Greater collaboration among professional fundraisers is needed to address some of the major issues facing fundraising in Ireland, according to a new report by the think tank Rogare.
Published today at the Ask Direct Summer School in Dublin, The Critical Fundraising (Ireland) Report is the first in a series examining trends and issues, and was developed by a task group led by Rogare International Advisory Panel member Gabrielle Murphy. It contains SWOT and PESTLE analyses of Irish fundraising, with seven essays exploring some of the main issues.
The report highlights a serious shortage of fundraisers, a less than favourable tax environment, and the uncertainty caused by the forthcoming EU data protection regulation (GDPR) as issues painting a challenging picture for the sector.
It calls for greater levels of collaboration among fundraisers, stating that many of these areas highlighted by the analysis, which include low levels of professional fundraising training, a lack of research and data on fundraising and giving in Ireland, and an unfavourable tax environment for giving, can only be addressed at a sector level.
Other issues include the lack of a representative body for fundraisers in Ireland since Fundraising Ireland and Irish Charities Tax Research merged to form Charities Institute Ireland. In the report, Colin Skehan, fundraising manager at Merchants Quay Ireland, argues that a dedicated body for fundraisers would be able to lead in developing an academic qualification for fundraising, which, he says, is necessary for fundraisers to achieve ‘mastery’ in the profession and develop their ‘professional autonomy’ in exercising that mastery.
In an essay on data protection, the report also concludes that the fundraising sector should engage with the Data Protection Commission on an agreed code of practice that enshrines legitimate interest as a basis for direct marketing.
The report makes a number of recommendations, including:
- Charities must combine their efforts to lobby for greater tax incentives for legacy gifts and major charitable gifts
- Establish a programme to benchmark nonprofits’ fundraising performances to produce better metrics and insight
- Research career opportunities and bottlenecks to understand how and why people leave the sector
- Charity-SORP needs to become a legal requirement for charities
- Invest in appropriate training for all relevant staff to ensure they understand
- GDPR and can manage and implement new regulations, policies and procedures
Gabrielle Murphy, managing director of Purplegrass Consulting, said:
“We hope that this report will spark not only debate but joint and collaborative action across the sector by fundraisers, perhaps even a round table discussion that reviews the issues raised in this report, and others that may not have been covered. Certainly the compilation of the report raised questions around whether we need a sector-wide strategy and prioritisation of the key issues for fundraising that we can work to address over the next three-to-five years. Perhaps greater levels of discussion and collaboration may be needed across the sector if we are to address the key challenges faced by Irish fundraisers.”
The Critical Fundraising (Scotland) Report is currently being research by a team led by consultant Mafe Marwick, and will be published in November this year. It will be followed by a similar report for the USA in the first quarter of 2018. Similar reports for Italy and Canada may also follow.
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