Fundraising Magazine has got its annual poll going for the most influential fundraisers around. It's an interesting concept isn't it? Do you vote for those who you think are the best practitioners (such as Liz Tait or Paul Amadi) around? Or is it about the gurus and pundits (such as Richard Radcliffe or the late lamented Tony Elisher)? What about those who champion fundraising? (maybe Peter Lewis or Dan Pelota). Then we might consider the academics doing valuable research and teaching good practice (such as Beth Breeze and Adrian Sergeant. Modesty, by the way, almost prevents me from dropping my name in!) It's all, of course, a bit of fun but those of us who do get votes tend, I'm afraid, to become competitive - as, one might suggest, befits a good fundraiser.
We've got a very wide choice and maybe this year it is trickier as the industry has been seriously under the cosh. Thanks to Stuart Etherington's report. The new fundraising regulator is beginning to flex its muscles. The PFRA has to remerge with the Institute of Fundraising and we're all worried about how the Fundraising Preference Service will be operated (if you're not you jolly well should be). I got phoned by the Today Programme doing a piece on Birmingham Council's decision to further limit access for street canvassers. I regularly champion face to face fundraising on TV and Radio. Done properly, sensitively, with well trained staff it can still deliver new supporter that other methods simply can't reach. People get so hot under the collar that they are harassed and even bullied when, in my experience a smile and a word of encouragement produces a thank you and no hassle! But then I'm a crinkly and not much of a target. That in turn take's me back to the campaign from the Institute around the right, nay duty, for fundraisers to fundraise whilst acknowledging the right of everyone to say no. When we don't hear that no, and react appropriately, is when the trouble starts.
So who are you going to vote for? Think about the heroes and the villains and make your choice!