I was delighted to be able to give fundraisers the opportunity to highlight the amazing work that they do.
I know just how important, and at times difficult, a fundraiser’s job can be; I used to be one. So I can tell you from experience that the fundraising community needs all the recognition and support we can offer.
As a fundraiser, and a former member of the IoF, I benefited first-hand from the excellent professional training of the Institute. I studied for the Certificate of Fundraising Management in 1999 and, although I recognise changes have been made to that programme over time, I can testify as to how valuable the training on offer to me in the late nineties was to me as a new fundraiser. My professional charity work started off as a Trusts and Corporate Development Fundraiser for the Muscular Dystrophy Group (Muscular Dystrophy UK).
I then worked for Church, Development and Housing charities – writing statutory and trusts funding bids, taking charge of legacy fundraising and undertaking management roles. The nature of the work I undertook was varied, but for each of the four charity jobs I had in 15 years, my membership of the Institute was valuable for each.
As a Member of Parliament, and in particular in my role as co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Charities and Volunteering, I’m keen to continue supporting the work of charities and charity fundraisers. It is fair to say that the last few years have seen a lot of scrutiny of the sector, and I expect that it will likely remain the topic of lively debate for the foreseeable future. But I am really glad that within this debate, we are seeing more and more positive stories emerging, with fundraising also recognised for the vital, and often very innovative, work that it does.
I know from my time as a charity fundraiser, and as a local MP with many great charities in my constituency, that our communities would not be the same without charity fundraisers. As a country, the UK is consistently ranked as one of the most generous in the world. This is something that benefits us all, and that we should all be very proud of.