How Chartered status will help transform our profession

21 February 2020
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The Institute of Fundraising’s Alex Xavier looks at how the membership body is looking to create new traditions with its Charter, and what Chartered Status will mean for the fundraising profession.

Last Friday we were delighted to announce the news that the Queen has approved an Order granting a Royal Charter to the Institute of Fundraising. Fundraising as a profession will be formally recognised alongside the likes of lawyers and accountants, and it will give added weight and credibility to work we do to support the raising of funds for worthwhile causes.

This is a huge achievement that we want to share with the whole sector – something that we can all benefit from in terms of championing our standards of professional competence and driving these still higher by evidencing them, and it will help to positively enhance perceptions of charities and the work we do.

And for our members it represents a formal acknowledgement that in order to be a recognised fundraising professional, you require a unique set of knowledge, skills and behaviours in your role making the world a better place, and these can be learned and shared through education, training and best practice.

So what does it mean for me?

One immediate question many people have asked is what benefits it will bring for members going forward.

For all of our members you will soon be able to say you are a member of the Chartered Institute of Fundraising. However, for our Individual Members, we are now commencing a new #IoFCharteredJourney to be approved to award Individual Chartered Status in few years’ time. Should we be approved to do so, it will give Individual Members the opportunity to gain a ‘Chartered Fundraiser’ designation – similar to ‘Chartered Accountants’ and ‘Chartered Surveyors’.

We will take some time to engage with members to determine what our approach to Individual Chartered Status could be, but other professions tend to have two routes – a ‘qualified’ route and an ‘experience’ route. 

It is important to note that the new Chartered Institute of Fundraising will continue to be for all fundraisers. Those who do not wish to become a Chartered Fundraiser will continue to be supported in their journeys with us as we strive to make fundraising a profession for everyone.

Opening up more routes into fundraising

As a Chartered Body we will also have a stronger platform to continue our work in promoting fundraising as a profession of choice. Whether graduates, non-graduates or career changers, we want to ensure we showcase a career in fundraising as an exciting and rewarding choice so we can grow the number of talented people in our sector – particularly those from diverse groups. One specific initiative we are delighted to be supporting is the development of a Level 3 ‘Fundraiser’ Apprenticeship. Should this apprenticeship standard be approved, it will allow organisations of all sizes to create apprenticeship fundraiser roles which we anticipate will open up a route into the profession for those who don’t go to university. We will continue to explore other routes into the profession for graduates, non-graduates and career changers with a specific focus on diverse groups.

Changing how people perceive us

Our YouGov research on the public’s perception of fundraising in 2019 showed most of the public would view fundraising more favourable if it was represented by a Chartered Body. It is important to us, and our members, to make sure the value of the work you do day in and day out is recognised, celebrated and appreciated.

And for the IoF, our members perception will undoubtedly change as we commence a new chapter in our history as the Chartered Institute of Fundraising in April, and plan to launch our new identity – and a new website – before Fundraising Convention 2020.

Creating new traditions

For some perhaps a “Royal Charter” evokes images of feathered hats, scrolls and vellum. For the IoF, we are developing a Chartered identity that brings the profession into the future. We’re opting to print our Charter on recycled paper as opposed to the traditional vellum. The Privy Council has allowed us the honour of being among the first to break a 700-year-old custom of printing Royal Charters on parchment made of calfskin. It’s great to be able to use the Charter as a symbol for our commitment to the climate and creating a new tradition that fits our beliefs.

What's to come?

This is an exciting year with a number of initiatives in development which will help support members even further in their professional development. Some specific things to look out for include:

There is much to do, but this is a really exciting time to be a member of the soon to be Chartered Institute of Fundraising. Thank you to everyone who supported us on our #IoFCharteredJourney, and we are looking forward to supporting all fundraisers in this new chapter in the profession’s history.

Alex Xavier
Alex Xavier
Director of Individual Membership, Compliance and Professional Development at the Chartered Institute of Fundraising
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