KNOWLEDGE: Blog digest October 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.

If you can’t explain yourselves simply, you don’t understand yourselves well enough

Third Sector (paywall)

Fundraising consultant and Rogare advisory panel member Matt Sherrington warns against vanity in charity communications.

Choice quote:

“When charity magazines hit 50 pages, you can be sure they aren’t being read: they are either vessels for income-generating adverts or vanity projects – an opportunity to broadcast all you want, even if no one is listening.”


Should we leave philanthropy to the rich?

Future World Giving blog

Adam Pickering takes issue with the claims of “self-made millionaire” Stephen Siebold that only the rich should give to charity.

Choice quote:

“Fundamentally, philanthropy is not about money, it is about the right of the individual to use their resources to back a cause in which they believe strongly.”

Charitable giving as a route to immortality

Critical Fundraising blog

Legacy fundraising consultant Dr Claire Routley explains how fundraisers can help donors to live on through the money they giving to charity.

Choice quote:

“When we ask people to give their money away, we are asking them to give away something of themselves – and even more significantly, to give us something of their shot at immortality.”

Sleepwalking to irrelevance

Critical Fundraising blog

The Children’s Society’s Henry Rowling says charities are falling so far behind in our digitally-led society that for a talented computer graduate, a job at a charity could be ‘career-destroying’ move

Choice quote:

“We are very poor at storytelling on digital channels. We caveat, water-down, anonymise and mitigate our stories so they can pass through risk-averse narcissistic sign off processes.”

Today’s problems call for reviving charity – and eliminating the need for it

Chronicle of Philanthropy

Benjamin Soskis of George Mason University explores the divide between charity and philanthropy.

Choice quote:

“Philanthropy is more secure when supported by charity’s correctives, just as charity is stronger when braced by philanthropy’s critiques.”

A crisis in the making


Tony Elischer says there aren’t enough new leaders coming through the fundraising ranks.

Choice quote:

“Charities often settle for second best or, to be honest, for mediocre people, who once in place on the senior ladder will never move, unless they are pushed off.”

Charities need to raise the price of their associations with celebrities

Civil Society Fundraising (paywall)

Charities should select celebrity patrons carefully as being associated with a public figure who turns out to have a dark side can damage the charity’s reputation, warns Professor Cathy Pharoah.

Choice quote:

“Early-days naïveté around ‘celebrity culture’ gave Jimmy Savile his power over public institutions and charities, allowing us to discount media appearances which were often disturbing and bullying.”

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