Monday, July 19, 2010

International Fundraising Summit

We spend so much time focusing on our little world of fundraising—our organizations, our donors and the community we serve—that it’s hard sometimes to see the bigger picture and the amazing things that are happening around the world.

That’s one of the reasons I’m always excited to attend the International Fundraising Summit, which was held for the sixth time in London in early July. AFP, along with the Institute of Fundraising (UK) and the Fundraising Institute Australia (FIA), served as the convening associations for the event, which brought together 12 different fundraising organizations from around the world.

One of the big discussions we had was on the International Statement of Ethical Principles, which is essentially the first universally-recognized set of standards for the fundraising profession. The Statement has brought the fundraising profession together in a way never before possible. It is the beginning of having a recognized, global profession where practitioners and donors all have the same expectations, regardless of country or culture. And as technology increases, and the reach of our solicitations can increase, this synchronization of standards and expectations becomes very important.

It was great to hear the Statement, which has been approved by organizations in 24 different countries, is being used by new and developing fundraising associations in countries such as Poland and the Ukraine. In addition, FIA recently used the statement as the guiding document during its comprehensive review of its own codes of practice. Seeing this kind of progress in other countries is exciting.

Even more exciting were conversations about the feasibility of a global credential and accreditation process. A lot of organizations, including AFP, IoF, CFRE International and the European Fundraising Association, are doing work in this area. We agreed at the summit to create a task force that will cross-map the fundraising competencies of each existing training program to identify similarities and differences.

The ideal outcome would be the creation of a global set of fundraising competencies that could be used as a guide for associations in their accreditation efforts, much like the International Statement of Ethical Principles has been used since its inception. It’s another important way to bring the profession together that could have far-reaching implications as the world gets smaller and our reach grows.


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