Open letter from Katie Docherty, CEO of Chartered Institute of Fundraising

09 June 2022
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I’m passionate about the work of the Chartered Institute in supporting fundraisers. I joined in October last year after spending more than 20 years working in fundraising for a range of charities.

Firstly, I want to make it clear that I’m committed to ensuring that we make our profession safe and inclusive so that fundraisers can thrive. 

I want to directly address some of the questions that have been raised by our members in recent weeks. I also want to tell you what the Chartered Institute has been working on and what we’ll be doing over the coming months.  

When I joined, I knew that change was needed. So, my priority was to listen. I spent my first three months meeting with hundreds of members to hear what you thought was and wasn’t working and what you wanted from your membership.  


We are committed to embedding our safeguarding policies and procedures into everything that we do. These are based on the principles of:

We have implemented extensive changes over the past 12 months to ensure our members are safe at all of our events and experiences. These include: 

More details on these changes can be found here: Chartered Institute of Fundraising - How we are making the event safe and inclusive (

Future conferences and events

With Scottish Conference, in-person events in Northern Ireland and Fundraising Convention about to take place, I want to talk about our plans for these events.

Having spoken to so many of our 5,500 members, the main thing that kept coming up was a desire to return to in-person events. It’s vital that we listen to all our members and offer the events that they want.  

However, I also know that other members would prefer an online event. That’s why this year, we will be delivering both an-in person Fundraising Convention and a separate online Fundraising Festival.  

The online Fundraising Festival will include 25 sessions recorded from the in-person convention as well as additional content created specifically for the online event. The Fundraising Festival will be free of charge to those attending the in-person Convention and accessibly priced for those attending the online-only event.  

Like many other charities, organisations and businesses throughout the country, we are all learning new methods of delivery and exploring how best to deliver in-person events whilst maintaining all the good things that come with online.   

We explored delivering a hybrid model and spoke to many other organisations who are also doing the same. Our priority, as a charity, is to deliver the very best experience for our members within the boundaries of our budgets and supporting sponsor relationships. We have decided then that the best experience possible for Convention 2022, within our resources and without compromising quality, will be achieved by delivering separate in-person and online events. And having seen the programmes, I am sure they are both going to provide amazing experiences.

Independent Review update

Earlier this year, we commissioned an Independent Review into the concerns, reports and complaints of sexual harassment not being acted upon appropriately over time by the organisation.

This is a journey, and there are areas of work that are still in progress. Most importantly is the work of the Independent Review to further address the concerns of harassment, discrimination and bullying in the fundraising community and the handling of safeguarding cases within the Chartered Institute of Fundraising.

The independent reviewer started work in March, undertaking substantial work. They have advised that there is more work involved than was originally anticipated. The Independent Working Group agreed it was appropriate that the review takes the time necessary to ensure that it is fully comprehensive and extensive.

I want to reiterate that this is my top priority. I want to ensure that our members are safe, included and supported. This is not just my top priority; it’s the top priority of our Board of Trustees, our volunteers, and our entire staff team. 

I’ve seen first-hand how our staff team have fully embraced this, and I am very proud of how committed they are to keeping our community safe. It’s a privilege to work in this sector, and it is all our responsibility to make sure this cultural change is embedded across everything that we do. It’s not enough to change policies and procedures – we need to ensure that we create meaningful cultural change.

Communicating our progress

We acknowledge that, while there has been a huge amount of work going on in the background, we have not effectively communicated this work.  

So, over the coming months, we will be holding a series of all-member meetings where we share what we’ve been doing and give our members an opportunity to ask questions to us directly. 

The first of these will be next Thursday and will be about Fundraising Convention.  You can hear from me, Paul Laird, our Director of Learning and Volunteering and a member of the Fundraising Convention Board, about what the experience will be like, and more about the programme and you can ask questions.


Katie Docherty
Katie Docherty
CEO, Chartered Institute of Fundraising
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