IoF investigating ‘small number of complaints’ about sexual harassment 

25 Feb 2020 News

The Institute of Fundraising says it has received “a small number of complaints” about sexual harassment which have progressed to a formal investigation, since concerns about the problem were raised last March. 

Last year fundraisers called for leaders and membership bodies to do more to protect them from sexual harassment by senior colleagues, donors and others.

In an article for the March 2019 issue of Fundraising Magazine, Ruby Bayley-Pratt, fundraising policy and research manager at the British Red Cross, shone a spotlight on predatory and inappropriate behaviour towards female fundraisers by donors and those within the sector.  

This prompted fundraisers to start sharing experiences of inappropriate behaviour. 

The Institute of Fundraising encouraged fundraisers to report breaches of its code of conduct and promised to investigate complaints. It set up a taskforce to look at what changes the IoF could make to its own procedures.

The IoF later updated its code of conduct in June and changed its complaints policy to enable it to investigate anonymous complaints.

A spokesperson has told Civil Society News that since then, the IoF has “received a small number of complaints which have been, or are continuing to be, investigated”. 

They were unable to give any details about exactly how many complaints the IoF had received and whether any disciplinary action has been taken. 

Members of the IoF who breach its rules face being expelled from the umbrella body. 

The spokesperson said the outcome of investigations will not automatically be made public, with the investigations panel making this decision as part of its deliberations.   

“All complaints are treated with the highest level of consideration and confidentiality. When a complaint moves to the formal investigation stage, an investigations panel is convened, made up of at least one trustee, Institute members and independent experts as necessary. 

“The panel liaises directly with those involved on the outcomes of their complaints, and any sanctions imposed which will depend on a case by case basis. As part of its deliberations, the panel will decide whether to make the conclusions of its investigations public.”

They confirmed that some investigations have already been completed, with the conclusions of these kept private.  

The taskforce on sexual harassment is expected to complete its work by July 2020. The IoF said it would “continue to provide updates on its work”. 

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