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.
Balancing the mission checkbook – a graphic re-envisioning of the nonprofit overhead
Many people believe that overheads divert money from doing good. Curtis Klotz presents an alternative way to visualise the importance overhead costs for a sceptical public.
“No matter how hard we try to think differently, we imagine important infrastructure of our organization as taking a slice out of the pie – as diminishing the ‘real’ work of our mission.”
Some thoughts after a summer of reading & watching films
Rogare Advisory panel member Ben Rymer presents an eclectic set of ideas inspired by sources as diverse as the Occupy movement, Malcolm Gladwell, and the film Zero Dark Thirty.
Choice quote 1:
“Two of his Bernie Sanders’ notable achievements were raising almost $230m from 8m donors with an average donation amount of $27, and, in doing so, soundly disproving the notion that low-value fundraising is old news.”
Choice quote 2:
“Is there enough discussion on the donwside of donations?”
Beneficiaries – a neglected topic of fundraisers’ coverstations
Rogare Advisory Panel member Adrian Salmon calls for a rethink about how fundraisers view their relationships with their beneficiaries.
“The liberal principle of ‘a nominal equality between free social agents’ fits the relationship between charity and donor much better than it does the idea of the relationship between charity and beneficiary. Perhaps that’s one reason why we as fundraisers find the former relationship so much easier to focus on.”
We need to stop treating nonprofits the way society treats poor people
Many funding and accounting practices are anchored in a severe and pervasive distrust of nonprofits, the same distrust we heap on individuals with low-income. Vu Le says understanding this institutional bias is key change funders’ processes.
“I don’t think most people aim to make nonprofit professionals’ work difficult. But the lack of trust, the paternalism, and the occasional disdain for nonprofits do not make our work easier.”
Better nonprofit leadership will help avert future crises
Fundraising is in or close to crisis in the UK and USA in part because senior leaders are confused about their strategic roles. Advisory Panel member Marc Pitman presents the results of a survey that shows just how confused they are.
“Any scaremongering reporter or politician will have a field day with ‘charities are bad’ stories as long as the leaders in these organizations remain confused and quiet.
A balancing act – applying ‘total’ relationship fundraising to all donor relationships
Rogare’s director Ian MacQuillin explores how total relationship fundraising could ensure that supporters have harmonious relationships in all their contacts with a nonprofit organisation.
“The role of the relationship fundraiser becomes not just enhancing donor experiences through ensuring high levels of donor satisfaction, but of ensuring that donors have ‘balanced’ relationships with the charities they support.”
Trust me, I’m a fundraiser
The more sector bodies and regulators dabble in building public trust, the more it could actually lead donors to trust charities less, says Professor Stephen Lee.
“Individual charities cannot take a sector-wide lead in promoting enhanced donor confidence. Instead they should focus on enhancing the confidence of their own donors by understanding and following the rules established for them by others.”
Charities need to focus on being trustworthy, not on trust – fundraising can lead the way
The charity sector needs to focus not on generic levels of trust, but on our organisations acting in a trustworthy way and showing evidence that we are trustworthy, argues Institute of Fundarising ceo Peter Lewis.
“Charities have been making themselves more responsive their donors’ wishes and preferences. In doing so charities are demonstrating trustworthiness.”
Is a new golden age of philanthropy scholarship dawning? Don’t count on it
We in the voluntary sector might think that philanthropy is subject to considerable academic study. But David Callahan says the topic is ignored by political scientists, and they need to start considering it.
“We’re not just talking about a tidal wave of new money coming into the sector. It’s in the hands of some of the most aggressive, activist donors ever seen.”