Complaints Policy

How to Make a Complaint

All Members of the Institute of Fundraising (IoF) agree to abide by the Institute of Fundraising's Member Code of Conduct and also by the Code of Fundraising Practice which represents the standards expected of all fundraisers and fundraising organisations.
If you believe that a Member of the Institute of Fundraising has breached the Code of Conduct, or you have concerns about their professional conduct, there are procedures in place to make a complaint about that Member. You can ask us to look into your concerns under our Complaints and Disciplinary Regulations.

Who may make a complaint?

Anyone, whether an organisation or an individual, can make a complaint or raise a concern about a Member of the Institute if you believe they may have breached the Code of Conduct.
Sometimes the Institute of Fundraising itself may initiate a complaint or take over the role of Complainant, for instance if the complaint raises a matter of general principle, or if a pattern of behaviour has been identified, including from informal feedback or hearsay.

Who can you complain about?

Members of the Institute of Fundraising

Individual Members agree to be bound by the Code of Conduct when they accept Membership. You can recognise Members from the letters MinstF or FInstF after their name, but you can also ask us to check whether someone is a Member or whether they were a Member of the Institute at the time of the events that you want to complain about. Members cannot avoid responsibility for their past conduct by resigning from the Institute.

We cannot deal with complaints about fundraisers who have not been Members of the Institute of Fundraising, although we do have processes in place to handle concerns or complaints about the behaviour of anyone involved in IoF events or training.

Charity Members

Charities which are members of the Institute of Fundraising agree to abide by the Code of Fundraising Practice. If you have comments or concerns about a Charity Member (“Organisational Member”) or about the conduct of a staff member of an Organisational Member you should contact the charity directly in the first instance. The Institute of Fundraising will refer such complaints to the Organisational Member to investigate.

If you do not feel your complaint or concern was addressed satisfactorily, you can contact the Fundraising Regulator.

Corporate Members

Corporate Members which provide fundraising services to charities agree to abide by the Code of Fundraising Practice. If you have comments or concerns about a Corporate Member, or about the conduct of a staff member of a Corporate Member, you should contact the company directly in the first instance. The Institute will refer such complaints to the Corporate Member to investigate.

IoF Contractors e.g. Exhibitors, Trainers, Suppliers

Complaints will be investigated and handled under the applicable policy, taking account of the Member Code of Conduct, Code of Behaviour at IoF events and/or supplier contract as appropriate.

Code of Behaviour at IoF Events

All attendees at IoF events e.g. delegates, speakers, exhibitors, trainers, suppliers, agree to abide by the Code of Behaviour at IoF Events.   

Complaints or concerns may be raised during the event itself, or at anytime afterwards. 

How to report a complaint of inappropriate behaviour

Contact the IoF Complaints Officer at complaints@institute-of-fundraising.org.uk, on 020 7840 3793, or by letter to:

The Complaints Officer
Institute of Fundraising
Charter House
13-15 Carteret Street
London, SW1H 9DJ

The Institute of Fundraising will identify an Investigating Officer who will be your point of contact at the Institute and advise you on the stages of the Complaint.

You may also raise a concern or complaint with an IoF member of staff or one of our volunteers in attendance at IoF events or training courses.  They will refer you to the Complaints Officer or register your complaint or concern on your behalf.  

Confidential Complaints

Contact the free phone helpline 0800 689 0843, provided by HR consultancy Tell Jane, for confidential support and advice in understanding how a complaint will be handled.

The helpline is open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (excluding Bank Holidays). 

How the system works

Initial Checks

We will check that the person you have complained about is a Member – or was a Member at the time of the issue or incident you are complaining about. If this is not the case, we will not be in a position to take the complaint further.   

If the person you have complained about is an employee of an Organisational Member, Corporate Member or Supplier, we will refer the complaint to their employer.

We will advise you if we think the complaint is not covered by the Code of Conduct or by our complaints policy.

The Institute shall consider whether to suspend the Member without prejudice pending the outcome of any investigation if it is likely that continued Membership would be harmful to the interests of the complainant, other Members or the Institute itself. 

We will also consider whether it is appropriate to refer the matter to the police or other public authority or to the Fundraising Regulator in the first instance.  In these circumstances, we may halt the Institute of Fundraising Complaints Procedure until the other enquiries or actions are completed. Action by other bodies does not of itself cancel the IoF Complaints Procedure.   

All complaints and concerns will be logged, even if no further action, or only limited follow up, is possible at this stage. 

Written details

To help us investigate your complaint you will be asked to state your complaint in writing (we can help you to do this, if necessary). The person you have complained about will be asked to provide a written reply. Please provide as much of the following information as possible when you contact us:

  • A clear description of the complaint and what you would like us to do;
  • Whether you would like to remain anonymous to the person complained about;
  • Whether it is an original complaint, or a follow-up to a reply that you were not satisfied with;
  • Your full postal address, telephone number and email address, with your preferred method of contact.

We will acknowledge your complaint and explain what happens next and the likely timescales. When we contact you, we will also tell you what you can do if you are not satisfied with our reply.

Confidentiality

Everyone (you, the person you have complained about, and anyone involved in handling the complaint) must keep every detail of the complaint and the complaints procedure confidential until the Investigating Officer decides otherwise. 

Information provided will be stored securely and handled confidentially, and will be accessible only to the relevant individuals involved in the complaint. 

If a complaint results in a formal disciplinary process, and the decision is against the Member, a summary of the complaint and the outcome may be made public.

As a complainant you may request that your identity remains confidential or anonymised.  Whilst your complaint will be treated seriously and will be investigated, the requirement to keep your identity confidential is likely to limit the Institute’s ability to investigate fully and/or take action.

Mediation

Where appropriate some complaints may be resolved through Mediation, when the Institute of Fundraising supports both sides to reach an agreement.  This is an informal process, organised at the discretion of the Institute, which depends on the willingness of both sides to take part.  The process is confidential. No records of the discussions are kept, and the result is not published.

Outcomes

The Institute of Fundraising may decide to:

  • expel the Member;
  • suspend the Member for a period of time whilst remedial action is taken and the breach resolved;
  • reprimand the Member or issue a formal written warning relating to a breach of the Code of Conduct, including advising the Member (or the person you have complained about) of any steps they should take to remedy the breach or to refrain from continuing or repeating the unprofessional conduct in question;
  • require the Member to take a specific action, for example undertake specific additional training;
  • impose sanctions on a Supplier in accordance with the contract;
  • take no further action.

 

Note: Although non-specific or anonymous complaints or concerns will be taken seriously and investigated, the scope of the investigation and any action that can be taken may be limited by the anonymity of the complainant.      

The Institute has published advice and resources on safeguarding and keeping fundraisers safe. You can also access free and confidential support from Victim Support.

Complaints regarding the Institute itself should be made in writing to:

Chief Executive
Institute of Fundraising
Charter House
13-15 Carteret Street
London
SW1H 9DJ

By email: complaints@institute-of-fundraising.org.uk

Download the Complaints Policy