Charity sector warned to get its ‘house in order’ on sexual harassment

Written by Lauren Weymouth

The charity sector has been warned to get its ‘house in order’ on sexual harassment to make fundraisers feel safer in their working environments.

Speaking at the Institute of Fundraising's annual Fundraising Convention at the Barbican, London, today, the organisation's chair, Amanda Bringans, said “too many” women have experienced sexual harassment in the fundraising and the sector must ensure safety is a priority throughout organisations.

"We are a profession that is predominantly made of women – 76 per cent – but women are still not proportionally represented at senior levels. But more than that, too many of them have experienced sexual harassment,” she said.

"We are a community of fundraisers that fights against injustice, champions equality and gives a voice to the voiceless. But we have all heard too many stories recently of fundraisers – women in particular – who have faced sexual harassment within our profession.

"We must get our house in order. Every single current and future fundraiser needs to be safe and feel safe in their working environments.

“I am personally committed to ensuring that the institute plays its role to the fullest possible extent to achieve that.

“I call on each and every one of you to make that a reality in every fundraising environment around the whole of the UK.”

Bringans added that fundraising is also a profession where there are a “disproportionate number of BAME and disabled fundraisers,” which means organisations are “missing out on vital talent from those communities”.

“And in the week when we are celebrating London Pride and London Black Pride, we also need to be a profession where our LGBT+ fundraisers can proudly be themselves at work,” she said.

The IoF will be launching its new EDI strategy on Wednesday, which follows its Manifesto for Change, which was launched earlier in the year.

The manifesto came as part of the Change Collective, which is a movement of fundraisers working together to make fundraising a more equal, diverse and inclusive profession.

It sets out objectives and activities needed for fundraising professionals to work together to redefine the sector’s identity. The document followed nine months of work undertaken by the IoF’s EDI Panel.

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