Women In The Fundraising Industry Report ‘Eye-Opening’ Number Of Harassment Incidents

Gabrielle Okun | Reporter

Women in the fundraising industry reported an “eye-opening” number of sexual harassment incidents during their careers, according to a Thursday press release.

A quarter of women in the fundraising industry have been sexually harassed during their careers, according to a Harris Poll survey for the Association of Fundraising Professionals(AFP) and The Chronicle of Philanthropy. Harris Poll’s survey is based on questioning 1,040 AFP employees ages 18+ from Feb. 9 to 20. The survey found 65 percent of perpetrators were donors and 96 percent were male.

“The number of cases involving donors is eye-opening and points to a unique and very troubling situation within the profession,” AFP President and CEO Mike Geiger said. “We know most donors have only the best interest of the cause at heart, but our message will be clear: no donation and no donor is worth taking away an individual’s respect and self-worth and turning a blind eye to harassment,” Geiger added.

Harris Poll’s AFP responders who reported sexual harassment also faced negative outcomes, according to survey results. The poll showed 71 percent of AFP employees who told their agencies did nothing; 53 percent were not satisfied with the action taken; another 35 percent believe it actually hurt their careers when reporting the incidents. 

“We need to begin a larger conversation with everyone in the sector about what we can all do to not only prevent harassment but respond appropriately and timely when it does occur,” AFP’s Women’s Impact Initiative Chairwoman Tycely Williams said. The initiative is a two-year program to discuss sexual harassment, pay inequality, and the lack of female leadership positions in fundraising. The survey is one of their first big projects. (RELATED: UK Is No Longer Funding Oxfam Because Its Aide Workers Are Apparently Perverts)

There are no estimates for a theoretical margin of error for this survey, the poll noted.

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