KNOWLEDGE: Blog digest April 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. Inclusion in this digest does not indicate that Rogare agrees with any arguments presented, only that we thought they made a good argument.

‘Opt in’ will be bad for donors and very bad for the causes they support


Ken Burnett says the move to opt-in should be resisted – vigorously and comprehensively.

Choice quote:

“There is a seductive logic to opt-in, which quickly falls apart if you understand fundraising and how donors, like other people, react to requests to either opt in to or opt out of anything. Fine in theory, offers to opt in to marginally important activities won’t work in practice because of simple inertia – the most consistent human response to just about anything.”

The nexus of fundraising: be at the center of your organization’s relationships


Tarsha Whitaker Calloway says fundraisers should always be at the centre – the nexus – of their webs of donor relationships

Choice quote:

“Authority and responsibility for relationships should vest in the fundraising professional, and you should always look to establish yourself as the nexus for any new relationship.”

25 years of relationship fundraising


It’s been 25 years since the publication of Relationship Fundraising. Ken Burnett asks why more fundraisers haven’t put its principles into practice.

Choice quote:

“You have to wonder why the donor-based approach hasn’t happened yet in anything other than isolated pockets. The answer, I believe, is clear: most fundraisers are the problem, not the solution. Particularly their leaders. Charity leaders are beset by short-term thinking and ambivalent attitudes to investment, innovation and reward. They don’t value and prioritise the donor experience. They’re unambitious, risk-averse, blinkered by targets and incapable of leading the needed change.”

Retaining values and being business-like are not mutually exclusive

Third Sector (paywall)

Since this is no zero-sum game, Stella Smith says it is a mistake to use our ethics to resist change.

Choice quote:

“The sector’s values and ethics are our greatest strength, but if we mistakenly use them as a basis to resist change, they could also become the reason for our downfall.”

The ethics of running a charity or impact enterprise

Third Sector (paywall)

The charity sector must hold itself to a higher standard when it comes to ethical behaviour, says Rodney Schwartz.

Choice quote:

“Because the sector uses the words ‘social’ and ‘impact’ when describing what we do, we must hold ourselves to a higher standard when it comes to ethical behaviour.”

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