I find myself in a quandary re the new service announced today that the Institute of Fundraising has entered a partnership with Charityjob.co.uk to promote the latter’s online job recruitment service. See:
As a long-time member of the Institute, I have to agree by the code of conduct which states:
“All members of the Institute of Fundraising undertake to… ensure that their actions enhance the reputation of themselves and the Institute.”
By running a commercial online recruitment advertising service (since 1995 incidentally), UK Fundraising is now effectively encouraging potential advertisers not to support the Institute with their £25-per-job-ad donation. In short, advertise on UK Fundraising and the Institute will lose out on £25 each time. That’s hardly enhancing the reputation or financial benefit of the Institute.
The same applies to all the other online recruitment agencies whose staff are members of the Institute.
Any thoughts on this?
Sour grapes? Yes, of course, but no I don’t think we, The Guardian or other online recruitment services will go out of business as a result. But I think how far the Institute should support and endorse one commercial organisation to the possible detriment of others, especially members’ organisations, is an important issue.
Has anyone else found themselves unexpectedly in commercial competition with an element of the Institute’s work?
As an “industry”-wide body and practically a QUANGO when it comes to policy/good practice, IMO it is wrong – in fact, I would go so far as to capitalise that – it is WRONG for the IoF to ally itself with any single commercial company.
(NB I am not an IoF member).
Accepting commercial sponsorship is always a thorny question for charities and the institute is no exception. It is a very different relationship to that of accepting a donation and thereby (implicitly) accepting that the donating organisation is a reasonable operator working (one hopes) to the general benefit (and not doing anything inimicable to the charity’s objects). However with commercial sponsorship I believe very strongly that the charity should only agree terms – and thereby recommend the service or products – if they are sure that the deal is both the best that the charity could get and also a good deal for its members/supporters/donors.
If the institute are convinced that the deal meets each of these criterea I think its entitled to enter such agreements. Members can (and of course will) decide for themselves what the best service is for them personally.
Did the Institute involve you in the tendering process? One might think, since UKFundraising has been such a longstanding and valued service to the sector, that you should have been consulted, and perhaps asked to tender for the role, if it was decided that such a scheme would be prudent.
However, I don’t think you should feel guilty about your service – you were there first!
The Institute of Fundraising is – by definition – run by Fundraisers who will seek to gain every bit of advantage they can, but having said that, and as a proud to be member of the Institute, I do not believe that the Institute should be involving itself in such a service. I thought that the £70 a year I pay to be a member covered the costs of the Institute!
It will be interesting to see if sponsorship from the Guardian (and the like) will still be quite so forthcoming!!
Charityjob has just increased its fee for Institute of Fundraising members by 60%, although it didn’t mention that percentage in its latest email alert:
“You may already be aware that we have been working with the Institute since October 2004. The cost of advertising your fundraising jobs with the Institute has been £25 since our partnership was formed. From January 2006 this has increased to £40 to reflect the growing value of the service.”
Source: CharityJOB Employer’s Newsletter 2 February 2006
Of course, that’s still a very low figure and well below the £199 that UK Fundraising charges. Read their impressive visitor stats and its clearly a good deal.
But, a price rise of 60% from an exclusive partner to the Institute of Fundraising just doesn’t reflect well on the Institute, in my view.
Or should I just get over it? 😉
Or should I just get over it? 😉
You’re a bitter, bitter man… I’ve had nothing but friendly helpful advice every time I’ve spoken to someone from IoF. But the institution itself seems to have taken on a life of its own, in the way that a lot of organisations seem to hit a certain size then decide that increasing turnover must equate to achieving its key goals. I halfheatedly resent paying £50 for them to recognise my 10-year-old OU course, and going to the helpful member area of the website, carefully picking a few key issues I don’t mind getting email about, then being bombarded with increasingly panicked mails trying to flog me a ticket to the conference. Now I think of it, I don’t remember getting a reply to my email asking who their data protection officer was, either.
Hmmm. Maybe we’re both bitter, bitter men.
James (MInstF, but not Cert till I part with the pair of ponies)
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