Paul Amadi, Chief Supporter Officer at the British Red Cross and a member of the IoF's EDI panel, explains why he believes chartered status will promote fundraising as an inclusive, rewarding, and respected career choice.
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the future of the fundraising profession. This last year or so, more than any other I can remember, the questions and debates about the culture and workplaces we create for fundraising, and the diversity of our fundraising teams, has been at the forefront of discussions across the sector. I welcome this – they are issues that have been bubbling under for a while now and it’s about time we got round to addressing them. Not that it’s a simple task – these are tricky and complex issues for us to think through, and as nice as it would be to strike upon an easy ‘right answer’, unfortunately there isn’t something so straightforward. What we need is not one new and shiny initiative, but lots of combined and complementary action, some small, some big, and a combination of cultural change, tactical interventions, systematic shifts, and individual action.
One of the things that I believe can help in raising the profile of fundraising to make it a more attractive career choice and work towards increasing the diversity within the sector, is the potential move to the Institute of Fundraising becoming a chartered body. I’ve been part of the IoF’s Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Panel where we’ve thought a lot (and continue to do so) about how the professional membership body can do more across all of these issues. One of the reflections we’ve been thinking about is that a potential move by IoF to become a properly recognised, established, and credited professional body can help increase the awareness and attractiveness of fundraising to a wider and more diverse possible workforce.
People want and need different things from their work and career: salary, benefits, a work life balance, skills development, a sense of personal reward, and pride in their job among many other things. Once you’re in the sector, you know that a job in fundraising can bring you all of those things (and more). But if you’re not in the sector, how would you know? What might make you think that fundraising can be a real career choice? That’s where I believe that fundraising becoming recognised as a chartered profession can help and make a real difference and why I’m excited about the potential move for the IoF, and for me as an individual member myself.
I’m also fully behind the decision by the IoF Board to put inclusion at the heart of the journey to chartered status, using it as an opportunity to drive equality, diversity, and inclusion in the fundraising profession. By celebrating and recognising the professional credibility that comes with a job in fundraising, the importance of skills development, a focus on ethics and values, and being part of a wider community of professionals, I think that being part of a chartered body can help us reach out to people that we currently miss. It’s an opportunity for us to fly the flag for fundraising and bring in new people from diverse groups to the sector and ensure that they have the right experience as a fundraising professional.
I’m supporting the change to chartered status for the IoF because I believe it will promote fundraising as an inclusive, rewarding, and respected career choice. The success of the future of fundraising is contingent on the people who we can attract, develop, and retain within the profession. Chartered status is a step in the right direction to achieving that.
Paul Amadi is Chief Supporter Officer at the British Red Cross. He sits on the IoF's Expert Advisory Panel on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and was Chair of the IoF from 2008 until 2010.