Our chartered status journey

The story so far

The aspiration for the IoF to pursue chartered status has been supported and championed by members, trustees, staff and volunteers for many years, seeking equivalence with similar professions such as the Chartered Institute of Marketing, Chartered Institute of Public Relations, or Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and recognising the professional nature of fundraising in the 21st century. Members see key benefits as the external recognition of fundraising as a profession and enhancing the reputation of fundraising as a career.

Our Informal Memorandum in 2015

In March 2015, with the support of our Board and members, we submitted an Informal Memorandum to the Privy Council. This is the first stage in the process to becoming a chartered body.

That informal application was put on hold by the Privy Council in the summer of 2015 when Sir Stuart Etherington and his panel started their review of charity fundraising. Subsequently we were told that we it would be on hold until we delivered against the recommendations set out in that review.

Since then, the IoF has fully supported, and delivered against, the recommendations of the Etherington Review, including merging with the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association in 2016 to create a single membership body for the fundraising community.

We supported the establishment and set up of the Fundraising Regulator, and transferred the Code of Fundraising Practice to it. We continue to work collaboratively with the Fundraising Regulator, the Scottish Fundraising Standards Panel, the Charity Commission for England and Wales, OSCR (the Scottish Charity Regulator) and the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland to ensure fundraising is undertaken in a legal, open, honest and respectful manner.

Opportunity to submit a formal petition

In 2018, following discussions with Sir Stuart Etherington, the Fundraising Regulator and government officials we began discussions again with the Privy Council, and in January 2019 were granted permission to proceed with a formal petition for chartered status. We are now proceeding with that formal petition. The full process can be understood here.

Why would IoF becoming a chartered body help fundraisers and fundraising organisations deliver their objectives?

The Institute’s vision is Excellent Fundraising for a Better World. Our strategy sets out three strategic objectives to help us deliver that vision. One of those formal objectives for the last 6 years, based on consultations with our members, has been to become a chartered body. This is because we believe that excellent fundraising is something to be rightly proud of and that becoming a chartered profession will better enable fundraisers and fundraising organisations to deliver their objectives.

Fundraisers have often felt that fundraising is not recognised as a profession, either by the public or the organisations for whom they work. This is changing gradually, but many still feel some people outside the sector don’t see fundraising as a credible career, profession or even a proper paid job. Becoming a chartered body will give fundraising the external recognition it deserves as a respected profession that delivers public benefit here and abroad.

Indeed, the work of our Expert Panel on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion has highlighted that this issue is probably exacerbated within communities who are currently under-represented in fundraising.

More broadly chartered status, if granted, would provide public recognition of our professional competences and our commitment to ethical standards. It would provide professional credibility for fundraisers in their organisations - comparable to colleagues within the sector who are HR professionals or finance professionals - who each already have chartered status. It would elevate the status of fundraising organisations and the profession, which would in turn enhance the attractiveness to individuals thinking of entering the profession.

From an IoF perspective it would add credibility to our own status as the professional body for fundraising in the UK, the status of our qualifications and broader educational offering and would elevate the status of the IoF to external stakeholders and influencers including government departments, policy makers and the media.

On the basis of all the points above, we have carefully considered the investment of time and resources that it will need over the forthcoming months to move to submit a formal petition to the Privy Council to become a Chartered Institute, and we consider that it is well worth that investment considering all the benefits we believe it will bring the Institute, its members and the wider fundraising community. 

If chartered status is granted to the Institute, one of the key focuses moving forward will be to develop all the necessary policies, procedures and systems in order to be able to apply to the Privy Council to be able to grant chartered status to individual members who show the right level of depth and commitment to fundraising standards and their own professional development. We hope this would be within two or three of years of becoming a chartered body. This is exactly the pathway followed by other professional bodies such a CIPD (read about their journey here).

In taking forward chartered status the Trustees of the Institute have set us three overarching principles that we must meet. These are:

Professionalism: We must take forward chartered status in a way that embeds the need for professional behaviours and standards.

Inclusion: We must take forward chartered status in a way that contributes to our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion both within the profession and the Institute itself. Gaining chartered status should support our journey to become a truly inclusive profession where everyone is the right fit.

Community: We must take forward chartered status in a way that enhances communities across the UK and around the world and enhances our ability to deliver our vision of excellent fundraising for a better world. We know that we can only achieve that if we have a strong fundraising community that works with communities here and abroad to raise the vital support needed to take forward those vital causes.

We will always want to be an inclusive profession, with different ways to enter the profession different ways to progress within it.

We are proud that we now have over 1,000 graduates of our own fundraising qualifications alongside over 1,000 who hold fundraising qualifications from other academic institutions such as the Open University or Cass Business School.

At the same time we understand that many people get their learning through training courses, conferences, from their peers, from taking on additional voluntary governance roles, and from the pure experience of what works and doesn’t work as they progress through their careers. We will continue to want to recognise this as a chartered body. 

Read more about our chartered status journey in our Frequently Asked Questions