The Chartered Institute of Fundraising has said it is “truly sorry” after its statement about investigations into sexual harassment caused “confusion and distress”.
Its statement came after chairs of special interest and regional committees sent the national body a formal letter expressing concerns about the Chartered Institute.
One of those involved, Dana Kohavna Segal, co-chair of the Chartered Institute’s Cultural Sector Network, tweeted: “As co-chair of @CIOFCulture, I have worked alongside the other committee chairs to write a formal letter to the board and CEO expressing our concerns about this piece of communication, and their handling of this entire process. The letter has been sent this morning.”
The Chartered Institute has responded to the letter and is planning to hold a meeting to discuss concerns.
Chartered Institute apology
Yesterday evening the Chartered Institute published a statement apologising for its earlier statements.
“We know that our statement on our investigations into sexual harassment complaints in the fundraising sector was not clear enough and recognise this has caused confusion and distress, which is far from what was intended. The tone and timing of our response added to that for which we are truly sorry,” it says.
Fundraisers had been seeking answers from their representative body after Mandy Johnson, who has been a fundraiser and is a former chair of its London committee, criticised the Chartered Institute’s handling of a sexual harassment allegation.
Johnson claimed that an allegation had initially been ignored. The Chartered Institute denies ignoring the allegation and says the matter is still part of an ongoing investigation so it cannot comment further.
People had also criticised the Chartered Institute’s statement over the weekend as being insensitive.
In its apology, it said: “The past week’s events emphasise more than ever the critical issue of women’s safety. We must do our utmost to ensure a safe environment for all fundraisers and that is something we are deeply committed to.”
It added that as part of its process “we start from the basis of always believing someone who discloses abuse and ensuring we are able to deal with these complaints without placing further burden on the people who report it”.
The Chartered Institute added that it is looking at the feedback and would offer another update soon.
Its statement reads: “A number of questions have been raised, which we are formally reviewing as a matter of priority. We will provide further clarification shortly. This includes responding to issues raised by our Group Chairs, Fellows and other members today, to whom we are very grateful.
“We continue to encourage anyone seeking clarification around how a complaint to the Chartered Institute will be handled, to contact independent helpline Tell Jane (0800 689 0843) for confidential support.”