The Institute of Fundraising has today (28 March) announced that it is setting up a taskforce on sexual harassment in fundraising, following a discussion held yesterday by its Board of Trustees on the issue and the role it can play in dealing with it.
A recent article by Ruby Bayley-Pratt, Fundraising Policy and Research Manager at the British Red Cross in Fundraising magazine highlighted the prevalence of the issue in the sector, with many fundraisers responding with their own experiences of sexual harassment.
People still getting in touch with experiences of #sexualharassment in #fundraising. Just take a moment to read these and think about implications for individuals, orgs, & our institutions. Several stories about reporting and no action being taken… when will we walk the walk? pic.twitter.com/yM1UQ13VcL
— Ruby Bayley (@RubyBayley_) March 25, 2019
She has also spoken in a podcast with Mandy Johnson on the subject:
I recently spoke to @RubyBayleyPratt, following the article that she wrote for @CSFundraising about the prevalence of sexual harassment of fundraisers. With Ruby's permission, I recorded our conversation. You can listen to an edited version of it here:https://t.co/9b7L1hHrPA
— Mandy Johnson (she/her) (@MsMandyJ) March 28, 2019
Announcing the taskforce, Amanda Bringans, Chair of the Institute of Fundraising, said:
“There is no place for sexual or any other form of harassment within our fundraising community. We have been listening to the recent anonymous testimonials of sexual harassment in the fundraising sector collected by Ruby Bayley-Pratt.
“We want to actively encourage people to come forward and report complaints if they have experienced sexual harassment by a member of the Institute or at an Institute event, no matter when that incident happened. Those incidents will be investigated fully, even if the person complained of resigns their membership of the Institute.
“We expect our member organisations to tackle sexual harassment in the workplace, to create an environment for fundraisers to share their experiences and to protect those who are affected. Harassment will not be tolerated, no matter whether this comes from an employee, board member, a beneficiary or a charity’s most important donor.
“We are setting up a Taskforce on Sexual Harassment in Fundraising led by two of our trustees, Claire Rowney and Isobel Michael. They will be joined by an HR and legal expert. This review will be used to inform a sector-wide approach to tackling sexual harassment in the fundraising community.
“The Taskforce will also look at how we can strengthen the IoF’s Code of Conduct and existing complaints policy, to ensure they are fit for purpose and provide an open and safe space for people to report complaints.
“I am grateful to Ruby Bayley-Pratt for agreeing to join the taskforce.
“Fundraising is a profession for everyone. We do brilliant things that raise vital funds for good causes. All this should be done in a safe and respectful environment. We will work to clamp down on unacceptable behaviour and ensure our fundraising community is a safe space for everyone.”
People can find out how report sexual harassment by a member of the Institute or at an Institute event, no matter when that incident happened, through its complaints policy. It is also encouraging people to familiarise themselves with its guidance on safeguarding and whistleblowing and with their rights as fundraisers.