NEWS: New project aims to ground discussions about gender in best current knowledge

The fundraising think tank Rogare (Latin for ‘to ask’) today publishes the first outputs from our project to explore Gender Issues in Fundraising (GIF).

The project is led by Caoileann Appleby, strategy director at Irish creative agency and Rogare Associate Member Ask Direct. She says:

“Gender in fundraising is an issue that had been simmering for many years before the #MeToo movement and the scandals of the Presidents Club fundraising dinner and Oxfam’s safeguarding failures caused it to boil over. Now there is evidence from the USA that something like 25 per cent of female fundraisers have been subjected to sexually inappropriate behaviour.

“It is clear that as a profession we urgently need to tackle gender issues and work to improve how we protect and develop all fundraisers. Not only for our benefit, but also for our organisations and beneficiaries.”

The project has five main objectives:

  1. Identify questions and issues that might need further exploration/identify in broad terms what we need to know and where the knowledge gaps are. Particularly are there any issues that might be unique or specific to fundraising (such as ‘donor dominance’)
  2. Clarify and define terms – e.g. what do we mean by, for example, ‘gender pay gap’?
  3. Collate existing research or theories, or at least the best or most relevant of these
  4. Collate and analyse current practitioner contributions to the debate (blogs etc.)
  5. Initiate and develop discussions and conversations that will contribute to an explanation of the issues we have identified.

Caoileann Appleby adds:

We are not here to give definitive answers but to raise awareness of the issues, encourage better conversations and discussions grounded in better knowledge, and help point those of us eager to enact change towards the most effective ways to do that.”      

Rather than wait to produce a final report, the project aims to publish bite-sized pieces of information on Rogare’s Critical Fundraising blog as and when they are completed. The first three posts are:

Future posts will look at career paths, leadership and visibility, how feminist ethics can apply to fundraising, and examine/define specific concepts as they apply to fundraising, such as the gender pay gap, donor dominance, and the process of the so-called ‘feminisation’ of a profession.

Rogare’s director Ian MacQuillin says:

“These challenges are some of the most important the fundraising sector faces and practitioners and fundraising leaders quite rightly want to take action to make change. What we are aiming to ensure with this project is that whatever change happens is grounded in the existing theory and evidence.”

The Rogare Gender in Fundraising task group is:

  • Caoileann Appleby (project leader) – Ask Direct (Ireland)
  • Ashley Belanger ­– Ashley H. Belanger Consulting (USA)
  • Simon Beresford – Disasters Emergency Committee (UK)
  • Heather Hill – Rogare (USA)
  • Rick Holland – Confident Philanthropy (UK)
  • Ian MacQuillin – Rogare (UK)
  • Ruth Smyth – Boldlight Consulting (UK)
  • Michelle Vinokurov – Canadian Feed the Children (Canada)

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