Friday, 2 December 2011

What did the Baby Boomers ever do for us? Part two

Isn't it Interesting? The UK Giving Report for 2011 shows giving back to 2009 levels, though with more people giving a bit less. The comparisons with the US however are really revealing. In the UK CAF reckon around 60% of adults give to charity whilst in the states it's nearer 80% according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy. This reflect the almost straight line negative correlation some of our LSBU research showed between giving in the USA, UK and Denmark against comparitive overall tax rates!

However what is even more interesting (and depressing) is the role of the Baby Boomers in all this. As one of that self obsessed generation I had thought that we're nice socially minded, philanthropic individuals. As Francis Beckett pointed out however, when I took him to task over his critique of this generation, where are the seriously wealthy philanthropists? In the US the top decile give over 2% of their income. In the UK it is less than 1%. What's worse, whilst Cathy Pharoah points to the 100 donations of £1m plus where are the English (or Scottish, Welsh, Northern Irish) equivalents of Bill Gates? Gates, along with Warren Buffet is trying to persuade the seriously rich to give 50% of their wealth to charity!

In the UK the likes of Richard Branson, Alan Sugar, Felix Dennis,Philip Green, Nicky Oppenheimer and Andrew Lloyd-Webber are seen giving a bit to charity but pledging 50% seems a giant step too far for them. So is Francis Beckett's premise right? Are we not only wastrels but bloody mean with it?

Monday, 28 November 2011

What did the Baby Boomers ever do for us?

Meeting Francis Beckett tomorrow so do you have any questions for him? His thesis is that the self obsessed generation took the money and ran, with little regard for the consequences. He might be right. A lot of my friends have made a lot of money in property and financial services. On the other hand there are quite a few Gen X successes with computers and the internet, not to mention Gen Y and professional sport. I think what is really interesting (if sad) is that that the gap in the distribution of wealth is widening not shrinking.

Philip Beresford has commented that when he started doing the Sunday Times Rich List 25 years ago, 85% of the wealth was inherited. Today 85% is first generation. People are creating fortunes rather as they did at the end of the 19th Century and there are perhaps some more rather disturbing parallels.

Unfortunately, as Wilkinson and Pickett comment in The Spirit Level,happiness and good health lies with reduced wealth gaps and greater equality in distribution. Its a good read and very worrying that the UK is moving in the wrong direction. I'm not however convinced that it is all the fault of the baby boomers. The banking problems for example started with Reagan and Thatcher, both Seniors or members of the Silent Generation!

Watch this space and let me know if you think Beckett's got it right?

Monday, 14 November 2011

The Poppy Appeal - good fundraising or too hard a sell?

Very interesting discussion yesterday on Radio 5. Do take a look at where the discussion is after 1 hour and 18 minutes and let me know what you think.

There has been some very interesting comment over the last few days about the pressures people are under to wear a poppy for the two weeks up to Remembrance Sunday. My point was that whilst the British Legion have done a great job reviving the appeal and in particular getting individuals and organisations to respect the two minute silance at 11.00am, we hear increasing tales of people being castigated for not wearing a poppy. Forget the English and Welsh football teams, why did everyone on "Strictly Come Dancing" need to wear one? We remember, surely, with our hearts and minds not what we wear on our breasts or arms.

I do feel that the pendulum has swung too far with celebrity poppies and now "Bling" poppies at £60 saying "I can afford more than you!" What killed off the wrist band, in my opinion, is the fact that everyone got in on the act and there was complete confusion in the brand identity. I do worry that Russell Thompson will have to work hard on this one to avoid fragmentation and a lack of clarity.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Street Canvassers or Chuggers - Is Richard Coles right or as grumpy as me?

Following the Rev's outburst against Street Canvassers at last week (Guardian 28/10/11) the media are having a frenzy about the antics of fundraisers who pursue people onto buses and the like! Personally I suspect dirty tricks! What canvasser in their right mind would think high pressure works in persuading people to give money away?

I was on the Tony Livesey show last night on Radio 5 and we discussed the efficacy of canvassing. The reality is, of course, that it recruits younger givers (donors give blood and party parts) who won't respond to traditional DM or even DRTV. Properly managed it's an important part of the mix. Alexi Short took the opposite stance and suggested that we can do other things as canvassing is too intrusive, threatening and possibly expensive. Interestingly I note that her charity, Winston's Wish that doesn't use street canvassers has about a 42% investment rate so they certainly aren't doing it all with volunteers and coffee mornings!

I tried to make the point, that even the Rev does't get, is that rather than ignore canvassers (who likes to be ignored after all?) people simple need to make eye contact, smile and say no thank you, I've made my charitable donations for this month and walk on. Those who haven't perhaps might ponder why and if they would feel less guilty if they did make informed decisions about who to support.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Charity Chief Executives must be fundraisers!

It's official. Ed Vaizey agrees that chief executives need to understand and practice good fundraising. Doesn't mean they have to have been a fundraising director (you can still count those on your fingers I suspect) but it's a great step forward.

What with Adrian Sargeant, despite all his research, telling us that supporters have better links with government than charities and Ed telling us to sharpen up there must surely be some opportunities for improved communications (especially internal - THE most important audience) and for revisiting the case for support. Too many charites (and fundraisers) get locked into all the techniques and forget, at their peril, the reason the charity exists. And even worse, they take it for granted that supporters understand and share the case and the passion. I think we we better think it out again!

Off to a book launch, "The Charity First Series" take a look because whilst they are short starter texts (very suitable for starters and volunteers) they do all remind us of the case and the need for passion.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Why should anyone give to charity?

There's, what looks to be, an interesting feature on Channel 4 this week (see on at 7.55 each evening) looking at charity and who we should give our money to. Channel 4 are tracking the Big Lottery giveaway of £10 million to community projects and the 4thought programmes are two minute thought starters on and around, my favourite subject, that of philanthropy and giving!

I was filmed as "an academic voice" attempting to put some context to the questions and leave the audience with the message that, of course, it's all about, considered, thoughtful choice. However people benefit by doing their giving joyously in the spirit of, "Do as you would be done by!"

Sadly they now apparently have too many male WASPs so you're going to be spared my dulict tones. An interesting experience however as I was minded to quote the story about Alfred Nobel. He had, as it turns out, the good fortune to read his own obitiary when it was published accidently, when in fact his brother had died. He realised that as things stood he would be remembered only as the inventor of dynamite and an arms manufacturer. At that point he went out out and founded the Nobel Peace Prize.

How do you want the world to remember you?

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Enlighted Self Interest - Part of the Spectrum of Philanthropy

As I've mentioned before I'm finalising the draft for a second edition of "Marketing Strategy for Effective Fundraising" and am looking for some choice quotations/words about the use of marketing to enhance fundraising so this is your opportunity to be immortalized in print!

I've got some lovely inspirational one liners like: "You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give." (Winston Churchill) and "No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave." (Calvin Coolidge) but this is your opportunity as a fundraising practitioner, pundit, guru or student to have your say about what you think is profoundly important.

Incidentally, talking about important stuff, have you seen the latest offering in Fundraising Research? Whilst "UK Giving" continues to be a free download from CAF/NCVO "Giving Trends" is a brand new kid on the block from Third Sector Research (part of the publication) which has interviewed 3,000 givers in the UK (as opposed to 1000 adults by NCVO). It looks like there is some cracking stuff there, but for £450 I'm not sure they'll get too many takers. Or am I just being Scrooge (like my kids believe). Let me know if you're going to buy a copy.

And do, please, give me your orginal quotes/ideas by leaving a comment below. No money I'm afraid, just the glory!

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

More Free Champagne plus Bill Crosby (a seriously grumpy old man)

Free Champagne! Would everybody who works for a charity PLEASE complete a short research survey being done by one of my students as she's struggling to get enough responses. It's on Survey Monkey at:

I think I'll award Bill Crosby honorary membership of the Association of Grumpy Old Fundraisers. Or will I?

There is a diatribe doing the rounds, ascribed to BC, that starts off, "I'm 76 and I'm tired of....." going on to have a serious grump about the world in general, scroungers, the irresponsible, work shy and so on (all good stuff). However it then, far more worryingly, has a very nasty pop at Islam. This is rather unlike Crosby the comic genius and suspiciously like another email doing the rounds which is a real slur, using all the extremist, fanatical stuff to paint one very unpleasant picture of the religion.

In my 60 years experience I'm seen fanatical biggoted, Christians, Jews, Muslims and Hindus (not to mention aethiests and agnostics). I've also seen wonderfully kind, thoughtful, peaceful and philanthropic Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, aethiests agnostics and Jedi.

Sweeping generalisations are not only dangerous. They can be toxic.

Friday, 16 September 2011

The Banksters could learn something from charities

Well well, another $2bn popped it, this time from UBS, and they said it couldn't happen again.

In my experience, if the banks put in something akin to the cost controls that the average charity has (actually Parliament could learn something here) then it really couldn't happen again. The number of signatures, checks, balances and justifications one usually has to make to get repaid for a trip to, say Leeds, would make all but the sturdiest stalwarts tremble in their boots. But it works.

The same applies for sales control as I've just found out. I've spent the last two months chasing around the university to get an invoice raised for a tiny piece of research. Eight weeks, six signatories about about four separate forms all so that the university can be paid by an organisation gagging to pay us! You might say that this is over controlled. I couldn't possibly comment. It does however throw into stark relief the fact that with a few more people looking over the shoulders of the traders and asking the obvious questions, this stuff just could not happen.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Legacy Fundraising - The Last Great Fundraising Opportunity!

How interesting, some 15 years after George Smith challenged Directors of Fundraising during an informal meeting at the Institute of Fundraising, Adrian Sargeant comes up with the research to prove what we all know! Incidently, the "Remember a Charity" campaign was a direct result of the subsequent actions of the group over the next few years to try and stimulate charitable gifts in wills.

Apparently, "The Last Great Fundraising Opportunity" is a study Showing How Identity Can Help Charities Increase Legacy Giving.

Clearly legacy giving must be a crucial part of any charity fundraising strategy. Adrian's study published in Psychology & Marketing uses dimensional qualitative research(DQR) to reveal how charities might understand identity as part of a supporter's motivation to give, in order to increase gifts in wills.

Adrian goes on to say (about the US but it's the same in the UK) that, "at a time of austerity cuts to social welfare programs are increasing pressure on charitable organisations, however, while legacy fundraising accounts for 10% of charity income, only 8% of the population include a charity in their will, a figure which has not increased for over a century."

Apparently,according to Adrian, one of the motivators, not previously identified is "identification with a charitable organisation,” and he goes on to say that, “Our research points to a clear need to recognise how this identification occurs, and the need to foster this sense of shared values in a variety of ways.”

Hello? Adrian? Agreement with the case for support, and resultant alignment with the charity itself is at the heart of all good fundraising. At least that's what I've been writing and teaching for the last 8 years and practising for 20 years.

Of course to be fair, there is some really good, helpful advice and findings in the study, which practitioners really ought to consider. But come on, don't tell us it's new. The research is new and is going to be valuable in underpinning legacy development strategies, practises and arguements for additional investment. However the idea certainly ain't.

Monday, 8 August 2011

The First Cut is the deepest

For the boomers (or pop saddos) you'll recall P P Arnold had a huge hit with this in 1967. In 1977 Rod Stewart covered it pretty succesfully though it was actually written by Cat Stevens and sold to P P Arnold for £30!

I'm recalling the lyrics as I read the NCVO report on the impact of the government cuts upon front line service delivering charities. (see Where the NCVO use the government's own spending review figures to highlight a £3bn cut in funding to community groups and charities providing vital services. They admit that the figures are conservative which confirms that LSBU's estimate of £5bn is probably not far off. Effective fundraising can only do so much and replacing government funding is rarely an attractive proposition for givers.

In reacting to these unnecessarily savage cuts charities may fall into the trap of cutting spending budgets across the board, simply in order to survive. However those cuts, if falling on fundraisers could, in fact be the most savage. By cutting fundraising investment organisations will inhibit not only their capacity to weather the storm, but also reduce their ability to provide alternative income streams when they are most needed. The charities and civil society organisations who survive in the best shape to prosper in the longer term have to be the ones that continue to invest in fundraising and continue to develop teams able to do better.

Whilst the first cut is the deepest, it might the the second that kills!


Wednesday, 3 August 2011

The Postman only knocks once!

Or this could be "more about direct marketing" as it concerns the increasing use of couriers by charities and commercial marketeers alike. It's also in praise of the Royal Mail as, usually, they they do only need to call once.

Ordered three items off the net two weeks ago. One from a charity arrived within three days courtesy of good old postman Paul (we know ours on the Towpath). After 10 days neither of the others (via DHL) had arrived. After various lengthy phonecalls to the suppliers one of the packets turned up. Two weeks later the other still hasn't. The supplier tells me that DHL claim to have tried to deliver "on multiple occassions" (twice or six?) and have left cards through the letterbox. Wrong.

Now it's winging it's way via first class mail and I have implicit faith that it'll be here and Paul will only need to call once 'cause he knows where we live.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

How not to do direct mail

Got an all staff email at the university this morning asking me to sponsor someone doing the same event as me (albeit for ATAXIA a different charity). Given that there are several hundred staff and about 80 of us doing the event, it was singularly untargeted, had no compelling reason to respond and every reason to ignore!

It seems that even with all the luxuries of social networking, the ease of email and just giving pages we can still make all the basic errors of assuming anyone will give money just because we ask them.

Whislt doing a panel session last week for the Guardian, on charity communications a similar theme arose. Lots of people trying to come into the sector but firing off job and volunteer applications with little thought of what the recipient would make of the communication. Back to basics and reminders to stress everything relevant to the position, ensure that you make sure what you offer is (a) deliverable and (b) wanted. It is all about targetting as the gurus of Marketing - Philip Kotler and Michael Porter will tell you. Simples.

And what a brilliant campaign that is. Post modernism at its best. You advertise something entirely different to what the real product is about, but create brand recall AND (most important) an understanding that the product is all about insurance. Eat your heart out Go Compare and Confused. Targeted, skillfully executed and entirely relevant.

That's all there is to direct mail too.

Monday, 11 July 2011

The Philanthropy Summit

So the Institute of Fundraising convenes a Philanthropy Summit at the convention and invites practitioners, pundits and academics (not to mention the Minister Nick Hurd) - so a big fat tick in the box and A for effort. Well done Amanda Shepherd. However the convention itself had only four sessions loosely connected to research and two genuine pieces of fundraising research. Big black mark against the board. And, a question around all those fine words asking for more research, more rigour and more evidence based reports to help present the big picture (instead of all the guru opinion pieces - fun, but increasingly irrelevant).

The questions posed were really quite good in terms of looking at how we might increase giving (both incidence and propensity) unsurprisingly, I think, they suffered from the lack of leadership that the Institute has (and is) experiencing. That's to take nothing away from Sir Alan (sorry Alan Gosschalk that is) who has in the circumstances steered a pretty steady course since the loss in rapid order of two chief executives and the chair. Now we have a new chair and, we're promised, a new CEO soon. But surely vision and mission doesn't come with the CEO but with the board (especially in the voluntary sector).

That is, I think, where we have a real problem. The Institute of Fundraising could do a number of things really well. It could help to make its qualifications mandatory and incentivise all members to become qualified through a structured CPD programme. It could appeal to CASE and lead the field in growth from educational fundraisers. It could help set the fundraising agenda by holding government to account and, by the by, become a chartered institute in the process.

It could do any of these but, I really doubt that it could do them all. So who chooses and how and why? Nobody seems to know and I fear things might just rumble on as always. I do hope I'm wrong in this instance and prove to be a real grump.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Letter to the Prime Minister from the Boomers

I'm not usually one for passing on the jokes that go round the internet but this, far from a joke is, a mon avis, a perfect example of the application of Keynsian economics and, although some of the maths is wrong, might just work. Being a boomer and of the 10 million I rather like it:

Dear Mr. Cameron,

Forget the Big Society and instead, implement this suggestion for fixing Britain's economy.

Instead of underwriting a hundred billion to the banks that might well squander the money on lavish parties and unearned bonuses, use the following plan.

You can call it the Boomers Retirement Plan:

There are approximately 10 million people over 50 in the work force.

Pay them £1 million each severance for early retirement with the following stipulations:

1) They MUST retire - 10 million job openings - unemployment fixed

2) They MUST buy a new British car (if there any) - 10 million cars ordered - Car Industry fixed

3) They MUST pay off their mortgage (or buy a house if they're renting) - Housing shortage fixed and the building societies will have money to lend to first time buyers.

4) They MUST send their kids to school/college/university - Education and maybe even crime rate fixed

5) They MUST buy £100 WORTH of alcohol/tobacco a week ..... and there's your money back in duty/tax etc plus they won't live for another 20 years needing the NHS and social care.

Power to the grumpies (fundraisers or whatever)

Sunday, 12 June 2011

The Merry Go Round

We all know that attrition amongst givers costs a hugh amount of money and the replacement of a supporter is generally far harder to achieve than the retention of someone who is already giving to the charity. Increasingly trustee boards and senior management team understand that we have to invest in cultivation, stewardship, good communications and take time to develop two way relationships with our supporters.

So why do charities continue to hemorrhage fundraisers? Just look at the pages of Third Sector or Civil Society and you seen experienced fundraising practioners, managers and directors changing jobs at alarmingly increasing rates. Ruth Ruderham from Christian Aid to British Waterways, Mike Palfreyman from Help the Hospices to a children's hospice,Liz Showell from Children's Society to Alzheimer's just in one issue. And, of course, you can effectively double that number because of the vaccancies they leave behind.

Investing in staff development, continuing professional development and the opportunity to try new things can significantly enhance individuals' enjoyment and lengthen the time that they stay with an organisation. I used to say of sales staff that if they moved on in under two years we'd done something wrong and we were losing money. If they were still there after seven years I might begin to wonder why. Managers and trustess have a duty to optimise investment and make sure fundraisers stay around, productively for far, far longer.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

A dearth of good fundraisers?

Martin Brookes (of NPC), has a pop a major gift fundraisers and the sky falls in. Or does it? He's talking at the Institute Consultants Group next Tuesday afternoon for anyone wanting to grill him on his prognostications. Meanwhile ACEVO report that the biggest barrier to "the big society" is an excess of red tape. NCVO's Giving Commission take a much more optimistic line that people will give more if only they're asked appropriately. Well there's a thing. I wonder if there is a link after all?

I've been asked to find several interns to help new fundraisers in three different charities deliver ambitious targets. Trouble is that doesn't recognise the lack of experience from existing and new staff (who'll be managing them) and the situation, in my humble opinion, is getting worse. Unqualified fundraisers with some experience but little conceptual understanding of giving models, philanthropic psychology (to quote Adrian Sargeant) and sometimes even the development of a powerful case for support. Surely more power to the Institute's Academy and the universities trying to provide sound fundraising qualifications.

If we think fundraisers deserve a better press we'd better do something about it.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Free Champagne for Social Enterprise

Been at the ISRPM conference in Dublin this week presenting a paper on Social Investment and listening to a number on Social Enterprise(SE). Lots of discussion about what SE is and isn't but between a large number of academics no agreed definition save you know one when you see it.

So I'm offering a bottle of champagne to the best definition in 30 words or less!

We generally agreed that SE is somewhere on the spectrum between a purely "altruistic" charity and a "red in tooth and claw" commercial company but where and what does that mean?

Come on have a go, but be warned I'm hard to please and four professors have failed so far to satisfy me. Incidentally Stephen Barber, also at LSBU, gave a very whitty run down on the "Big Society" and likened it as liable to be ditched by Cameron if things get too hairy in the same way as Blair ditched the Stakeholder Society when it started biting him. I still reckon that if we mention BS at all it needs to be as the Bigger Society, since we've had a very successful Big Society, in the guise of the work of charities and community organisations for more than 100 years.

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Marketing Strategy for Effective Fundraising

Well well, well, you lucky people you! DSC have finally decided to do a second edition of the definitive book on using marketing effectively to enhance your fundraising. Trouble is I put the proposal in last September and in the meantime they've sold out. Fortunately, I've a few author's copies that might last until the reprint.

Very interesting to look afresh at the copy and how in the five years since publication my prognostications about the future of fundraising to 2020 looks horrendously out of date, shape and everything else. Note to self, any predictations (save for the Cheltenham Gold Cup - Long Run was my selection) are over 50 years not ten. 'Cause, of course, in the long run we're all dead.

Enjoy the legacy development opportunities whilst ye may.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Marketing or Fundraising? The Big Debate

A most interesting debate at LSBU today as to whether we must integrate fundraising into all our charity communications and fundraising or whether the skills needed for "the ask" are actually separate, complementary but different to those needed for marketing communications.

An initial vote showed 70% supporting the motion.

Patrick Boggon of Tarnside proposed that everything that fundraisers attempt in trying to change the world is driven by marketing principles. In fact unless Maple's five Ps (price, place promotion, product and positioning)are considered carefully and honestly the fundraising proposition is likely to fail.

Peter Maple countered that fundraising unlike marketing is really very, very simple. Taking into account Tony Elisher's fundraising cycle and the ubiquitous case for support all the fundraiser needs is to listen and ask appropriately. Marketing, on the other hand is full of concepts, theories, paradigms, matrices and gurus. He conceeded that one must have an understanding of effective marketing in a not for profit but asserted that it doesn't have to come from the fundraisers.

The audience were largely unmoved agreeing that there are two skill sets but that fundraising like sales )in commerical organisations), needs to be fully understood and integrated into the marketing function.

You had to be there.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Paraphrasing Lady Bracknell

To misquote Lady B, "to lose one chief executive may be seen to be unfortunate, but to lose two might be seen as careless"

In most organisations people tend to copy the behaviour of the chief executive, since that person has clearly demonstrated their ability to get to the top of that particular tree so perhaps it's not surprising that we get the banksters we deserve. However in the voluntary sector where chief executives are expected to demonstrate the passion, commitment and dedication shown by the volunteers it is sad when their tenure is, to say the least brief.

What will the staff, volunteers and members make of the early departure of Amanda McLean from the Institute of Fundraising after only six months in post. Paul Amadi, then Chair of the Institute said in September: ''We believe that Amanda is the right person to provide leadership and direction to the Institute and its membership." So what changed so quickly?

With the Institute also in the middle of trying to recruit a new chair it does seem that acting chair Alan Gosschalk and interim CEO Bruce Leeke have got their hands over full.

Meanwhile, consultations for the Giving Green Paper have only just finished and the Government has said it'll issue a white paper in weeks. The budget announcements next week may have profound implications for the future of gift aid. The central and local authority cuts are having a devestating effect on community organisations and local charities.

Forget strategy for the moment. Any suggestions for an effective tactical response and coherent campaign to keep pressure on the Government?

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Incentives and the rediscovery of Herzberg

Well I've been saying it for long enough. Monetary Incentives simply don't work!
Now Nottingham University ( see ) reckon that a mixture of punitive fines plus incentives works better than incentives alone. Well maybe in the laboratory but in the real world comparisons are made and, most important of all, actual job content counts for far much than what Fredrick Herzberg (see dubbed Hygene factors. That is the things that will demotivate us if they're not OK. That is in turn vastly different to the Motivators - relationships, job content, control and flexibility that really turn us on and get us firing on all cylinders. That's what we have to hold in mind when shaping jobs, organisations and pay/incentive packages. Pity the bangsters never understood.

Meanwhile we've a government obsessed with controlling the uncontrollable and offering incentives to companies to come and run services that, without the spurious controls and measures, could be run so much more cost effectively than they are now or will be under a for profit regime. Today we learned that 14% of the NHS budget is spent simply on the disaggregation of purchaser and provider. Put out the £80bn to GPs and this figure will rise dramatically leaving even less to spend on patients.

What's that to do with fundraising you ask? Not a lot save it will put even more pressure on charities to pick up the non standard pieces and fund them from voluntary income. Time to start taking responsibility for the whole funding mix not just fundraising. That's pure Herzberg!

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Aging supporters, green papers and the banksters

Very interesting research from Cass and Southampton on the aging profile of charity supporters, which confirms what I've been banging on about. IT'S THE BOOMERS STUPID! We're a large cohort, getting older and whether we start dying in 2012 or 2016 there are much larger numbers of people with both the capacity and propensity to give to our favourite causes if asked appropriately.

The "Giving" Green Paper (get your responses in by 8th March) is very long on rhetoric about giving and very short on facts about asking. To paraphrase Gill Moody (of Craigmyle) at the Institute yesterday - fundraisers are rather like midwifes to donors. We help them achieve a transformation and if we do it right they'll carry on for life (and beyond).

Which brings us on, of course, to the Banksters who just don't get it. So much more could be done by individuals and the corporations (free banking for instance) if they could only be helped to understand the big picture.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

More on the Banksters

So, the banks are going to contribute £200m to the "Big Society Bank" are they? (see Well bully for them. Considering that first estimates of dormant funds are somewhere between £500m and £1.5bn and the fact that the money isn't theirs anyway do we see this as a piece of corporate philanthropy or rather more like self-interest. As Maple's spectrum of philanthropy suggests, this isn't even enlightened self interest, it's well beyond the visible spectrum!

There's a new party being formed by Dr Richard Hill to be called something like NHS Concern. I'm thinking we need Charity Concern because the Big Society sure ain't going to do it.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

The Perils of Charity Trading

For some time I've been suggesting that there continue to be some really interesting opportunities for charities to trade profitably in areas long seen as problematic, high risk, low return and time consuming. After all the addition of Gift Aid to shop profits has revolutionised the return on investment for those charities with the will and drive to implement more advanced point of sale equipment to handle the transactions from initial gift through to ultimate sale (something incidentally that came out of a conversation at a charty tax lecture at LSBU)! I remain convinced that for those fundraisers able to motivate themselves and their boards much more remains, despite some fearsome barriers to entry, for the brave-hearted.

The scandal (if that's what it is) at the Salvation Army over their clothes recyling partners making £ millions is a fascinating demonstration of how much there is out there if only we're willing to get our hands dirty. Yorkshire folk have always known that "where there's muck there's brass" and it seems that, until the prices of recycled clothes trebled over the last few years, the Sally Ann was getting its share. However was due dilence done over the arms length contracts? Prices can go up or down so were there multipliers built in for the charity to be protected from falls but benefit from rises? Possibly not.

The FRSB have finally got something to get their teeth into and we all await with great interest their deliberations and the Charity Commission response. Meanwhile keep looking for the ways to turn other people's rubbish into good, solid, legitimate, cash.