Friday, 26 February 2016

Send me your nominations for the Museum of Philanthropy

Have you noticed the increasing trend to reject philanthropic deeds that are now seen as politically incorrect?

The statue of Cecil Rhodes (at Oriel College Oxford) is to stay put but only just. The college began a consultation last month and said the "overwhelming" response was that Rhodes should stay." The college said the statue was a reminder of the complexity of history and of the legacies of colonialism. However, in a statement, the campaign group Rhodes Must Fall said: "This recent move is outrageous, dishonest, and cynical. This is not over." In a similar vein, the university of Cape Town is fighting to keep their bronze of Rhodes against a determined student campaign.

Meanwhile Age UK are fighting to hang on to their deal with Eon. They currently say, "Age UK and EON have decided to temporarily suspend offering the Age UK Fixed 2 year EON energy tariff to new and renewing customers." The sponsorship deal made a lot of money for the charity but has come in for much criticism as not being the best deal for customers. The Sun in particular claimed, that Eon has been paying £6 million a year to the charity and getting promotion for higher rate tariffs in return. It claimed further that the tariff recommended by the charity, on average, costs pensioners £245 more than they would pay on Eon’s cheapest deal.

Perhaps, (rather like the Radio 4 virtual "Museum of Curiosity" or even the real one called the Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities in Mare Street, Hackney!) we need a museum that can accept unwanted Philanthropic Gifts? It could proudly display all the vainglorious attempts at immortality as well as the fundraising techniques that have rather lost their glamour or worse!

I'm giving a keynote fundraising speech at the Museum of London next week and thought I might launch the idea there. So please send me, your nominations, for what might go on show. A bottle of champagne for the best one.

Friday, 5 February 2016

How will the Fundraising Preference Service Work?

I was at the IoF/Small Charities Coalition meeting yesterday to hear Stephen Dunmore and George Kidd talk about The Etherington review, the new fundraising regulator and the FPS. Whilst I think that they will try to operate pragmatically and reasonably I continue to worry that the devil will be in the detail.

Bernard Jenkin MP would probably say we asked for it and now we're getting it. However as I reminded everyone. The MPS and the TPS are all about avoiding unsolicited marketing approaches. Individuals can ask any charity they give to, to stop sending appeals (and for goodness sake what sensible fundraiser would ignore a direct request?) so why oh why do we need to go further? The real danger I fear is that, in an effort to "keep in simple" (Kidd) we will require all existing givers to any charity to opt back into receiving communications. And that is a very slippery path. As Adrian Sergeant asks,why should we single out charities when financial services go unnoticed?

I doubt it will affect small charities with limited direct marketing programmes but a blanket approach could be the "thermo-nuclear device" that some commentators and fundraisers fear.

However, like Baldrick, I have a plan! I hope, a cunning plan.

I'm talking to fundraisers at the Museum of London Enterprise and Philanthropy conference on 2nd March so come along and see what you think of my idea.

Meanwhile are you worried?