The Institute of Fundraising has produced a discussion paper on how the sector should respond to the findings of last year’s Civil Society Futures inquiry.
The two-year inquiry questioned more than 3,000 people in the UK about civil society and their hopes for its future, and found the country to be facing social turmoil over the next decade with the future of local communities, racism, Brexit, inequality, the automation of work, and climate change among the concerns raised.
It also found that civil society will need to reform if it is to take on these challenges and called on individuals, charities and organisations to commit to a new ‘PACT’ to address questions of Power, Accountability, Connectivity, and Trust with supporters, beneficiaries, and the general public.
As part of its response, the IoF hosted a roundtable during the summer with a group of fundraisers and Julia Unwin, chair of the inquiry, to start the conversation about how the fundraising sector can respond.
The result of this roundtable, the paper states that it “is an attempt to spark the fundraising community into having the meaningful engagement that can deliver real change for the benefit of both our individual causes, and for civil society as a whole.”
As such, it looks at power, accountability, connection, and trust in turn and poses ideas and questions for fundraisers and fundraising charities to consider as a starting point.
– How do we acknowledge that giving money is also an expression of power? What does that mean in how we ask for money, and how we respond as a result?
– How do we make sure that we create relationships that enable people to give ‘power to’ organisations, and not exercise ‘power over’ them?
– How can we best account for our decisions to our stakeholders in ways that focus on our values, explaining our actions and justifying what we do, and how we do it, outside of the legal and regulatory framework?
– Do we properly understand how fundraising plays a role in engaging communities in a broader way than simply asking for their financial support, and contributes to building trust and confidence?
– How do communities of interest and cause fit into all the current thinking about communities of place and geography?
The IoF’s hope is that the paper will help fundraisers and fundraising organisations engage with the debate and identify how they can respond to the challenges laid out in Civil Society Futures.
The full discussion paper can be accessed on the IoF site, while IoF chief executive Peter Lewis and head of policy and external affairs Daniel Fluskey have also written a blog on what the paper says and the issues and challenges for fundraisers.