KNOWLEDGE: Blog digest November 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.

Hitting a glass ceiling: fundraising still has a big gender inequality problem

Civil Society Fundraising (paywall)

Commenting on a survey by Civil Society Fundraising of men and women’s experiences in fundraising, ActionAid’s director of fundraising Helen McEachern asks why women struggle to get to the top in the profession.

Choice quote:


“If we were really such a meritocratic society, wouldn’t 70 per cent of our leaders be women? And since more than 60 per cent of the UK’s donors are women, isn’t the case for more women leaders in fundraising even stronger?”

Men in Fundraising: We have a problem. And it’s you

101 Fundraising

Also commenting on the Civil Society equality survey, Matt Sherrington says that male fundraisers need to help push forward future female leaders.

Choice quote:


“A young fundraiser told me at the IFC of being taken to task, not once, but by several more senior fundraisers, for not having earned her profile, or the right to express the ideas she blogged and presented on. Two other women in charities have told me of similar experiences. ‘Get back in your box,’ one was told by her male boss.”

How to deal with uninformed nonprofit-watchdogs around the holidays

Nonprofit with Balls

Vu Le is miffed at the annual round of charity baiting from the US media.

Choice quote:


“Let’s believe most people have good intentions, even those peddling this sort of blatant cluelessness about the nonprofit sector. If they didn’t care about the people we serve, they wouldn’t spend so much time and energy to ensure that money is being spent ‘properly’.”

The Fundraising Regulator starts at is it means to go on

Civil Society Fundraising

Civil Society journalist Hugh Radojev says the wording of the UK Fundraising Regulator’s first decision shows that its primary concern is, was and always will be, putting the public first.

Choice quote:


“Does just having a contract with an agency mean that you as a charity are immediately complicit in any poor practice, even if it is undertaken in a different part of the country, on behalf of a different charity? And, if so, what kind of precedent does that set?”

Are we managing a fundraising decline? Only if we let ourselves


Fundraising is attacked in the media, for sure, but Giles Pegram says fundraisers will not be able to make the required changes to their profession while they worry so much about defending themselves against external pressures.

Choice quote 1:

“In expressing donor anger, were the Daily Mail not right? The fundraising profession had been exploiting their charity’s donors. There was both smoke and fire.”

Choice quote 2:


“Fundraisers need to change. They must not just be defending themselves against external pressures, but shaking out bad practice, and replacing it with excellent practice. Where did we go wrong, and what must we do to put it right? Yes, fundraising is under intense scrutiny. Why shouldn’t it be? It must not continue to be found at fault.”

#ShiftThePower: the rise of community philanthropy


Jenny Hodgson and Barry Knight advance the new idea of ‘durable development’ – giving agency to local people and their own organisatons.

Choice quote:


“Rather than working through a handful of strong professionally-managed NGOs to deliver programmes – which looks cost-effective on paper – community philanthropy organizations deliberately seek to build up multiple local groups around issues that affect them in a networked way that devolves resources (and so power) to the very local level.”

The good and bad (mostly bad) of copycat strategies


Blindly copying what other charities do has led to market saturation, argues Lucy Gower.

Choice quote:


“We compromise our own integrity by copying each other because we are scared of being different and standing out. We talk about innovation but what we really do is more of the same that is safe that someone else has already tested.”

Hat tip here to Joe Jenkins who advanced similar arugments in a blog on Critical Fundraising earlier this year.

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