INSTITUTE OF FUNDRAISING: Member Viewpoint - We are all responsible for promoting what we do to minority groups

Ilene Hoyle

I believe that fundraisers have a responsibility to promote our profession to staff in black and minority ethnic voluntary and community organisations (BME VCOs).

Since July 2000, I have co-managed the BME Sustainability Project. This initiative, funded by the Home Office's Active Community Unit with input from the Institute, was designed to explore and develop the fundraising capacity of the BME voluntary sector.

An important element of the work has been to undertake field research, canvassing organisations about their fundraising experiences. The results of this research indicate BME groups specifically need two things. First, to develop sustainability through organisational capacity building. And second, to facilitate skill building by access to expertise.

In BME VCOs, as in many organisations, there are very few individuals who are dedicated fundraisers. Most are expected to juggle service provision with a bit of fundraising. The very best fundraisers are not a homogeneous group, but a varied, diverse and talented lot. So, as individuals we should all have an interest in increasing the ethnic diversity of our profession.

The Institute has a central role to play in driving this agenda forward.

In the North-West, we support training through bursaries for keen individuals from organisations that can't afford to pay. In London, the Institute's partnership with the London Development Agency specifically focuses on black organisations. The dialogue resulting from initiatives such as these enables BME VCOs to develop their practice through access to appropriate locally based training.

Ilene Hoyle is a consultant and the Institute's North-West regional training co-ordinator. Copies of the BME research publication, Finding the Funds, are available from

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