Fundraisers quit CIoF roles and raise concerns about handling of allegations

14 Jun 2021 News

Two fundraisers have quit their roles at the Chartered Institute of Fundraising (CIoF) and others have raised further concerns about how investigations into sexual harassment allegations are being handled. 

Last week the CIoF announced that an independent investigation had cleared its (CIoF's) former chief executive, Peter Lewis, of wrongdoing. 

It said the investigation was opened following an allegation on social media that a complaint of sexual harassment was made to Lewis in 2014, which he did not act upon.

An HR consultancy, Tell Jane, was appointed to conduct an investigation and submit a report to the board.

Many in the fundraising community are calling for the report to be published, whilst protecting the identity of those who spoke to Tell Jane, but the CIoF has said it was agreed that it would be a confidential report to the board.

The investigation into allegations of sexual harassment by a member is ongoing.

Complainants testimony not included 

People who had been involved in the investigation said they had not been contacted by Tell Jane about the outcome of the investigation before it was published CIoF and details sent to the media.

Beth Upton, a fundraising consultant who made a complaint to the CIoF shared a thread on Twitter stating that on 8 April 2021 she gave testimony to Tell Jane “about both a perpetrator of sexual harassment and Peter Lewis' inaction despite knowledge of that perpetrator's actions”. 

She wrote: “I know that IoF was informed of this person's behaviour in 2014 because I was the person who told them. I did not tell Peter personally at that time but I expected that the person I told would take action and I know that they did because we talked frequently about it.”

Upton shared a screenshot of her invitation to the meeting, adding that she gave all of this information to Tell Jane.

However, she says she has been told she was not included as a witness in the Lewis complaint and her testimony not been included in the investigation.

CIoF chair to ‘investigate’ why complainants were not contacted on outcome of Tell Jane’s investigation 

The chair of the CIoF has pledged to “investigate” why people who participated in Tell Jane’s recent investigation into the membership bodies handling of sexual harassment, were not contacted about the outcome.

Mandy Johnson, who has consistently spoken out about these issues, has said she was not contacted about the outcome of the investigation.

Claire Rowney, chair of the CIoF, responded: “I’m incredibly sorry that you weren’t contacted about the outcome and that others who courageously participated in investigations have not been. The board were informed that all witnesses had been contacted by Tell Jane - please accept my apologies while I investigate.”


Following the outcome of the report, Sarah Goddard, chair of the CIoF's Community Fundraising Special Interest Group resigned over its handling of sexual misconduct allegations.

On Twitter she said: “I didn't think it was possible to be more disgusted or outraged as I was in March. You've outdone yourselves and you should be ashamed. I quit as a volunteer, effective immediately.” 

Damian Chapman also tweeted that he was resigning from his involvement at the CIoF saying he “cannot continue to support a body that fails its members”. 

Some senior figures have also said they will be staying at the CIoF to ensure there are figures in the institute who unconditionally believe women who have complained of sexual misconduct.

Speaking in a joint interview with Third Sector, Ruth Davison and Lucy Caldicott said they would not resign as fellows over the issue, but respected anyone who made that decision.

“We are choosing to remain as fellows of CIoF [as] someone who unconditionally believes the women in the room, and we’ll use whatever limited power and influence we have to fight for them and to continue to influence for change on their behalf,” they told the trade publication. 

Editor's note - 14 June 5pm 

After this story was published the CIoF trustees issued a statement apologising for mistakes in not contacting witnesses.

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