Stephen Cotterill: #AtWhatCost campaign against sexual harassment in fundraising

08 May 2019 Voices

Sexual harassment is endemic and often ignored to secure donations, but at what cost to fundraisers?

On the back of recent articles about sexual harassment and coercion in fundraising, this month we are launching our #AtWhatCost campaign.

Since those articles were published people have come forward about their experiences. About how they have been harassed or made to feel uncomfortable by donors, or by senior members of the fundraising community. Examples include: women fundraisers being asked to wear something more revealing when meeting an older male donor; being propositioned at events or meetings; managers within the sector turning a blind eye or saying complainants are overreacting; and leaders taking advantage of their power and seniority.

None of this will come as a surprise to many of you, and that is one of the key problems. It seems to have become normalised.

Primarily the campaign aims to raise awareness of the extent of the problem and focus the minds of leaders on how to protect their staff, put protocols in place whereby complaints can be voiced and to become sensitised to their concerns.

The call is coming from the rank and file, but change will come from the leaders, organisations and umbrella bodies that hold sway in the sector. Fundraising directors, CEOs and trustees cannot continue to ignore the problem, to give platforms to those who perpetuate this behaviour, or to trivialise or fail to act on complaints from their staff.

As part of the campaign, we will be publishing articles addressing this issue, looking at what organisations are doing, and what more they can or should do. Sexual harassment is commonplace in fundraising and we have to ask: at what cost? The ends cannot justify the means and nothing can justify sexual harassment.



More on