The Institute of Fundraising has gained permission from the Privy Council to apply formally for chartered status.
In 2012 the IoF said it hoped to become a chartered body but its plans were delayed after scandals affecting the fundraising sector in 2015.
By July 2018 the IoF said it was back in discussions about applying for chartered status and today it announced that it has been granted formal permission to apply for chartered status.
Peter Lewis, chief executive at the IoF told Civil Society News: "In order to become a chartered body you have to fulfil a certain set of criteria set by the Privy Council, including delivering public benefit, being of a sufficient size and financial sustainability and covering a unique area not covered by any other professional body.
"We were exploring this through our Informal Memorandum in 2015 when our approach was put on hold by the Privy Council pending delivery of the Etherington Review.
"We have now delivered the recommendations set out in the 2015 Etherington Review, including supporting the set up and ongoing work of the Fundraising Regulator, transferring the code to them, merging with the PFRA and putting the delivery of excellent fundraising at the heart of our work.
"Over the last year we have secured the informal support of government officials once again, Sir Stuart Etherington and the Fundraising Regulator, as well as the continued support of the UK’s largest charities, the chairs of our regional, national and special interest groups and our wider membership.
"That is why the Privy Council has said we can now submit a formal petition.
"The final decision remains with the Queen on the advice of the Privy Council."
Key benefits of chartered status
If the IoF is granted chartered status, Lewis said the key benefit will be the external recognition of fundraising as a respected profession, increasing the reputation of fundraisers and of fundraising as a career.
The IoF’s board of trustees has agreed a draft of new constitutional documents, including charter, bye-Laws and regulations, which will be consulted on with members and the Privy Council.
The final version for agreement will go to members at the annual general meeting in July.
Lewis said: "If agreed by our members, we would then make our formal petition to the Privy Council, who review our petition and advise the Queen on her decision."
The IoF plans to put forward the formal petition to the Privy Council in July, on the back of its members approval, and would expect a decision before the end of the year.
Lewis said: “Working towards chartered status has been a key priority for our members for several years.
“Now that we are able to continue our journey, I’m excited to consult with them on the detailed proposals before submitting our formal petition to the Privy Council for their decision.
“This is a really important step for the Institute, embedding professional standards at the heart of the fundraising community, and securing external recognition for the important role fundraisers play in today’s society, raising vital funds to make the world a better place.”
Chartered status for IoF members
Lewis said if chartered status was granted, a key focus would be to develop the policies, procedures and systems in order to apply to the Privy Council to grant chartered status to individual members who show depth and commitment to fundraising standards and to professional development.
He said the IoF hoped to be able to do this within two or three of years of becoming a chartered body, following the same pathway taken by other professional bodies.
The IoF said fundraisers often felt fundraising was not treated as a proper profession by the public or the organisations employing them.
The expert panel on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at the IoF said the problem is probably greater in under-represented communities within fundraising.
Alex Xavier, director of individual membership, compliance and professional development, said: “Having worked for a chartered membership body in the past, I have seen first-hand the many benefits it can bring.
“Should we be granted chartered status as an institute, it will give much deserved recognition and credibility to everyone in the profession.
“If we are subsequently given permission to award individual chartered status in a few years’ time, this will give our individual members who hold qualifications or equivalent experience the opportunity to apply to become chartered fundraisers – anticipated to be the pinnacle in professional recognition of knowledge, skills and ethical standards in fundraising.”