Fundraising as a profession has come a long way in a short space of time. It has taken recent criticism on the chin, made its bed, and got its house in order. It is, I believe, in a good place.
When I joined up it was – like so many in our profession – out of a burning desire to make a difference where it was needed. Charities up and down the land are doing that today, and I am proud to be in a profession which supports the needy, the environment, or local amenities, or indeed whatever cause we are involved with.
For those of us who ‘accidentally’ became fundraisers, we all know that becoming a good, even the best, fundraiser, doesn’t happen by accident. We work hard day in day out, clocking up the hours, months and years to make that difference in people’s lives. We enrol on courses, conferences and workshops to learn from experienced experts and each other.
I believe that the IoF gaining chartered status will give our profession the recognition and professional status that is long-overdue.
In my own career, I have been fortunate enough to work for some large well-known charities, where I’ve gained a vast amount of experience and knowledge. I’ve also been a sole fundraiser at very small organisations, where I’ve had little support or guidance.
Over the years, I’ve gone from being an ‘accidental’ fundraiser to a professional fundraiser. Completing both the IoF Diploma in Fundraising and the International Advanced Diploma in Fundraising, has given me a real boost, deepening my knowledge and output as a fundraiser. I have gained a toolkit of over 600 academic reading tools and theories that I can integrate not just within my daily fundraising work, but the way I manage my relationships with key stakeholders. I imagine most people outside the sector would have no idea that our profession has that much academia and research.
Completing the IoF qualifications and getting the letters after my name as recognition for my work and commitment has given me the confidence to proudly call myself a professional fundraiser.
Gaining chartered status will only help to support the profession in mapping out a learning journey so that we can all keep growing and learning as fundraisers – whether through qualifications or CPD - giving our efforts rightful recognition.
One of the things that I love most about this profession is the community. The IoF has been more than my ‘go-to’ for fundraising resources and information, it has been my fundraising ‘troop’.
Through my regional IoF group I’ve gained amazing peer networks that have provided support at times when my fundraising resilience reserves were low. I’ve been to events and workshops that have inspired me no-end and met passionate people who are always willing to collaborate and share knowledge to make us all better fundraisers for the causes we work for.
Nearly 6,000 fundraisers are members of the IoF and I believe that gaining chartered status will help grow our community even more. I also strongly believe that it will help attract a new and diverse pool of talent to the fundraising profession.
Above all I hope that maybe one day when you ask a classroom what they want to do when they are older, someone will say “when I grow up I want to be a fundraiser".
Emma-Louise Singh MInstF(AdvDip) is a fundraising consultant who has qualified with both the Diploma in Fundraising and the International Advanced Diploma in Fundraising.
Find out more about our journey towards chartered status here.