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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Great fundraising will remain regardless of referendum

This opinion piece is over 9 years old

Fraser Hughton, Scotland manager for the Institute of Fundraising, outlines some of the challenges ahead for fundraising, but believes Scottish fundraisers will flourish regardless of the referendum

Fraser Hudghton, Scotland manager, Institute of Fundraising
Fraser Hudghton, Scotland manager, Institute of Fundraising

2014 will be a year of change for fundraisers and charities. In a little over two months, the dice will have been cast and all Scotland’s voters will be gathering to ask what the outcome of the referendum vote means for them. A yes or a no vote, Scotland will sit at an unprecedented juncture.

The fundraising community is tight-knit and of course people want to know whether they need to be preparing now for any change. The Institute of Fundraising (IoF) has encouraged its members to ask the difficult questions of both sides, and listen carefully to the answers. Organisationally we take no official stance, as a membership body we represent individuals covering the full spectrum of opinion, whose priority remains working flat out to raise money for charitable causes.

Fundraisers are a pragmatic bunch, you don’t need to be a seasoned political watcher to know that one word out of context generates a newspaper headline

Fundraisers have been tackling the referendum debate head on. In 2013 we conducted a survey of our members which highlighted anxiety over what any change in the constitutional make-up of the UK would mean for Scottish recipients of funding from south of the border. Much of this concern remains; some has been allayed. Many others also spoke of their optimism for what change could bring.

Advocates of both yes and no took heart from the Carnegie Trust and Association of Chief Officers of Scottish Voluntary Organisations guidance for charities which noted “charity governing structures and operating areas do not have to follow constitutional ones”. For yes advocates, this means there is no impediment to charity and fundraising operations continuing as normal and for no supporters, it means avoiding the headache for charities having to divert valuable time from bread and butter fundraising activities to investigate their own constitutions.

In 2014 IoF Scotland organised well received and important referendum Q&A’s for our members in Glasgow, London, Edinburgh and Paisley. These events revealed a reluctance from their charities and organisations to speak out. For most, the sense was that taking no stance was the sensible choice. Fundraisers are a pragmatic bunch, you don’t need to be a seasoned political watcher to know that one word out of context generates a newspaper headline.

However, at IoF Scotland we recognise and respect that individual fundraisers have a view and may express it in a personal capacity.

Successful fundraising means a successful charity. Volunteers and professional fundraisers contribute enormously to charities’ aims of making the world a better place. There is no easy answer in the debate on Scotland’s future, one thing is for certain though, brilliant and innovative fundraising bridges the gap between believing in a cause and actually making things happen.

And brilliant fundraising will continue regardless of yes or no.

Fraser Hudghton is Scotland manager for the Institute of Fundraising.