NEW THINKING: Blog digest – February 2022

Each month, the Critical Fundraising blog presents a digest of the best fundraising-related blogs and articles from the previous month 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.

Why is fundraising cast as the poor relation of philanthropy? Don’t ask!


When philanthropists devise initiatives to increase giving, they often assign a small or diminished role for fundraisers. Ian MacQuillin thinks this is because the ethics of philanthropy contain an inherent bias against being asked to give.

Choice quote:

“Philanthropy is promoted as a good thing to do. Giving to charity is something that good people do, because they are good people. But…if you had to be asked (let alone persuaded, cajoled, or – heaven forfend – ‘pressured’) to do this good thing by a fundraiser, then perhaps you’re not quite as good as you thought you were.”

  • Ian presents a similar argument in his Third Sector column.

The high cost of sacred cows

The Agitator

Why doesn’t every organization merge their marcoms and fundraising into a single commutations strategy, asks Roger Craver.  Because of the self-preservation nature of functional fiefdoms and the silos that proliferate in most organizations, he answers.

Choice quote:

“Begin by removing the ‘Donate’ button from your homepage and just about everywhere else on your site…Ah, I can hear the screams of ‘heresy’ already. All those blogs. All that misinformed, non-empirical advisory bullshit indicating the ‘donate’ button must be prominent and frequent.”

We should be thankful for the Sackler family’s philanthropy

Sam Leith, The Spectator’s literary editor, thinks that ‘tut-tutting’ at the Sackler family’s philanthropy is moral narcissism.

The Spectator

Choice quote:

“If the people we hold to be baddies want to do something good, we need to thwart rather than encourage them so as not to be seen to in any way give succour to the enemy. We want their badness to remain uncompromised, uncomplicated; the better to burnish the contrast with our own virtue.”

A low risk, high reward approach to fundraising

The Agitator

Roger Craver says fundraisers need a new approach to devising new and innovative best practice.

Choice quote:

“Modern medicine evolves and changes somewhere around half of its ‘best practices’ every few years. Yet direct response fundraisers continue struggling with unchanging ‘best practices’ where volume rules, where readily observable data (RFM) rules, and where donor attitudes are gauged using survey techniques employed in the late ’70s.”

Arrogance in fundraising

Veritus Group

Are fundraisers too arrogant about their achievements? Richard Perry and Jeff Schreifels think they often are.

Choice quote:

“A front-line fundraiser has been working hard with a donor and the donor finally decides to give a large gift. BAM! The front-line fundraiser thinks it’s all about them. And so, they strut around like a rooster in a hen-house loudly displaying all their achievements in this situation.”

  • Take a look at Gavin McLellan’s thoughts (on LinkedIn) about this blog. 

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