising.org.uk

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