A lack of diversity in the fundraising profession is acting as a "severe brake" on the sector’s ability to raise funds, the chief executive of the Institute of Fundraising has warned.
In a blog post setting out the membership body’s priorities for 2020, Peter Lewis also says raising funds in the coming year will be difficult and that the IoF hopes to complete its quest to become a chartered body in the spring.
In the post, published yesterday, Lewis says that, despite the "amazing optimism" that many fundraisers show in predicting income growth over the next 12 months, "simply raising the money is going to be hard in the year ahead".
He says: "Fewer people seem to be giving to charity, while those that are giving are being even more generous.
"At the same time, fundraisers are doing even more to take care of those who are already supporting them, developing deeper relationships and reporting better on the impact that their donations achieve."
Lewis adds: "The challenging environment means, for our part, that we will continue to drive change in areas where we believe we can make a real difference.
"The lack of diversity in the profession is a systemic weakness that is acting as a severe brake on our ability to raise funds.
"We are currently missing out on a huge range of talent that can help us think and fundraise better."
He says the IoF’s equality, diversity and inclusion strategy, which was launched last year, sets out how fundraising organisations can recruit, retain and develop a much greater range of people.
He says the membership body will publish a recruitment toolkit in the early spring that will provide more support on how fundraisers can recruit more diverse teams.
Speaking at the launch of the IoF’s diversity strategy last year, Lewis said the IoF would be prepared to challenge any organisation it believed was not doing enough to promote diversity.
Lewis says in his blog that the IoF cannot make any of the changes in areas such as improving diversity and tackling climate change without the support of IoF members and the sector as a whole.
"The decisions you and your organisations make now, and the things you choose to prioritise, will affect fundraising and the wider sector for years to come," he says.
"You have specific opportunities to make change; whether it’s in the choices you make as to how you fundraise and what you invest in, how you recruit, who you train or promote, the culture you create, the donations you accept or refuse, or simply through the engagement you have with millions of people who support and donate to our causes."
The post says that the IoF hopes to complete the process of becoming a chartered body in the spring, "bringing fundraisers the public recognition you really deserve, and at the same time attracting more people into the profession".
Lewis first said that the IoF had been thinking about chartered status in 2014. A year later he said that the umbrella body was planning to make an application to the Privy Council for the accreditation.
The process was put on hold in late 2015 while Sir Stuart Etherington carried out his review of fundraising self-regulation.