The Institute of Fundraising has updated its member Code of Conduct, its complaints policy and introduced Code of Behaviour for its training and events, following calls from the sector for it to do more to protect fundraisers from abuse or harassment.
In recent months there has been widespread concern about the amount of sexual harassment experienced by young female fundraisers and the IoF set up a taskforce in March to address the issue and look at what changes it should make to its own procedures.
Following the taskforce’s recommendations, the IoF said it has updated its Code of Conduct to specifically outline expectations for members.
The membership body has also changed its complaints policy and regulations and said it will now investigate anonymous complaints, with the caveat that maintaining anonymity may limit the action that it can take.
Ahead of the IoF’s three-day convention next week it has also developed a specific Code of Behaviour for anyone attending its events.
On Twitter, Peter Lewis, chief executive of the Institute of Fundraising, said it was “vital for us to have a truly inclusive profession”.
I've written to all @IoFtweets members today informing them of our strengthened Code of Conduct, revised complaints policy which allows us, amongst other things, to take anonymous complaints, and our new Code of Behaviour. All vital for us to have a truly inclusive profession. https://t.co/U2ydwEgHjM— Peter Lewis (@piterk68) June 26, 2019
Concern about widespread sexual harassment was raised by Ruby Bayley Pratt in an article for Civil Society Media’s Fundraising Magazine in March and prompted calls from within the fundraising community for the IoF to take action.
She wrote: "The more conversations I have with my fellow fundraisers, the more accounts of sexualised, inappropriate behaviour from donors I collect – from the supposedly innocuous compliments and terms of endearment, a hand placed a little low on the back or on the knee to explicit objectification, groping, and propositioning for sex."
She added: "It is common knowledge that several of the 'forefathers of fundraising' – men to whom we give guru status – can get 'a little bit handsy'.
"Our leaders need to wake up to the fact that zero-tolerance is not our reality and do more."
The next issue of Fundraising Magazine has a special investigation into the problem. It will be published in print and online on Monday 1 July.