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CIoF delays Fundraising Convention to prioritise attention on harassment issues

26 Apr 2021 News

The Chartered Institute of Fundraising (CIoF) has delayed this year’s Fundraising Convention so that it can focus on issues raised around harassment.

The CIoF will instead host a series of events across the original dates, 5 to 7 July, including its usual annual general meeting (AGM). It will also hold a free event focused on safeguarding and its Supporter Experience Conference. 

The new dates for the main conference are 27 to 29 September 2021.

A statement from the CIoF reads: “Every year we look forward to bringing the fundraising community together at Fundraising Convention and we’ve been excited to hear just how many fundraisers want to speak at this year’s event. However, over the last couple of months we as the Chartered Institute have been focusing our attention on important issues raised around harassment within the sector and our role to effect change.”

It adds: “We recognise there have been issues in our own complaints process and we are determined to address that. On 26 March we announced the specific next steps we are taking to build a safe and inclusive profession and our commitment to our members. We committed to an action plan on tackling harassment, discrimination and abuse, with urgent steps for us to take over the next three months.

“This has come at a time when the coronavirus lockdown has hit our income and forced a reduction in capacity and staff changes, stretching the Chartered Institute team and our planning for Fundraising Convention.”

That statement adds that feedback from its convention board suggested a need to prioritise this work now and explore incorporating these themes into the Fundraising Convention Online 2021 programme. 

Therefore, it has taken “the positive decision” to move the date of this year’s event to “enable us to do justice to the speakers and our convention board sharing their time and expertise, and give fundraisers like you enough time to plan your attendance”.

Laurie Boult, executive fundraising director at Age UK, and chair of the convention board: “The convention board will do all that we can to support the action plan and to ensure that Fundraising Convention embodies the culture that we want to see in our sector. Fundraising Convention is above all, an event for fundraisers, by fundraisers, and moving to September this year gives us the best opportunity to make the Fundraising Convention the best it can be for you.”

All fundraisers that have already submitted session ideas will be contacted by Friday 7 May, and will be informed as to whether they have been successful.

Earlier this year the CIoF was criticised for its handling of sexual harassment allegations. It has since said it is “truly sorry” after its first statement about investigations into sexual harassment caused “confusion and distress”. 

At the end of March it set out changes it expects to make to its complaints and disciplinary procedures over the coming months. 

CIoF also is expected to appoint an interim chief executive after Peter Lewis resigned following a decade in the role. 

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