Charities have a duty of care to make sure fundraisers are safe from sexual harassment. No more excuses. Exactly two years ago, the cover feature of this magazine detailed the extent of sexual harassment in the fundraising industry.
It was part of a larger body of work that ran over several issues involving insight into research on donor dominance, opinion pieces on strategy and HR policies, and courageous testimonies from victims of harassment. This magazine stands in solidarity with all those people that came forward, told their stories and gave their thoughts regardless of personal cost.
In this column two years ago, I called for leaders to address problems around sexual harassment and coercion in what felt like a watershed moment for sector. The saddening thing is that little seems to have changed since then.
These are difficult times, and priorities have had to shift rapidly in order to tackle new challenges brought about by the pandemic. But that does not mean we should lose sight of the fundamental rights of fundraisers to feel safe and protected in their profession. As research and countless examples have shown, this is a sector-wide issue. Focus needs to remain on listening to what the victims want and preventing these instances from happening again.
At its heart, fundraising is about fighting for a cause. Every fundraiser I speak to has a passion for the work they do – just look at the New Voices section in each issue. Fundraisers are driven and committed. They have to be. But this doesn’t mean they should be exposed to abuse through imbalances of power and toxic dynamics just to do the work they love.
Charities have a duty of care to make sure fundraisers are safe regardless of reputational or monetary cost. No more excuses. It is on all of the sector to protect those who work in it.
At the core of all successful major donor programmes are relationships. It’s time to put those to the test.
We have been outside our comfort zone for over a year and the danger is that we will rush to embrace old habits, writes Stephen Cotterill.
Last month has to be a watershed moment for the sector and society as a whole.