IOF: What Women (In Fundraising) Want


Professional bodies are responsible for some inspiring work on diversity – including excellent initiatives from CIPD and RAEng. Reflecting on the impact of an active diversity agenda on the fundraising sector is Stephanie Siddall, Policy Manager at the Institute of Fundraising and Campaign Coordinator for What Women Want 2.0

For the last few months, in my spare time outside of my role at the Institute, I’ve been involved in coordinating a project – What Women Want 2.0 (WWW 2.0) – which asked women across the UK a simple question, ‘what do you want?’ More than 8000 women responded, with an end to violence and harassment, social justice and freedom from expectations as just a few of their priorities.

Recent stories in the sector and beyond highlight the need for us to continue these conversations. Although not widely accepted, we’re still seeing instances of inappropriate behaviour and abuse of power. Alongside this, the diversity agenda is gaining momentum, and while these issues go beyond the fundraising and wider charity sector, it got me thinking – how could our findings from WWW 2.0 reflect on what women in fundraising might want?

Career progression

The figures show that while women are well-represented in the fundraising sector, and make up 65% of the total sector workforce, they are more concentrated in junior roles. Interestingly, this compares to 40% in the private sector. Senior leadership and board positions are disproportionately dominated by men – just last year, Third Sector found that, of the 50 largest fundraising charities in the UK, 70% of chief executives, 56% of senior managers and almost two-thirds of trustees were male.

Equal pay

What’s more, a recent Deloitte report noted the gender pay gap in its own organisation is 18.2%, while the Chartered Management Institute revealed its latest findings on the gender pay gap within management positions standing at 26.8%. In the charity sector, women earn, on average, 16% less than men. To try and combat this, NCVO has recently recommended that all charities, regardless of size, should consider publishing their gender pay gap data as a demonstration of their “commitment to transparency and accountability”.

More flexible working opportunities

It’s also worth bearing in mind that while gender pay reporting can be helpful in highlighting discrepancies, there are wider structural issues at play here that are keeping women in the more junior, lower-paid roles, for example, taking on the lion’s share of caring responsibilities. Forty-one per cent of responses to the What Women Want 2.0 survey mentioned wanting support for child or elderly care responsibilities in the form of more flexible working arrangements, better maternity and paternity conditions and more affordable care. It would be great if all fundraising organisations considered how they can implement working policies and practices for their employees to ensure that women genuinely have more opportunities to progress.

It’s not all doom and gloom. Women, like everyone else, want a more diverse profession. Often, fundraising, and the wider charity sector, is not representative of the beneficiaries and communities it serves. That’s why we’ve made diversity a key priority for the Institute, by embedding it across all of our work programmes and setting up an independent panel to advise us on how the IoF and the wider fundraising community can become more diverse and inclusive. I’m looking forward to seeing and contributing to the strategy they develop.

So, let’s celebrate the progress that we’re making and double up on our commitment to delivering real change within our organisations and for the communities we serve.

Stephanie Siddall, Policy Manager at the Institute of Fundraising and Campaign Coordinator for What Women Want 2.0 

This article was originally published on the Institute of Fundraising’s website.

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