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IoF research reveals public perceptions of the fundraising profession

IoF research reveals public perceptions of the fundraising profession

The majority of the public think that raising funds for a charity is important but nearly 1 in 2 men think that fundraising “is not for people like me” while overall, women view it more positively than men.

These are some of the key findings from newly published research from the . What does the public think of fundraising? is the first of two instalments of a public poll, conducted by YouGov, and looks at how the fundraising profession is seen and understood by the public, particularly at whether age, race, religion, disability, or gender make a difference to how fundraising is perceived.

78% of those polled thought raising funds for charity is an important thing, rising to 83% of 16-24 year olds but slightly lower among Muslim and Asian people at 74% and 72% respectively.

Women and disabled people were also more likely to strongly agree with this, at 36% of women compared to 24% of men, and 36% of disabled respondents, versus 28% of non-disabled respondents.

When asked whether they viewed the fundraising profession positively however, white respondents were more likely to respond negatively at 20% versus 12% of black and Asian respondents. Overall, 41% felt very or quite positive about it.

In terms of fundraising itself, around two thirds of people agreed that it is vital for charities to do their work, encourages positive social change, and is rewarding. However, women were far more likely than men to feel this way.


IoF public perceptions of fundraising


Just over half (53%) of people thought fundraisers came from diverse backgrounds with black respondents (14%) more likely to disagree than white (7%)or Asian respondents (6%). Nearly half – 45% – of men thought it was not a profession for people like them, compared to 31% of women.


Diversity IoF public perceptions


Only 50% disagreed with the statement that ‘fundraising is a job more for women than men’ however. While only 10% agreed, 32% were unsure and 9% didn’t know, with men and Asian respondents more likely to agree.

The survey also asked people what they felt important aspects of a fundraiser’s role were. 88% thought that being able to create rapport and build relationships, as well as engaging and influencing, were the most important aspects of the role.

Women were more likely to agree that connecting with donors from diverse backgrounds is important to the job.


IoF Public perception research


Alex Xavier, Director of Professional Development at the IoF, said:

“We want to encourage the broadest range of people, from across the UK, to think of fundraising as a career choice. The public are absolutely right in that fundraising is a profession where people can make a difference to society, but we need to think more about how we can demonstrate and showcase the career and skills development opportunities that fundraising can offer.

“There is a real opportunity with our planned journey to Chartered status in making fundraising a more attractive career prospect and we hope to work with schools, universities, and career development services to promote fundraising as a career.”

YouGov polled 2,623 adults for the survey. The second instalment will explore how people view a career in fundraising and will be made available on Monday 23 September 2019. The research was commissioned by the IoF and supported by TPP Recruitment and HR Directors Network.




Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via

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