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The fundraising profession

How can we ensure fundraising attracts the best people and equips them with the knowledge and skills they need?

Fundraising is unusual. Whereas most professions require new entrants to pass through a qualifying pathway on which they are trained in the skills and competences they’ll need to be successful, anyone can become a full member of the profession on their very first day, knowing very little about it. 

 

Something else that marks our fundraising as different from many – perhaps most – other professions, in that many people never made a conscious decision to become a fundraisers, and they work towards that goal. Instead, they’ll tell you they fell into fundraising ‘by accident’.

 

These – and other – characteristics of the occupation of fundraising (one might even call them quirks) have many implications. They impact on the types of people who become fundraisers (and just as importantly, those who do not). They affect how fundraises become knowledgeable and competent at what they do. They touch on the respect and esteem in which fundraisers are held by their colleagues, donors and other stakeholders, and how they are treated by those other stakeholders. And also in how fundraisers see themselves and how they identify as members of a profession (or not). And there will be many other issues our work uncovers as we progress it.

 

So this strand of our work encompasses anything that relates to the ethical and professional context for fundraising as a profession. There are currently three areas of work within this strand.

 

  1.  The first explores the professionalisation of fundraising and so far has considered two main themes. First it has considered fundraising’s claims to professional status, whether it meets the criteria commonly accepted as demarcating a profession (many say that it can only be classed as an ‘emerging profession’, and whether it matters if doesn’t meet these criteria. Second, in association with Arts Fundraising & Philanthropy and Cause4 it has looks at existing entry routes into fundraising and how they acquire their professional knowledge. The term professionalisation’ is used very specifically to refer to becoming more like a profession – that is meeting the established criteria for professionhood.
     

  2. We also have a project that looks at gender issues in the fundraising profession.
     

  3.  And our latest project in this stream critically examines fundraising historiography by considering how we ought to study fundraising history and which research questions a study of fundraising history ought to consider. 

 

You can find out more about each of these projects by clicking on the links in the boxes below. Or directly download our publications and papers from this work strand:

Professionalisation of fundraising

Does fundraising need to be more like a profession?

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Gender issues in fundraising

What is the female fundraiser's experience?

READ MORE

Fundraising historiography

How ought we study the history of fundraising?

READ MORE

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  • Download the Rogare green paper: Less than my job’s worth: Is fundraising a profession and does it matter if it isn’t?

  • Download the report: Accident prevention: the case for a qualifying pathway for fundraising and the most appropriate entry routes on to that pathway – available from Arts Fundraising & Philanthropy.

DOWNLOAD
  • Download the discussion paper One damn ask after another: How ought we study fundraising history?  Versions are available optimised for desktop, tablet and printing.