Male-dominated fundraising Summit is cancelled

11 Feb 2013 News

The fundraising conference organised by Giles Pegram and Professor Adrian Sargeant has now been cancelled in the wake of Pegram's comments about women fundraisers last week.

Adrian Sargeant, Professor of fundraising at the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana Universit

The fundraising conference organised by Giles Pegram and Professor Adrian Sargeant has now been cancelled in the wake of Pegram's comments about women fundraisers last week.

The Summit, a one-day event in April that promised to help delegates “raise extra billions” by offering advice on donor satisfaction and retention, will not now go ahead.

This morning, Sargeant (pictured) issued a statement distancing himself and the event from Pegram’s remarks about women still not being adequately involved in the thinking in fundraising – but also paid tribute to Pegram and his contribution to the profession.

He wrote: “The views expressed on the Civil Society website this week are not my views and neither are they the views of any of our speakers nor any of the organisers of the Summit. Any suggestion that they might be we find unacceptable. Gender stereotypes obviously have no place in the voluntary sector and nor anywhere within the profession of fundraising.

“While Giles has rightly issued a full and heartfelt apology for his unwitting remarks and any distress that he might inadvertently have caused, in light of the way his comments have been interpreted and reported we think it would be inadvisable and practically difficult for us to continue with the Summit, at least in its current format. We have therefore decided, with regret, to cancel the event at this time.”

Anybody who has already registered will be contacted and given a full refund immediately.

Sargeant went on: “The other speakers, and Giles, have supported us fully in this decision.

“I’d like to offer my personal thanks to Denisa Casement, Tanya Steele and others for the kindness and sensitivity they have shown in working to resolve this. I am most grateful.

“While accepting Giles Pegram’s sincerely-held and full apology we would record that this unfortunate series of misunderstandings in no way diminishes the huge regard with which Giles Pegram CBE is held by the organisers and the proposed speakers at this event. Giles’ contribution to the shape of modern fundraising in this country and elsewhere is second to none and we have no doubt that he will continue to make a valuable contribution to our profession for years to come.”

Apology accepted

After Pegram said sorry for his comments on Friday, a number of women fundraisers took to Twitter and to accept his apology. Kath Abrahams, the new director of income generation at Breakthrough Breast Cancer, said that though he had made a “misguided, patronising and wholly inaccurate distinction between those who think and those who do, unhelpfully positioning those who think on a higher intellectual plane”, he is still “a good man for whom I continue to have fondness and respect”.

“We worked together through the Full Stop appeal. He was a supportive and empowering boss. I learned a great deal from him. And he was always willing to learn from others.

“Let’s give the man a break,” Abrahams concluded. “It would be sad if someone who has contributed so much over so many years to the sector was simply remembered for an error of judgement.”

Liz Tait, fundraising director at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, tweeted: “Sorry is a powerful word, thanks to @gilespegram for the apology but also for opening up the debate, long overdue!”

Charity Chicks, whose question about the lack of females on the Summit speaker lineup sparked the whole exchange, added: “Good man @gilespegram. Thanks for the apology. Feels like it has all got a bit out of hand!”

This morning, Ian Macquillin, head of communications at the PFRA, tweeted: “I have pinned to my noticeboard a quote that reads: ‘If you are arguing on Twitter, you have already lost’.”


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