NEWS: Rethinking fundraising – Rogare’s new mission to build our conceptual knowledge base and change the learning culture

Rogare’s director Ian MacQuillin explains our new mission and vision, and how we are going to achieve it.

For the past nine months, Rogare has been reviewing and rethinking what we do, why we do it and how we do it. The result of our deliberations is our new mission and vision to ‘Rethink Fundraising’. We’re doing this because we believe there is a fundamental issue in our profession. That is:

The practice of fundraising is not built upon a sufficiently rich and robust knowledge base, and fundraisers do not sufficiently value, seek out, and use the knowledge that is available to them. To compound matters, the lack of a theoretical foundation underpinning the knowledge base often leads fundraisers to make poor and inconsistent decisions in areas such as ethics and regulation, which ultimately can impact the amount of money they can raise to help the lives of their beneficiaries.

Our solution to this is to ‘rethink fundraising’. We need to rethink both the type of knowledge that underpins fundraising, and bring about a culture change in how fundraisers learn, acquire and value that knowledge. 

We have therefore set ourselves two overarching objectives:

  1. Develop a richer knowledge base (and signpost fundraisers to that knowledge).
  2. Change the learning culture in fundraising so that fundraisers better value and use the theory and evidence that is available to them when practising fundraising day-to-day or in making policy for the profession.

This is set out in full in our new paper Rethinking Fundraising, which you can download from our website. This sets out how we will achieve our twin objectives describes in fully describes our Critical Fundraising methodology, our Theory of Change for Fundraising, our transdisciplinary approach, and how all our various work streams and projects cohere into an ‘integrated theory of fundraising.

We’ll be publishing different versions of ‘rethinking fundraising’ papers detail how we are tackling each of these work streams. The first of these – Rethinking Fundraising: Professional Ethics – is available now.

To help us achieve our mission and vision to rethink fundraising, we have created a new Critical Fundraising Network. How this operates is described in the paper and on our website

One of our overarching goals is to generate a real sense of excitement in fundraising, not just in the day-to-day doing of fundraising, but excitement at the big picture issues and challenges we face and the conceptual foundation of our profession. 

Some people tell us that considering these things is ‘overthinking’, and people just need to get on with the job at hand. But we believe there are plenty of fundraisers how that get genuinely excited about the type of thinking we do at Rogare. In fact, we know there are.

Rogare’s Theory of Change for Fundraising – full details can be found on our website on in the Rethinking Fundraising paper.

At Rogare, we write and publish a lot of stuff. One of the things we have recently added to our website is a new page from which you can access all our reports, papers and other outputs. 

So to coincide with the launch of the Rethinking Fundraising paper, we have four blogs on the types of conversations and thinking that go on in the Critical Fundraising Network, which you can access from the links below.

There is a lot of reading material signposted in this short blog – a big paper setting out our new mission a vision, another big paper on our current and future work on fundraising ethics, plus four other blogs about the Critical Fundraising Network and the types of fundraisers we like to get involved in that.

But if you are excited about the challenges our sector faces, and how we can rise to them, then I’m sure you’ll have no trouble finding the time to read all this. And if reading it generates even more excitement, then you might like to think about joining us in our mission to rethink fundraising.

We can’t do this unless we have a committed and active Critical Fundraising Network. And neither can we do what we do without the support and active involvement of our Associate Members – Bluefrog Fundraising (UK), Ask Direct (Ireland), Stephen Thomas (Canada) and our latest Associate Member, Goalbusters (USA). Thank you all.

More information

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