Leading Cross Border Complexities

Fraser Hudghton, Scotland Manager of the Institute of Fundraising, shares his views on fundraising and leading part of a cross sector organisation...


If there has been one thing, more than any other, dominating the charity fundraising world over the summer it has been the discussions around our future governance and regulatory environment.

The two reviews that took place in England and Scotland have meant the member and regulatory organisations with oversight of fundraising have spent months poring over various options presented and recommended. It has also brought to the fore big questions around the adequacy or otherwise of our own organisational structures.

Earlier in the year ACOSVO held a seminar on cross border working arrangements for charities. It would be fair to say that views of every conceivable perspective were relayed, with a full complement of similarities and differences between participants working arrangements.

Coming hot on the heels of last year’s referendum in Scotland on our constitutional future, it seems many charities coming out of that decided to look at their own structures and whether they best met the needs of their working ability in Scotland and elsewhere.

On the back of the UK and Scottish Government reviews into the public charity fundraising environment, Institute of Fundraising and our partners in the regulatory environment have faced a doubly amplified conversation around governance.

For a Chief Officer in Scotland of a cross border charity, extracting the day to day tasks and ensuring ongoing work of fundraisers’ professional institute whilst looking at diverging and complex policy environments north and south of the border, can sometimes seem like a never-ending story.

Whatever the outcome of the respective UK and Scottish Government fundraising review processes, leading an organisation through the changes means prioritising and being ruthless with outstanding tasks where you must. Managing a small staff team, and running an institute in Scotland whose work simply couldn’t be completed without our silent army of volunteers, would make many baulk. In all our work however, and no matter the challenges faced in such a complex legislative and governance environment, the satisfaction of being involved in a sector such as ours far exceeds any sense of it being a laborious responsibility.

In a devolved Scotland, which will likely only be emboldened in the future, leading your organisation through big changes should have no borders and never be unduly influenced by external forces other than those which may directly target your members or beneficiaries. I for one am proud to lead a cross border organisation in Scotland – quite simply because we get things done. We get things done for fundraisers which otherwise no other organisation could do right now. If the future of fundraising governance in Scotland changes then we will work our hardest to be right at the centre of those changes too. If it doesn’t, then we intend to still be representing those fundraisers who carry the baton so well for our country’s charities.

Fundraising is no easy task, and in the midst of the current storm, sometimes it seems as though nothing is.  Yet professional fundraisers are amongst the most hard-working in our sector, with a belief and passion for our causes which is second to none.

I look forward to whatever shape the new fundraising landscape takes, and never more proud to be part of, and lead, a team which understands fundraising and its place as the lifeblood of Scotland’s charities.