This is an important time for fundraising - join the IoF Trustee board
HOME Fundraising's joint MD, Dominic Will, explains why he decided to apply to become an IoF trustee, and discusses the role of trustee leadership in supporting fundraisers and influencing the sector.
Why did you become a trustee?
The Institute of Fundraising (IoF) plays an absolutely key role in the fundraising sector and I was keen to use my skills and experience to support and develop its work. I've been a trustee of the IoF since April 2016. Having worked closely with the Public Fundraising Association (PFRA) over the past 15 years, including time on its board, I was keen to put myself forward for the trustee role at IoF, to help ensure the merger [of the IoF and PFRA] is as effective as it can be over the next few years.
Despite the many challenges that fundraisers are facing, it's a positive and exciting time to be involved with the organisation. The IoF is changing. There are a number of developments including the new compliance directorate which I hope will be able to create recognisable, professional standards across different areas of public fundraising, including face-to-face and telephone. There is also a crucial role to play to help members navigate the new regulatory landscape, particularly in areas such as data protection and compliance.
I wanted to become a trustee to support this work and provide strategic input into the directorate. It's crucial we push this work forward, both for members and the organisation's future.
How have you been able to apply your skills to your role as a trustee?
I've been fortunate enough to lead a company for the past 15 years that has grown from small origins to a large, international fundraising operation, employing thousands of people. But before setting up a face-to-face fundraising company, I worked in the sector including roles at RNID (now Action on Hearing Loss), the Charities Aid Foundation and ActionAid.
All these experiences have been important in giving me a great understanding not only of fundraising at industry level but what it means to be a fundraiser. And I've been able to use this commercial experience as a trustee to advise on projects which the IoF is working on, plus supporting work on the establishment of the new compliance directorate.
It's important to bring a broad perspective to the role. Members have diverse views and different motivations for joining the IoF. It's important that our membership is reflected at board level, so discussions are robust and informed by members.
What has been the most worthwhile part of being an IoF trustee?
Well, it’s still early days but on the IoF board, trustees are in a strong position to help shift the current narrative of fundraising in the UK, which can be a little on the negative side, to a more positive place. The IoF is a broad church with many different initiatives ongoing, but it’s important not to lose sight of the basic need to be a strong professional network that offers guidance and development opportunities for new and established fundraisers.
We all recognise the importance of influencing the conversations we have about the sector. I think this is one of the most worthwhile parts of being a trustee.
This is an important time for fundraising: we're in a period of change and a robust membership organisation and professional network is vital to help the sector navigate this. I think the IoF can play a very positive role in shaping the environment, working with — and challenging — regulatory bodies including the Fundraising Regulator, ICO and Charity Commission.
Why would you encourage others to apply to be an IoF trustee?
The fundraising industry is good at sharing information and building networks, but we don't always speak with a united voice. The IoF provides a forum to come together to present a coherent voice for fundraisers. I think there's a duty for experienced, senior fundraisers to a play a role in that, whether or not you always agree on every single issue.
I would encourage fundraisers from charities and agencies, large and small, to apply for the trustee roles and add their voices to the existing network. Join the trustee board and help shape the IoF at a time when the sector needs it more than ever before.
Dominic Will, Joint Managing Director of HOME Fundraising and IoF Trustee
Currently joint Managing Director of HOME Fundraising, Dominic's early career saw him in a variety of roles from managing commercial partnerships at RNID to devising award-winning employee engagement programmes for blue chip companies at the Charities Aid Foundation.