NEW THINKING: Blog digest – September 2021 (and a bit further back)

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.

We haven’t run this monthly digest for some years (resources, y’know – not enough time in the day to do everything), but we thought it’s a helpful resource for fundraisers, so do let us know if it really is helpful to you.

Also, since we haven’t done this for some time, there are a couple of entries going back into the summer – they’re not all from the past month.

Nudging for (not ‘or’) donor autonomy

The Agitator

Stefano Di Domenico of DonorVoice takes issue with a recent academic paper that argues that while nudge techniques undermine donor autonomy, they might be justified if the donor is nudged towards a morally worth cause.

Choice quote:

“Fundraisers and ethicists alike should make donor autonomy the first behavioural science priority as the best nudges are those that enhance autonomous decision making.”

Common arguments used against Community-Centric Fundraising, and why they don’t hold water


Vu Le considers and rejects nine arguments levelled against Community-centric Fundraising.

Choice quote

“Many traditional fundraisers believe that bringing money is fundraising’s primary goal. I and other CCF-aligned fundraisers believe fundraising’s main goal is to assist in bringing about equity and justice. If something brings in a ton of money but fails to increase equity and justice in the short or long run, or actually decreases it, then it is not ‘working’.”

Does the fundraising profession need a professional institute?

Third Sector (paywall)

In light of the self-inflicted wounds suffered by the Chartered Institute of Fundraising, Ian MacQuillin wonders whether the profession could do without an institute to represent professionals.

“Bodies such as the Resource Alliance or the NCVO might offer themselves as the collective voice of fundraisers/author of fundraising sectoral policy (the last time the NCVO did this we got the Fundraising Preference Service).”

White saviourism in fundraising

Fundraising and Philanthropy (paywall)

In trying to highlight some of the complex and interconnected issues raised by white saviourism and their implications for fundraising, Australian consultant June Steward accepts this will not be a comfortable discussion and will be offensive to some.

Choice quote:

“If you speak to donors about their motivations for giving, they say things like: “I want to do something practical” or “I want to help people most in need” or “We live in a wealthy country, nobody should have to be poor” or “We need to take care of the next generation” or “I’m so fortunate/blessed and want to give something back”. The farthest thing from their minds is that they’re part of a system of white oppression.”

It’s time to speak up about the positive role and contribution of philanthropy

Center for Effective Philanthropy blog

Drawing on the arguments in her new book, Kent University’s Beth Breeze outlines a defence of philanthropy and philanthropists.

Choice quote:

“Defending the reputation of philanthropy is not about protecting the thin skin of rich givers, but rather about ensuring the viability of a philanthropically-funded space in which people can do things for each other – for strangers and for future generations – beyond the things that we do as consumers and as voters.”

  • Adrian Sargeant also discusses the assault on philanthropy, looking at whether a postmodern perspective can shed light on the matter. See here.

Everything you know about public trust in fundraising is wrong…possibly

Third Sector (paywall)

Rogare’s director Ian MacQuillin considers a wide-ranging academic study that suggests public trust in fundraising might not be quite as important as we thought it was.

Choice quote:

“We can’t be sure whether people give because they trust charities; or they trust charities because they give to them. The evidence shows only a correlation, but not a causal relationship. This is quite surprising given the assumptions we often make about the need for trust to grow giving.”

  • Original paper: Chapman, C. M., Hornsey, M. J., & Gillespie, N. (2021). To what extent is trust a prerequisite for charitable giving? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly08997640211003250.

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