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Safe and Supported: Combatting sexual harassment toward fundraisers

Combatting Sexual Harassment toward Fundraisers | Make Mission podcast episode artwork
Make Mission
Safe and Supported: Combatting sexual harassment toward fundraisers

Sexual harassment within the nonprofit sector, often perpetrated by donors, is an uncomfortable yet very real experience for fundraisers. But researchers and fundraising leaders are bringing light to this darkness – and they’ve joined us for this important episode.

This disquieting truth is supported by data. An article written by episode guest Dr. Erynn Beaton and her co-author Megan LePere-Schloop states that about 76% of fundraisers have experienced some type of work-based sexual harassment in their careers. People of color and LGBTQ+ people are more likely to experience harassment and in more severe forms, including sexual coercion.

Power, privilege, and organizational and relationship management are entwined in this intractable problem. Tackling it requires not only the full commitment of nonprofit organizations but the bravery and fortitude of those leaders within them.

Episode guests Karen Isble and Chelsey Megli exhibit that bravery and fortitude in spades. They join Make Mission to share the work and results of the Collaborative for Respectful Workplaces (a consortium of higher education institutions) to not only build dialogue around the issue, but also develop best practice recommendations and push the industry to address the inherent power dynamics in fundraising and to prevent and respond appropriately to misconduct and harassment incidents.

Show Notes

Resources for Survivors and Allies


Dr. Erynn Beaton headshotDr. Erynn Beaton
Assistant Professor
John Glenn College of Public Affairs at The Ohio State University

Dr. Erynn Beaton is an Assistant Professor at the John Glenn College of Public Affairs at The Ohio State University. Dr. Beaton studies the ways in which the nonprofit sector and its organizations combat, reflect, and sometimes reproduce structural inequalities. Dr. Beaton’s research builds organizational theory by holding up nonprofits and the nonprofit sector for critical inspection, drawing on institutional, social movement, and critical perspectives to understand the nonprofit sector’s role in social and economic inequalities.

Through her teaching, Dr. Beaton aims to empower students to make the changes they wish to see in the world. She teaches courses ranging from the undergraduate Introduction to Nonprofit Organizations to a hands-on Nonprofit Capstone course for master’s degree seekers. At the doctoral level, Dr. Beaton teaches Qualitative Research Methods and the Nonprofit Research Seminar. She also serves in an appointed position on the Charitable Advisory Council to the Ohio Attorney General.

Karen Isble HeadshotKaren Isble
Vice President for College Advancement
Kalamazoo College


Karen Isble joined Kalamazoo College in September 2020, where she leads the College’s fundraising, alumni engagement, and marketing and communications efforts and serves as a member of the College’s executive leadership team. Karen is a former board member and past president of Apra and is a noted speaker and author for Apra, CASE, and AFP, among others. Karen previously served as Associate Vice Chancellor and Campaign Director for the University of California, Irvine, leading the planning and execution of the university’s $2 billion comprehensive campaign, Brilliant Future.

Prior to UCI, Karen served as Assistant Vice President for Development at the University of Michigan, playing an integral role in the planning of the university’s $5.3 billion Victors for Michigan campaign, leading a campus-wide feasibility assessment, goal setting, prospect development, and IT infrastructure. She began her career in arts administration and currently serves on the board of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra.

Chelsey Megli headshotChelsey Megli
Chief of Staff for Advancement
University of Oregon


Chelsey Megli is the Chief of Staff for Advancement at the University of Oregon. There, she leads the organizational strategy for the division and manages the operations teams responsible for recruitment, career planning, professional development and training, organizational development, employee relations, facilities, budget management, and contracts and procurement. From interns to deans to vice presidents, she has coached, advised, and trained a broad spectrum of development professionals. Before joining the University of Oregon, Chelsey established the BWF TalentED program and worked with clients in the areas of talent management and strategic planning.

Chelsey has more than a dozen years of experience in training, organizational development, culture-building, and strategy in the nonprofit sector. As a leader in research and discourse on the topic of talent management in development, she is a regular presenter/keynote speaker and has been featured in several publications, including CASE Currents, the Chronicle of Philanthropy, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and the AHP Healthcare Philanthropy Journal.