Monday, 20 September 2010

The UK's National Occupational Standards for Fundraising...where's the "Ask?"

Last week, I had the privilege to participate as a member of an expert fundraising panel discussing the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF), the new framework for creating and accrediting qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

QCF units are based on the National Occupational Standards (NOS) which are developed and managed by the UK Workforce Hub.  According to Skills Third Sector, the QCF:
  • recognises smaller steps of learning (units)
  • enables learners to build up qualifications bit by bit (by combining units)
  • helps learners achieve skills and qualifications that meet industry needs
  • enables work-based training to be nationally recognised
 Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the National Occupational Standards for Fundraising skip the quite important step of asking people for money.

Sure, there's information on creating and developing a Fundraising Plan, and recording and monitoring donations, but the important step of asking a donor for money is omitted, compressed into the "implementing a fundraising plan" stage.

In the Major Giving component, for example, the important step of asking for a contribution is alluded to in No. 12. Select and implement appropriate solicitation strategies.

It's hard enough sometimes for professional fundraisers to ask for money, or to facilitate the process with trustees and existing donors.

The most troubling thing about the National Occupational Standards for Fundraising, however, is that young professionals with an interest in the sector will get a very wrong idea of what fundraising is about.

If we are going to encourage a "culture of asking" in the country, including it in our National Occupational Standards would be a great place to start.

Rick Holland CFRE MInstF