OPINION: Blog digest September 2014

Each month, the Critical Fundraising blog presents a digest of the best fundraising-related blogs and articles that have adopted a critical fundraising mode of thought.

Critical Fundraising – a new mode of thought for our profession

Critical Fundraising blog

Ian MacQuillin, Rogare’s manager, outlines the principles of Critical Fundraising.

Choice quote:

“We want to encourage every fundraiser to constantly challenge accepted ideas and practices, explore and analyse them in greater depth, and demand the evidence that backs them up.”

Why do so many fundraisers like asking for such small gifts?

Queer Ideas blog

Mark Philips of UK creative agency Bluefrog looks at the urgent issue of ‘pound shop fundraising’ and the effect it has on donor retention.

Choice quote:

“High attrition is nature’s way of telling you that your approach to fundraising is based on recruiting a large proportion of people that don’t care about your cause.”

Forcing or forging a relationship?

SOFII website

DonorVoice’s managing director Charlie Hulme starts a three-part blog by arguing that we haven’t made the great strides in relationship fundraising that we might think we have.

Choice quote:

“Many charities, perhaps yours included, have invested time, resource and money in poorly-constructed loyalty schemes that do little more than replace some asks with non-cash thank yous. But where is the evidence to prove these programmes actually work?”

Who would you rather ask for a gift: A man or a woman?

101 Fundraising blog

Donor communications expert Tom Ahern (a board member of the Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy) and Canadian fundraiser Rory Green open a debate on whether fundraisers should take different approaches to male and female donors.

Choice quote:

“We need to be careful when targeting female donors. We’ve seen gender based advertising approaches backfire before.”

Moralists at the feast: What really drives public hostility to fundraising?

Critical Fundraising blog

Rogare’s manager Ian MacQuillin tries to get beyond ‘proxy’ objections to fundraising – such as allegations of guilt-tripping and high admin costs – to uncover whether there are more fundamental reasons why some people don’t like being asked to donate to charity.

Choice quote:

“If some moral or ethical fault can be found with the practice of professional fundraising, then people have moral licence not just to not donate, but to view their non-giving as an ethical act against corrupt (as they define it) professional fundraising.”

Bad statistics are dangerous for charities

Change Fundraising blog

Simon Scriver, md of Irish direct dialogue agency Total Fundraising, sounds a warning that fundraisers should always take a critical stance to any research they are presented with.

Choice quote:

“Small, medium and even large charities are going to read these statistics and going to read articles written by very intelligent people. They’re going to assume that it’s correct.”

The problems with RoI and the need for new rules

Civil Society Fundraising blog (paywall)

Fundraising’s editor Jenna Pudelek reports on a debate at which Rogare advisory panel members Nick Mason (RNIB) and Richard Turner (SolarAid) explored whether short-termist attitudes were winning out over long-term strategy.

Choice quote:

“It was clear that fundraisers have a hard time convincing their boards of the continuing need to invest in fundraising during tough times, and that too much emphasis on keeping fundraising ratios high and cutting areas with low-performing RoI can have a detrimental overall effect on income.”

Who will lead us out of the wrong marketing paradigm we’re stuck in?

Critical Fundraising blog

A paradigm shift in how people make buying decisions has swept through commercial marketing. But SolarAid’s Richard Turner, says that fundraising is mired in the old ways of doing things and seems to have little interest in change.

Choice quote:

“Institutions that represent voices for the sector continue to defend the old ways. ‘We have the right to ask’, comes the pervading cry.”

Too many marketing teams are stuck in the past

Harvard Business Review

Mei Lee, vice president of marketing-digital at Conde Nast Entertainment, thinks many commercial marketing teams are still operating “like it’s the 1990s”.

Choice quote:

“Digital marketing teams need a seat at the table so they can infuse digital-first marketing insights into product and technology planning.”

The forgotten man of direct marketing fundraising

Critical Fundraising blog

Leeds University’s Adrian Salmon, who sits on Rogare’s advisory panel, recalls the pioneering work of German academic Siegfried Vögele.

Choice quote:

“Vögele’s insight was that direct marketing communications are most
 successful when they engage the reader of the letter in an
unspoken dialogue with its writer.”

Ice Bucket Challenge

Critical Fundraising blog

Round-up of the best blogs defending and criticising the Ice Bucket Challenge.

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