NEW THINKING: Blog digest – January 2022

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 in the previous month. 

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

Everything comes at a price that must be paid

The Nonprofit Times

There is a move to abolish fixed membership dues to allow members of an organisation to instead pay what they can afford. But Tycely Williams warns of the potential impact on an organisation’s income.

Choice quote:

“Every decision has a trade-off and carries the possibility of an unintended consequence. You certainly can cancel dues, but weigh the decision against the probability of organizational death.”

Why is there so little room for charity at the Christmas ads


Eva Spencer wonders whether charities get enough recognition from their festive corporate partnerships or if, in fact, they are airbrushed out of them.

Choice quote:

“For most charities, airtime of their involvement in partnerships is minimal and often only acknowledged with a quick logo at the end.”

Fundraisers need to help to defend philanthropy and philanthropists

Civil Society Fundraising

With philanthropy and philanthropists on the receiving end of sustained “hyper-criticism”, Beth Breeze argues fundraisers need to come to the defence of their biggest donors.

Choice quote

“Fundraisers need to stop making and repeating blanket statements and crowd pleasing comments about rich donors. We must of course engage with relevant concerns such as the source of wealth, but crass generalisations and cheap shots about donors’ personal relationships, their looks and taste should be off-limits. Retweeting social media memes that mock big givers might make us feel woke but discouraging philanthropy ultimately harms our causes.”

  • While the article is behind a paywall, Civil Society has allowed Beth Breeze to post an open access PDF here.

A modest proposal for the future of public philanthropy

Malcolm Gladwell Bulletin

Philanthropists currently get two benefits from their giving – a ‘heavenly’ benefit and an ‘earthly’ one. Malcom Gladwell says making them choose only one might also go some way to solving some of the ethical issues many charities currently face.

Choice quote:

“The modest proposal is a simple change in the tax laws. You can donate the money and get the corresponding tax deduction. But if you chose to exercise the tax deduction for that gift, you cannot have the building named after you. Or you can donate the money for a new building and put your name on it, but in that case you cannot exercise the charitable tax deduction.”

Why you should re-evaluate your nonprofit’s mission statement


Sarah Willey summarises her research on how mission statements affect a nonprofit’s fundraising efforts.

Choice quote:

“For nonprofits with gross revenue under $1 million, a more positively-worded mission statement was associated with more money raised per dollar spent. However, for larger organizations, the relationship was reversed.”

F2F fundraising is at the forefront of fundraising innovation – yet again

Third Sector (paywall)

F2F fundraising innovates because it has to. With the launch of the F2F Alliance – part trade body-part trade union – Ian MacQuillin says it is still driving change.

Choice quote:

“F2F often has to deal with issues before other types of fundraising do, and its innovative solutions are often well ahead of the rest of the fundraising field. And because F2F has a high public profile, it’s also had to find ways of engaging with the media and other stakeholders that other types of fundraising have not.”

Are you doing ‘segmentation’ or Segmentation?

The Agitator

Kevin Schulman says that what most fundraisers call ‘segmentation” is little more than an impersonation of the real thing.

Choice quote:

“None of the following is real Segmentation: Mailing the same thing to different audiences…Mailing different packages to the same people…Breaking out results after the fact using different attributes.”

  • Worth reading for the discussion between Kevin Schulman and Nicky Ellinger in the comments section, and this follow-up blog by Roger Craver.

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