KNOWLEDGE: Blog digest January 2017

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.

The fundraiser’s duty to ask – a philosophical rationale

Critical Fundraising

It’s often heard that fundraisers have a ‘duty’ to ask for donations. Cherian Koshy argues that duty is grounded in the ethics of the specific role of the fundraiser

Choice quote:

“Fundraisers occupy a specific role in a morally necessary (and good) institution, which generates specific rights and duties that are different from other professions.”

Never ending story – postmodern storytelling from postmodern donors

Critical Fundraising

Common wisdom in fundraising is that you need to use ‘storytelling’ to connect donors to causes. But, asks Ashley Scott, are fundraisers talking in the right language to a generation that is fluent in postmodern storytelling techniques?

Choice quote:

“Fundraisers love to tell a good story. A story about the beneficiary and about the need and about how their agency is uniquely positioned to solve the problem. And it’s normally a story that takes time. But postmodern people are not interested in time – especially a long time.”

Disentangling facts and values in the UK’s wealth screening controversy

The Intelligent Edge

Regulators have imposed values on their regulatory practice, claims Ian MacQuillin, that are not intrinsic in the official rules.

Choice quote:

“Whether it is right or wrong that charities ‘exploit’ their donors (however you choose to interpret ‘exploit’ in this context) is a very interesting ethical question. But providing they ‘exploit’ their donors in a way that is compliant with the data protection legislation, it is of absolutely no concern to the data protection regulator, acting as a data protection regulator.”

The use and misuse of emotion in fundraising: a behavioural science point of view

Showcase of Fundraising Innovation and Inspiration

What use is there for emotion in decision making? Kiki Koutmeridou explores the behavioural science perspective on emotion in fundraising.

Choice quote:

“Charitable appeals are still trying to motivate people using logical arguments because it’s counter-intuitive not to. Sharing facts and displaying charts feels like the right way to increase helping behaviour. Yet, it’s not. Employing logic could even be detrimental.”

The positives and negatives of emotional fundraising

Showcase of Fundraising Innovation and Inspiration

In another SOFII article on the use of emotions in fundraising, Jenny-Ann Dexter considers how we can be more emotionally mindful of our emotional relationship with donors.

Choice quote:

“An audience expects honesty from a charity, but can they handle it? The honest truth is that children are dying from treatable diseases every day, the planet is suffering from our pollution and animals are being dumped and mistreated in every country of the world. We all know these things to be true, but when we present them in such a direct fashion the reaction isn’t universally positive.”

Why do fundraisers do what they do? It’s for the beneficiaries

Civil Society (paywall)

Mirroring elements of Rogare’s Rights Balancing Ethics theory, Jay Kennedy reminds us exactly for whom fundraisers work so hard.

“To read much of the press and hear so many politicians speak, you’d think fundraising was all just some vast and illegal conspiracy to harass people, rather than fundamentally important, life-saving activity that keeps our society from collapsing.”

The creative world’s bullshit industrial complex


In his article about the blagging pandemic in creative industries, Sean Blanda has a lot to say that may be relevant to the fundraising sector.

Choice quote:

“They all reference the same company case studies…the same writers, or the same internet thinkers. I often encounter writers that share “success advice” learned from a blogger who was quoting a book that interviewed a notable prolific person.”

Managing a team that’s been asked to do too much

Harvard Business Review

Managers have a responsibility to protect their teams from unreasonably high targets, claims Liane Davey, and here are some techniques to help you to do that.

“It’s tempting to exonerate yourself and attribute any negative behavior to the mistakes made at the top. But that would be an abdication of your responsibility as a manager. When those above you fail in their leadership obligations, the responsibility falls to you.”

Current threats and opportunities in global philanthropy and fundraising

Critical Fundraising

The Critical Fundraising blog rounds up blogs and news items detailing the threats and opportunities facing fundraising and philanthropy around the world.

Choice quote:

“Many see the issue as being a crackdown as part of a global wave of conservative governments acting to decrease the scope for civil society.”

  • Inclusion in this digest does not indicate that Rogare agrees with any arguments presented, only that we thought the authors made a good argument.
AM logos May 2016

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