INSTITUTE OF FUNDRAISING: Membership entitles you to more than ever before

LINDSAY BOSWELL, chief executive at the Institute of Fundraising

There are two key relationships between the Institute of Fundraising and its members. These are relationships we have with individual fundraisers and those we have with fundraising organisations.

We have just under 4,000 individual fundraisers as members. This has grown considerably over the past three years, nearly doubling in that time.

These individuals cover as wide a spectrum as fundraising itself does.

Some are volunteers as trustees or heads of committees, many are senior fundraisers or fundraising consultants, and the majority are fundraising practitioners, ranging from sole fundraisers to members of huge fundraising teams. What they all have in common is the desire to do their job better.

As a member you have the comfort of being able to rely on the standards set by the Institute. Many find the presence of fundraising standards reassuring as it removes the private and personal moral stance from the arguments as to why certain activities are not best practice.

Of course, agreement to abide by these fundraising standards is not the sole prerogative of members and any fundraiser, member or otherwise, can choose to follow best practice.

If you are not a member and want to get hold of the codes,visit www.institute-of-fundraising.org.uk and download them for free. If you want to give yourself the added rigour of reduced temptation to deviate then joining is a very tangible step to take.

Members are also able to access knowledge and information to keep up to date with what is happening in either a specific area of fundraising or across the board in a more general sense. We all suffer from information overload and a great deal of effort has been put into helping members manage the information they receive.

The principal tool here is the member-only section of the web site that allows users to choose which email briefings they receive from the Special Interest Groups or National and Regional Groups. These all run meetings and events that also allow networking to take place.

Fundraising organisations engage with the Institute through the charity affiliation scheme. Charities that are affiliated are kept abreast of developments that have an impact on the environment in which fundraising takes place. Changes in legislation, consultations from either the Government or other regula-tory bodies and campaigning work all fall under the general heading of policy and typify the activities undertaken on behalf of fundraising as an activity. Recent work has varied from lobbying about changes to lottery legislation to commenting on proposals to alter the pricing structure for postal services.

In addition to making charity affiliates aware of such issues, there is a well-defined consultation process to ensure the work of the Institute is directed and influenced by fundraising charities. Key among these consultations are the codes of fundraising practice. All charity affiliates are invited to comment on the drafts and therefore influence one of our most important areas of work.

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