Report provides recommendations for dismantling the patriarchy in fundraising

08 Mar 2023 News

By W.Scott McGill / Adobe

A blueprint to dismantle patriarchal structures in the fundraising profession, which contains 45 recommendations, has been published by Rogare think tank.

The recommendations look to bring about structural change to end sexism in fundraising, which is an “institutionally sexist” profession according to the report authors.

The report includes codes of conduct for donors, an awareness campaign to encourage men to call out misogyny, and a reporting system to collect details of donor harassment. 

‘The fundraising profession is institutionally sexist’

Heather Hill and Ashley Belanger, part of the Rogare Gender Issue project team, said: “The fundraising profession is institutionally sexist and discriminates against its women/female members”. 

They told Fundraising Magazine that “almost every part of society is institutionally sexist” and “it would be ludicrous to believe that fundraisers were exempt from all the institutional biases that plague every other sector and profession.”

The project team also included Becky Slack from Agenda and Jessica Rose from Spanish National Cancer Research Centre. 

Sexual harassment reporting systems recommended

The report recommends organisations establish processes to audit, report and log incidents of donor-perpetrated sexual harassment. 

It also suggests they provide protocols for complaints investigations and whistle-blowing. It also recommends that individuals confront non-inclusive behaviours and lobby organisations to create significant structural changes to dismantle the patriarchy.

‘Lean out’ feminism

The report is based on ‘lean out’ feminism as opposed to ‘lean in’ which suggests women prosper within patriarchal structures. 

Instead, Rogare has created a lean out roadmap that organisations can use to identify the issues facing female fundraisers and the solutions to them. 

The report also suggests a model code whereby donors sign up to six statements that confirm they will treat all fundraising staff as knowledgeable professionals, never discriminate against or harass them, and not exploit the power they hold in relationships with fundraisers for personal gain.

‘We need to make changes to the whole profession of fundraising’

Heather Hill, head of international philanthropy at Chapel & York and chair of Rogare, led this phase of the project. 

She said: “Dismantling the patriarchy is such a massive job that it could seem as if anything you do is just a drop in the ocean. It might make ripples, but how do you know if those ripples will ever lead to anything? If you want to make change, what’s the map that shows you how to do that?

“The Rogare Blueprint is designed to provide fundraisers – women and men – with confidence, by showing them where they can direct their activism for greatest effect.”

Hill said that for real change to occur both organisational and individual change is necessary. 

“If we want to change how individuals act, we need to change how the organisations they work for act, and to do that, we need to make changes to the whole profession of fundraising.”

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