KNOWLEDGE: Blog digest May 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.

I asked a simple question online: “Which charity is doing the most for Syrian refugees?” The answers were anything but simple

Little Words That Mean Most blog

Despite tweaking its ratings system last year, Tom Ahern says little has changed at Charity Navigator, as its failure to include USA for UNHCR in its list of charities doing most good for Syria shows.

Choice quote:

“While Charity Navigator claims it is ‘Your guide to intelligent giving’, it really is more ‘Your guide to giving … assuming you’re content to base your decisions on shallow and unsophisticated measures that account for nothing worthwhile in the real world’.”

  • Tom Ahern’s blog is also discussed by Roger Craver on The Agitator (Paywall).

Do-gooders take note: Capitalism is your friend


Charities should be less squeamish and see private sector as an agent of change, not the enemy, Oxfam’s Paul Vanags, a member of Rogare’s International Advisory Panel.

Choice quote:

“The key thing that big business has, that most NGOs don’t, is scale. Oxfam can do all of the campaigning and project work it wants on West African cocoa farming, but as the world’s single largest purchaser of cocoa, Mars changes its sourcing policy and massive change can happen, in timeframes we NGOs can only dream about.”

Linear thinking in a non-linear world

Harvard Business Review

Bart de Langhe, Stefano Puntoni and Richard Larrick explain why the ‘obvioius’ solution to a problem isn’t always the correct one.

Choice quote:

“How is it possible that people said they were worried about privacy but then agreed to sign up for loyalty programs that require the disclosure of sensitive personal information? Only people who say they are extremely concerned about privacy take significant steps to protect it, while most others, regardless of their concern rating, don’t adjust their behavior.”

People will never forget how you made them feel

Third Sector (paywall)

To rebuild public trust, charities need to focus on supporter satisfaction and exceed their expectations, says Matt Sherrington.

Choice quote:

“A hard truth for charities is that people simply have higher expectations of charities, because we are supposed to be on the side of the angels. So it’s easier for charities to disappoint.”

Is fundraising too reliant on individual givers

Civil Society Fundraising (paywall)

Fundraisers must be bold, courageous risk-takers to throw off the shackles of an over-reliance on individual giving, urges innovation consultant Kevin Waudby.

Choice quote:

“Our over-reliance on individual giving has also caused us to focus too much on incremental improvements rather than bold new innovations – on minor improvements on things you can bank on, slight adjustments to order forms, safe under the umbrella of direct.”

Do you like me? You like me!

Hands On Fundraising blog

Sales staff already know they need to like their customers. Mary Cahalane says it should be just as easy for fundraisers to show that they really like their donors.

Choice quote:

“If you believe someone thinks well of you, you’re much more receptive to a conversation or some kind of relationship. If you think someone doesn’t think much of you, that potential relationship is dead in the water.”

How to measure the success of your fundraising appeals over the long term

Lee Durbin’s blog

Lee Durbin explores how relationship fundraising can be measured.

Choice quote:

“Was my fundraising appeal successful or not? To answer this, it’s important to first appreciate that there are two very different approaches that may be taken here, but the most obvious approach is in fact the one that provides the least valuable information.”

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