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The fundraising environment is rapidly changing. Within this new and shifting landscape, newly appointed president of the European Fundraising Association, Eduard Marček, co-founder and head of the Slovak Fundraising Centre, sets out his vision for how EFA can help to strengthen the fundraising community over the coming years.
We’re at a fascinating and equally challenging time for fundraising in Europe, when the sector is broadening to encompass new types of charities. At the same time, we’re seeing increased emphasis on environmental causes in reflection of growing public concern about the climate crisis.
Technological developments are changing the way that charities and even individuals can reach out and engage supporters. They are offering new routes for payment, helping to level the playing field between large and small charities and bridging the boundaries between donors and causes.
And yet, while there is greater demand than ever for charitable services, fundraisers are having to work harder than ever to generate income, build sustainable funding streams and attract new supporters. Across Europe, populism is on the rise, fuelled in part by immigration levels, fear of terrorism, the spread of disinformation or ‘fake news’ and an overarching sense of inequality. Civic space is shrinking and last week’s enactment of Brexit sees the English Channel seemingly widen the gulf between the UK and the rest of the continent.
Within this rapidly changing environment, what can we at EFA do to best support the European fundraising profession?
Where the borders of civic space and the EU itself are being re-shaped, our role is arguably even more important; to provide a bridging platform to unite fundraising professionals and associations, share best practice, develop EFA’s Certification framework and to deliver a voice for fundraising across Europe.
Growing the fundraising profession across Europe
Our priorities aren’t going to change markedly from where they’ve been in recent years, but we recognise the need to do more to help the fundraising profession develop in nations where associations don’t yet exist.
So far, our membership has been limited to national fundraising associations only, but there are many more actors in the industry who help develop the profession. This year, we’ll be expanding our work with non-profit networks in these countries, opening up our membership to them, with a view to helping make our resources and qualifications for fundraisers more widely accessible.
Not least within Central and Eastern Europe, where I come from and where fundraising is still in its infancy, there’s huge scope to help shape the foundations of a thriving fundraising sector and that would be a fantastic legacy for EFA.
We’re already well into the process of renewing our certification programme, which provides the framework for any country wishing to develop their own national fundraising qualifications, to ensure that it reflects the latest fundraising channels and issues. We have a great committee of academics and practitioners, chaired by Giva Sverige’s secretary general, Charlotte Rydh, who are working on refreshing and enhancing the core competencies of the programme.
When it comes to representing the wider European fundraising community, our work in Brussels comes to the fore. We’ve invested in a new public affairs programme to strengthen our position on the European stage, helping us champion the fundraising industry and to potentially shape the wider regulatory environment. This includes commissioning a public affairs agency in Brussels and deepening our ties with other European networks in philanthropy development.
Brexit may have taken the UK out of the EU, but our ties with the Institute of Fundraising have been brought even closer, with the appointment of the IoF’s director of engagement and external affairs, Ceri Edwards, as EFA’s vice president. Together, we are committed to sharing insights and inspiration across the fundraising community about the vital work of European fundraisers in making the world a better place.
About Eduard Marček
Eduard has been working in the non-profit sector since 1997, and has been involved in many consulting, research and capacity building projects. As a fundraising consultant he worked with a number of non-governmental organisations, domestic and international, and conducted or contributed to various analytical studies and networking initiatives across Central and Eastern Europe. He is particularly interested in fundraising for difficult causes, major gift fundraising and legacies. Eduard is a co-founder and chair of the Slovak Fundraising Centre, head of individual fundraising at Transparency International Slovakia and president of the European Fundraising Association.