Institute of Fundraising to apply formally for Chartered status

Howard Lake | 16 April 2019 | News

The Privy Council has granted permission to the Institute of Fundraising to apply for Chartered status.
The Institute has been working towards becoming a Chartered Institute for some years. For the past six years it has been a strategic objective, based on consultations with its member.

What does Chartered status achieve?

The new status, if granted, will raise the profile and status of fundraising. It will help promote fundraising as a profession with high standards of practice at its heart and which delivers public benefit.
Most importantly, it will, according to the Institute, “provide public recognition of the fundraising profession”.
Despite years of increasing professionalism, dedicated training, academic research, the production and application of a code of practice, and self-regulation, fundraising is still not treated by many, including those within the charitable sector, as “a proper profession”. 
The Institute’s Expert Panel on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion has highlighted that this issue is probably exacerbated within communities which are currently under-represented in fundraising.
Given its core role in the future of charitable and civil society activities, it is vital that fundraising is seen as a credible career and profession. The Institute believes that chartered status will help achieve this.
Peter Lewis, chief executive of the Institute of Fundraising, said: “This is a really important step for the Institute, embedding professional standards at the heart of the fundraising community, and securing external recognition for the important role fundraisers play in today’s society raising vital funds to make the world a better place.”

Other Chartered bodies

According to the Privy Council, “a Royal Charter is an instrument of incorporation, granted by The Queen, which confers independent legal personality on an organisation and defines its objectives, constitution and powers to govern its own affairs.”
There are over 1,000 such Chartered bodies, but none work cover a charitable sector-specific skill or profession. Many are charitable organisations, ranging from grammar schools and universities to City Livery Companies and hospital foundations.
The most recent Charters granted were given to:


Some Chartered professions do of course include members or activities that are involved in the sector, including the Chartered Institute of Marketing, Chartered Institute of Public Relations, or Chartered Institute of Professional Development.
The Institute’s attempts to achieve Chartered status have the support of the Charity Commission, the Scottish Charity Regulator, the Fundraising Regulator, and NCVO.

How to qualify for professional Chartered status

According to the Privy Council, the main criteria for a profession to qualify for Chartered Status are:

(a) the institution concerned should comprise members of a unique profession, and should have as members most of the eligible field for membership, without significant overlap with other bodies.
(b) corporate members of the institution should be qualified to at least first degree level in a relevant discipline;
(c) the institution should be financially sound and able to demonstrate a track record of achievement over a number of years;
(d) incorporation by Charter is a form of Government regulation as future amendments to the Charter and by-laws of the body require Privy Council (ie Government) approval. There therefore needs to be a convincing case that it would be in the public interest to regulate the body in this way.


Progress towards Chartered status

Following the Privy Council‘s permission, the Institute’s Board of Trustees has agreed a draft set of new constitutional documents (Charter, Bye-Laws and Regulations) on which it will consult with its members and the Privy Council.
A final version will then be submitted for agreement by members at the Institute’s AGM in July. If the consultation goes as planned and members approve the move to become a Chartered body, it is expected that the formal petition to the Privy Council will be made in July. The decision would likely be made by the end of 2019.
Alex Xavier, Director of Individual Membership, Compliance and Professional Development, worked previously for a Chartered members body. He said that he had seen the many benefits such status can bring. 
He said: “If we are subsequently given permission to award Individual Chartered Status in a few years’ time, this will give our individual members who hold qualifications or equivalent experience the opportunity to apply to become chartered fundraisers – anticipated to be the pinnacle in professional recognition of knowledge, skills and ethical standards in fundraising.”
The Institute of Fundraising has over 6,000 individual members and over 600 organisational members who raise more than £10 billion in income for good causes every year.


How to contribute to the process

The Institute has today published a new ‘chartered journey’ area on its website which will include all the draft governing documents, a series of blog posts, details about the consultation and a set of frequently asked questions.
The Institute will be collecting questions (and answering them) across different social channels and organising a Twitter Q&A between 12.30 and 1.30pm on 9 May. 
Comments from members on the draft documents should be sent to the Institute by 29 May.
Discussions can be followed via the hashtag #IoFCharteredJourney.