CIoF Convention speakers withdraw over ‘disastrous’ complaints handling and ‘shambolic’ AGM

Two speakers due to take part in this year’s Chartered Institute of Fundraising Convention have backed out over concerns around the membership body’s handling of complaints handling and safeguarding.

The move follows months of criticism of the CIoF amid allegations that it had failed to effectively deal with complaints of sexual misconduct. The organisation’s communications and a failure to answer questions around the scandal at its AGM this week have also come under fire.

One of the speakers to withdraw is coporate fundraiser Hannah Harding who said she is “uncomfortable presenting” at the Convention.

She made the announcement following the withdrawal of another speaker Matt Zeqiri, a trusts and grants officer at the charity Railway Children.

He has posted on social media that he had been due to make a short film at the Convention but has withdrawn following a “shambolic AGM in which members' questions about the CIOF's handling of sexual harassment complaints were ignored, and discussions shut down”.

He added: “CIOF's handling of this affair has been disastrous, and has become worse with every opportunity to put things right. The best-case explanation is staggering incompetence.

“Whatever the reason for the symphony of terrible decisions and responses over a number of years, women have been - and continue to be - badly let down.”

The Convention was to have taken place this month but has been rescheduled by the CIoF for September as it looks to focus on tackling harassment issues that have blighted the organisation this year.

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