CIoF ‘pauses’ convention sponsorship deals with US gun lobby linked firms

The Chartered Institute of Fundraising (CIoF) has ‘paused’ some of its commercial deals for its Fundraising Convention amid media reports related to their links with the National Rifle Association (NRA).

“Following constructive and honest conversations with partners over the last few days, I wanted to let our members know that we have taken the decision to pause some sponsorship relationships of Fundraising Convention,” confirmed CIoF chief executive Katie Docherty.

“We have taken this decision in light of recent news which has highlighted the business relationships that some companies have through their group structures in the US with the National Rifle Association, which has resisted calls to restrict access to firearms, despite the tragedy of mass shootings in the nation.”

Docherty added: “These organisations are long-standing partners and valued suppliers to the fundraising community across the UK. But with Fundraising Convention less than two weeks away, sponsorship of the event has been paused to give us time to review the situation in detail, as well as to engage members in discussions about collaborations and how we navigate these challenging issues together.

“As a membership organisation representing the variety of charitable causes and the fundraising community across the UK our work must be driven by our and our members’ values.”

While the CIoF is not naming sponsors involved directly in the announcement, concerns have been raised in the US media over money paid by the NRA to Blackbaud, which owns online fundraising platform JustGiving.

Similarly, it has been reported that staff at Salesforce have raised concerns about the firm’s links with the NRA.

Neither are listed on the current list of Convention sponsors.

This is the latest controversy to hit the CIoF’s convention, after virtual events platform Fundraising Everywhere quit the event last month, accusing the fundraising body of “taking advantage” without making improvements to access.

The CIoF was dealt a further blow when the charity Refuge, and its chief executive Ruth Davison, severed ties with the organisation amid ongoing concerns over the safety of women. This relates to the CIoF’s handling of a sexual misconduct complaints scandal last year.

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