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Unacceptable behaviour by donors, condoned by charities: an update

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Unacceptable behaviour by donors, condoned by charities: an update

In April, I wrote a blog post that was very widely read.

Essentially, it said two things.

1) Some fundraisers are being subject to inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour by donors, don’t know what to do about it, and fear that if they try to do something, they will not have the full backing of their employer charity, and may even lose their
jobs.

2) Some charities are taking the view that fundraisers must suffer this behaviour because the donors are too important.
I gave some appalling examples.

The response I received contained many further examples, some of which were deeply troubling. My view that these were not isolated cases was confirmed.

There was a real problem.

 

Proud fundraiser badges at IoF National Convention - photo: Howard Lake

 

The Institute of Fundraising took the lead in addressing this, and has done so in a report just published that looks thoroughly and comprehensively, and in a wide context, in its recent publication: Safety and Safeguarding in Fundraising.

It is full of advice, checklists, and links to other reports. It needs to be widely read.

In relation to my specific point, it is clear.

“…a zero tolerance approach to bullying or harassment, no matter whether this comes from an employee, board member, a beneficiary or the charity’s most important donor.”

“You’ll need to think about what could potentially cause people harm in the workplace, at fundraising events, meetings, when visiting potential supporters and beneficiaries, and mitigate against those risks.”

Then, some of many more general extracts.

“…the first step is usually to try and resolve the problem informally, raising the issue with the relevant individual or your line manager.”

“…having a clear internal procedure for staff and volunteers, setting out how you can report concerns, how the organisation will protect you from victimisation and harassment, and what it will do in response.”

This is an excellent and wide-ranging piece of work.

Any fundraising manager who read it, and still took “the view that fundraisers must suffer this behaviour because the donors are too important” would be very stupid indeed.

Of course there is more that needs to be done in the coming months and years, but this is a good start.

 

Giles Pegram CBE
Consultant
13.vii.2018
© Giles Pegram CBE

As Appeals Director of NSPCC at 29, Giles set up the Centenary Appeal which was a record at the time. Giles grew NSPCC’s voluntary income from No. 15 in the CAF table to No. 3. The FULL STOP Appeal raised £274,000,000. This remains a record.   Giles was vice-chair of the Commission on the Donor Experience, an initiative aimed at transforming fundraising, to change the culture to a truly consistent donor-based approach to raising money. He is now working to implement its recommendations. He has also re-launched himself as a consultant. Giles was ‘UK Professional Fundraiser of the Year 1994’ and received the ‘Lifetime Achievement in Fundraising’ award in 2002.

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