KNOWLEDGE: Blog digest September 2016

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.

We’re tripping on guilt


Are fundraisers are thinking about guilt in the right way? Christian Dapp argues that the way the question is currently framed doesn’t even make sense.

Choice quote:


“Donors or potential donors should not feel guilty as a result of a truthful depiction of a problem and solution, if they are already comfortable with their own social and philanthropic decisions and actions. If they are not comfortable with their decisions or actions, they should change them. If they are comfortable with their decisions or actions, they should not.”

The donor is always right, part 1 – is being a donor the same thing as being a consumer?

Critical Fundraising

The donor is always right, part 2 – does it lead to donor correctness gone mad?

Critical Fundraising

In a two-part blog, Rogare’s director Ian MacQuillin argues that it’s beneficiaries, not donors, who are a charity’s true consumers, which throws a different complexion on how fundraising ought to be regulated.

Choice quote:


“I find it hard to see how charities should be required to reduce their own marketing because commercial marketers are causing discomfort. In
this case, doesn’t a principle of fairness simply state that it’s the commercial marketers who should be subject to stricter regulation,
not charities?”

Feeling good about feelings, facts and fundraising

101 Fundraising

Fundraising consultant Matt Sherrington argues that an organisational ‘curse of knowledge’ drains the emotion from fundraising communications


Choice quote

“Charity communications have long had emotion censored out of them by policy and programme colleagues, who can view fundraising communications as ‘dumbed down’, and think enough rational facts will change minds and make people act.”

Should ‘philanthropy’ belong to the rich?

Andrew Purkis’s blog

When people think of ‘philanthropy’, they will usually have in mind Rowntree, Carnegie, Cadbury and their modern wealthy successors, but not the massed ranks of charity donors. Andrew Purkis makes the case for collective philanthropy

Choice quote


“The warm glow of the P word, with its associations of love for humankind and centuries of admiration for famously generous individuals, is an attractive magnet for today’s wealthy individuals. If they give on the grand scale, they will be rewarded with the cachet of a fine historical tradition, the special status and respect due to the philanthropist.”

Legacy fundraisers: is your job title letting you down?

The Fundraiser

From the effectiveness of job titles to how organisations can encourage pledger loyalty, the latest legacy giving research contains crucial findings for legacy fundraisers. HCSP research associate Dr Claire Routley explores the key takeaways.

Claire Routley 2

Choice quote:

“The poorest performing [job] titles in the study tended to be those from the institution-centred group…of the thirteen lowest-performing titles, eleven included the words ‘development’ or ‘advancement’.”

Reset, revive, refresh – Breathing new life into F2F

101 Fundraising

David Cravinho asks how street fundraisers can trigger new and more meaningful conversations with potential supporters.


Choice quote:

“People bring their memories of previous conversations and experience with F2F fundraisers, which can act as a barrier to a genuine dialogue and considered decisions.”

Playing with purpose

Third Sector (paywall)

Charities have nothing to lose from trialing gaming techniques on top of their existing fundraising strategies, says consumer behaviour specialist Charlotte Beckett.


Choice quote:

“Instead of a passive direct debit, can we give supporters a more active role through lending, crowdfunding or shared investments? How can we tap into the collective ideas and experience of our supporters.”

Peer-to-peer fundraising and ‘relational altruism’ in charitable giving

Vox – blog of Centre for Economic Policy Research

The rise of peer to peer (P2P) fundraising – soliciting donations on behalf of a charity for undertaking an activity – has paralleled the growth of online social networks, but the incentives driving online donation behaviour are still poorly understood, say academics Kimberley Scharf (right) and Sarah Smith.

Choice quote:


“P2P fundraising may be an effective tool for delivering funds, but not for delivering long-term supporters. Donors motivated by relational altruism care about the fundraiser, not about the cause. Charities are going to have to work harder to nurture delicate social relationships if they want to generate a longer-term glow from their own fundraising efforts.”

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