Frequently Asked Questions

Scroll down to see the questions and answers or use the links below. 

1. Becoming a chartered profession


2. Benefits for members of fundraising becoming a chartered profession




1. Becoming a Chartered profession


Q. What is a Royal Charter?

A. Royal Charters, granted by the sovereign on the advice of the Privy Council, have a history dating back to the 13th century. Their original purpose was to create public or private corporations (including towns and cities), and to define their privileges and purpose. Nowadays, though Charters are still occasionally granted to cities, new Charters are normally reserved for bodies that work in the public interest (such as professional institutions and charities) and which can demonstrate pre-eminence, stability and permanence in their particular field).

Most professional bodies achieving chartered status incorporate this into their name, such as the Chartered Institute of Marketing, Chartered Institute of Public Relations or the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. 


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Q. What are the key benefits of becoming a chartered profession?

A. Becoming a chartered profession has many benefits including:

  • demonstrating public recognition of the professional competence and commitment to ethical standards of the profession;
  • elevating the status of the profession, enhancing the attractiveness of entering the profession, particularly, we believe, to people who might not currently look at fundraising as a career;
  • enhancing the status of the professional body, its members and the wider fundraising community, to external stakeholders and influencers, e.g. government departments, the media;
  • increasing the status of members of a professional body, as members of a chartered institute;
  • adding to the credibility and status of a professional body’s training, qualifications and wider educational offering.



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Q. Why does the IoF want fundraising to become a chartered profession?

A. We believe there are many benefits for fundraising to become a chartered profession.

In particular becoming a chartered profession would provide recognition that fundraising is a profession that deserves and qualifies for the credibility that other equivalent professions receive, building on the work that the IoF has done championing fundraising as a career through campaigns such as #BestYouCanBe and #ProudFundraiser

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Q. What is the process for becoming a chartered profession?

A. There are two steps to becoming a chartered profession.

The first is for the professional body itself, in this instance the Institute of Fundraising, to petition to the Privy Council asking to be recognised as a chartered body, and become the Chartered Institute of Fundraising.

The second step is for the chartered body to be able to grant chartered status to some of its individual members, based on their professional expertise and experience.

The Institute of Fundraising wants to achieve both of these things for the fundraising profession. The first stage is to apply for a Royal Charter for the Institute itself.


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Q. Will it make my membership more expensive?

A. No. Moving to become a chartered body will not make your membership more expensive. The IoF is able to cover the costs of applying for the charter and changing our identity, so it will have no impact on how much we charge our members.


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Q. At what stage is the IoF in moving towards chartered status?

A. The Institute has wanted to gain chartered status for many years. In 2014 we consulted widely with members before submitting an Informal Memorandum in March 2015. That Informal Memorandum had the support of the Minister on behalf of the government, Sir Stuart Etherington on behalf of NCVO, the CEOs of a number of the UK’s largest charities and our wider membership.

Our application was put on hold later that year, until we had delivered the recommendations of the Etherington Review into charity fundraising.

Over the last year we have secured the informal support of government officials once again, Sir Stuart on behalf of NCVO and the Fundraising Regulator. Informal discussions have demonstrated the continued support of the UKs largest charities, the Chairs of our Regional, National and Special Interest Groups are our wider membership.

This has led to discussions with the Privy Council who have now given us the go ahead to make a formal petition to be granted chartered status. Nothing is guaranteed at this stage, as becoming a chartered body is a formal process. Everything remains subject to the approval of the Privy Council.

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Q. How will our governance be different as a chartered body?

A. Our governance by a Board of 12 Trustees, with 8 of those elected from our membership, with 4 co-opted in order to ensure we reflect the wider fundraising community and have the experiences we need on the Board will remain unchanged. However, these, and all the other provisions in relation to our governance, will be set out in a different set of documents.

If we get the approval to become a chartered body we will be governed by a Charter, Bye-Laws and Regulations rather than by our existing Articles of Association, and we will no longer be a company limited by guarantee, as being a chartered body is a distinct legal entity in its own right.

We would retain charitable status, and OSCR and the Charity Commission are supportive, but we will have new charity numbers, prefixed with the letters RC standing for Royal Charter.

As a chartered body we would no longer be subject to the terms of the Companies Act, which means our governance can be a bit more flexible.

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2. Benefits for members of fundraising becoming a chartered profession

Individual and organisational members, and corporate supporters, will automatically become members of the Chartered Institute of Fundraising, with the associated reputational benefits of being part of a chartered profession.


Q. Isn’t this just making the Institute an elitist organisation?

A. Not at all. It is about achieving the external validation and recognition that we all know fundraisers and fundraising deserves.

Initially the Charter, if granted, will just be for the Institute itself, so every individual, organisational member and corporate supporter, will be able to reference that they are a member or supporter of the Chartered Institute of Fundraising.

If granted the Charter, we will then begin the work necessary to grant chartered status to individual fundraisers in due course. Granting chartered status to an individual fundraiser will recognise their individual commitment to the profession, to professional standards and to their own professional development. 

In order to be able to grant chartered status to individual members in due course we will consult with members and the Privy Council about the policies and procedures that we will need to implement. We are committed to doing this. And we are committed to doing it in an inclusive way, like many other professional bodies, so not just through formal professional qualifications, but also through evidenced experience, professional development and success.


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Q. How will I, or my organisation, be affected if the Institute becomes the Chartered Institute of Fundraising?

A. In the first instance there will be no change. You will simply be able to say you are now a member of the Chartered Institute of Fundraising. When your membership renewal takes place, this will be formally recognised with your new membership confirmation.


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Q. On becoming a chartered body will the Institute be able to grant chartered status to its members?

A. In the first instance this will not be possible. The Privy Council has been clear that it wants us to demonstrate success in our new role as a chartered Institute for two or three years before we are able to grant chartered status to individual members. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) is a good example of how this process works. They first became a chartered body, and then three years later they were able to grant chartered status to members who met the criteria they had agreed with their membership and the Privy Council.

However, once we have been granted chartered status, we will review the different levels of membership we would want as a chartered body to make them more consistent with other chartered bodies. Just as there is currently a distinction between associate, full members and qualified members (through the use of appropriate post-nominals), there would be a distinction between members and chartered members.

We would also develop and consult on the criteria and processes we would use for members to upgrade to chartered membership. All of these developments would be part of an open and transparent consultation process with the membership. Once agreed with the Privy Council we would offer support and advice to our members in relation to the members moving from being members to chartered members.


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Q. Will chartered status be a distraction from other priorities, such as equality, diversity and inclusion?

A. No. We believe gaining chartered status is essential in order for us to deliver our strategic objectives. It is core to our strategy.

It also does not mean we will do less on other priorities, such as equality, diversity and inclusion. Our business plan for 2019-20 sets out three key priorities, which are gaining chartered status, continuing to support the fundraising profession to become more diverse and inclusive and strengthening our reach into the arts and cultural sectors.


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If you have any other questions you would like answers to you can email us at or engage with us on twitter at the hashtag #IoFCharteredJourney