Today sees the launch of our report, GetRaising! Increasing Fundraising Skills on Trustee Boards.

From the rise of digital fundraising, the impact of Olive Cook, to Kids Company and to the recent new Fundraising Regulations, the past few years has bought a unique set of challenges for the fundraisers and trustees in the charity sector.

We teamed up with Peridot Partners, the Institute of Fundraising (IoF) and Hubbub to explore fundraisers and trusteeship in greater detail, and look to see if we could increase the skills, experience, and confidence of trustee boards by embedding fundraising expertise within them, and by doing so developing the knowledge and furthering the careers of fundraising professionals.

The Survey

To kick this process off, the IoF conducted a survey among fundraisers to get their sense and views on the area of fundraising, governance, and their views on trusteeships. The findings showed fundraisers appreciated the value of fundraising expertise on Boards with over 90% believing that having a fundraiser on their board of trustees would be helpful in their day job.

It also clearly demonstrated that this is currently lacking in many trustee boards, over three quarters of respondents (81%) saying that fundraising skills and experience were underrepresented on Boards that they had worked with. Encouragingly, the survey showed that there’s an appetite and enthusiasm among fundraisers to get more involved – 78% told us that they thought that the idea of being a trustee appealed to them.

With fundraisers keen on the idea of being trustees,and able to see the value and need for fundraising expertise on boards, why aren’t more fundraisers trustees?

To probe this question and to get the ball rolling, we organised GetRaising!, bringing together fundraisers and the board members, Chairs, and CEOs who need them.

On the governance side, the event was attended by representatives (mostly Chairs and Chief Executives) from a range of charities, ranging from those with over £10m turnover to small £400k organisations. The fundraising community was represented by Fundraising Directors and Heads of Individual Giving, Major Gifts, Grants and Trusts and Legacy Fundraising, covering a wide range of organisations and causes. We used open space methodology to explore the following question:

“How can we increase fundraising governance skills and leadership in trustee boards?”

The report is a summary of the open space discussions which arose from GetRaising! Not all of the recommendations are new, but they could all be practised more widely. With the right support and attitude, we believe that some of these could be put into practice easily, while a few will need sector-wide leadership to change the system.

GetRaising! is the second in our series of events around modern skills and governance – our first one GetWired! Looked at how to increase digital skills in trustee boards. With so much crossover in the conversations around the skills needed on boards, inflexible governance practice, increasing accountability, decreasing support, the lack of volunteer applicants and much more, we remain convinced that there is a pressing need for a wider commission on Charity Governance and Volunteering for the 21st century. Without having this, I fear we have many more Kids Company and Broken Rainbow to come.

You can download the full report here

If you are interested in discussing any of the themes or issues in GetRaising! we’d love to hear from you. esther@thesocialchangeagency.org or @socialchangeag

PS- Keep your eyes peeled for our next event ‘GetChanging!’ Increasing campaigning and social change skills on trustee boards.