Institute of Fundraising 'should gain chartered status within five years'

At the London launch of the Sustainable Centre for Philanthropy, Adrian Sargeant of Plymouth University says such status would help to change the way boards see fundraising

Adrian Sargeant
Adrian Sargeant

The fundraising academic Adrian Sargeant has said he wants to see the Institute of Fundraising gain chartered status over the next five years.

He was speaking in London last night at the launch of the Sustainable Centre for Philanthropy, which will carry out research into sustainable philanthropy, educate fundraisers, develop fundraising theory and explore current issues in fundraising.

Sargeant, who is director of the centre and professor of fundraising at Plymouth University, where the centre will be based, spoke of the importance of fundraising as a profession. He said that creating a chartered institute of fundraising would help this.

Sargeant, who became an IoF trustee in July and wants to achieve the charter during his time on the board, said setting up a chartered professional body would help to change the way charity boards see fundraising.

Organisations have to apply to the Privy Council Office for a royal charter. There are more than 900 chartered bodies.

The Privy Council’s website says that new grants of royal charters are reserved for eminent professional bodies or charities that have a solid record of achievement and are financially sound. Professional bodies should represent a field of activity that is unique and not covered by other professional bodies, it says.

At least 75 per cent of members should be qualified to first-degree level standard and the body should be in the public interest, it adds.

Peter Lewis, chief execuctive of the IoF, said: "We are always looking at how we can best promote fundraising as a career and develop the skills of fundraisers. The move to become a ‘chartered’ institute is something that we have been thinking about. We need to do some more work to look at what the process to achieve chartered status would entail and make sure that it would deliver the maximum benefit and value for our members." 

Sargeant also repeated that he was interested in developing a bill of rights for fundraisers, because there was "too much apology for fundraising right now".

"There is a donors bill of rights from the US, but we have not had a fundraisers bill of rights," he said. "It could include the right to be considered a professional, access to a professional education and a significant amount of board involvement in fundraising, and it could help organisations to be proud of fundraisers and what they’re achieving." 

The centre will also look at the impact of giving on the giver. This work will be led by Jen Shang, professor of philanthropic psychology, who specialises in how to grow giving by enhancing the quality of the donor experience.

Sargeant said: "We will be looking at how giving makes people feel and using that to enhance that experience. Charities have understandably been focusing on the impact for beneficiaries. But we also need to look at what we do as an organisation and how that affects individuals – what it does for the donor."


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