A new report – Missing Out: Understanding the female leadership gap in fundraising – has been published by the Institute of Fundraising.
It follows 2019 research that found that the majority of senior fundraising roles are held by men, despite the profession being predominantly made up of women.
70% of Institute of Fundraising membership is female.
This predominance of women in fundraising roles hasn’t always been the case. Over its 6 decades, Craigmyle has seen a shift from male fundraising consultants (with female secretaries) to the situation today where female consultants outnumber their male peers by a ratio of two to one, and Craigmyle Directors are 50:50 male and female.
The Missing Out report explores the experiences and challenges women face in achieving equal representation at senior levels in fundraising. In the research carried out by Dr. Beth Breeze, Director of the Centre for Philanthropy at the University of Kent, and Dr. Elizabeth J. Dale, Assistant Professor in Nonprofit Leadership at Seattle University, USA, 790 female and male fundraisers were surveyed, alongside focus groups.
The report identifies key factors that encourage women into leadership positions:
• support of a mentor
• training opportunities
• visible role models
• seeing a diverse leadership team.
There is an active role for fundraising consultants – mentoring, training and acting as role models, particularly in smaller charities without other fundraising staff.
Reflecting on the report in the run up to International Women’s Day (8th March), Craigmyle consultant and Director, Siân Newton commented:
Thinking about my own career, I recognise that at a critical time I was fortunate enough to have the support of a mentor who also acted as a visible role model. Today, she’s one of my fellow Craigmyle consultants (and Directors).
Fundraising consultancies are integral to change, by promoting a flexible workplace culture, by supporting women into leadership positions, and by helping individual female fundraisers (as clients).