Friday, 15 June 2012

How to help the Institute of Fundraising?

Did you get your notice of the AGM yesterday? Mine came in the post and set me to think about the changes afoot.

The Institute of Fundraising has a new Chief Executive, Peter Lewis, who when I met him last seems to be very open about the huge job he's facing and the radical changes that the Institute needs to undergo to make it more relevant to fundraising and more valuable to fundraisers. Backing him is a trustee body of 16 good men and women.

Interestingly (according to the Charity Commission) only three of them are trustees of other charities. Now I'm not saying that you have to be a trustee to understand the world of governance, but it doesn't half help. In fact I advise and urge all my students to do just that. Become a trustee of another charity that they are interested in and walk a mile in the other person's moccasins. As a fundraiser it really helps clarify the thought processes that those, legally responsible for the governance of the charity, go through. That's one of the reasons I've been a trustee of five other fundraising charities over the last 20 years and am still there for one currently.

The Institute is, of course, a particularly odd fish. It is a membership organisation that happens to represent fundraisers. How well does it represent us? How well can it represent our needs, concerns and issues to government and the rest of the sector? What more could it be doing for us?

Well to misquote JFK, "Ask not what your Institute can do for you but rather what you can do for your Institute." That's why I've decided to stand for one of the two places up for election this July. Those of you who know me can be sure that I'll tell it as it is and where I can, do something about it. Changes in member benefits and support, membership qualifications and (one of my favourite subjects) continuing professional development. For example, we really have to get to the point where membership is a requirement of every fundraising job, not just a "would like".

So unashamedely and not very grumpily I'm asking for your vote please, on the ballot paper. Help me to help the institute. As I said when I campaigned (long ago but successfully)as president of the student union - "All the way with PKJ."