Opinion / features

Many of the issues that matter most to fundraisers are far from clear cut. Here, in a series of illustrated feature articles, seasoned practitioners and newcomers alongside leading figures from the world of fundraising are free to give vent to their passionately-held views and opinions. Join the big debates or study the side issues so you can work out your own view on what matters most.

Data is gold. But only if you can get to its real value

people crowded onto a truck

by Chuck Longfield

All fundraisers know that their data is valuable. All fundraisers know that developing an existing donor is many times less costly than recruiting a new one. All fundraisers know that fundraising should be integrated, that focusing on the donor is more appropriate than on the medium of communication, that...well, that there are a lot of things we all know full well but we still don’t do the right thing by them. Data is one of these, perhaps one of the most obvious and important.

Read more

Dislocation, dislocation...

by George Smith

No one is spared e-mails these days. Be you ever eminent or senior, most of your business messages will now come in this form. I recently winced when I saw an e-missive being sent by a young fundraiser to a prominent sponsor. And how did the missive start?

Read more

At Charing Cross station, I stood up and blubbed a little

Children carol singing.

by George Smith

This simple, heart-warming Christmas story from George Smith will reaffirm for you that fundraising is, and always will be, about emotion.

Read more

Give that gift back!


What happens if a donor wants their money back? Donna Caputo has some advice.

Read more

Why should God have all the best ideas?

by Ken Burnett

The concept that inspired the creation of SOFII.

Read more

The customers always write

A meeting

by George Smith

In 1983 George Smith was a revered columnist for the UK’s highly regarded Direct Response magazine. The first of the two articles featured here appeared way back then, shortly after the movie Chariots of Fire had come out, and was written as a direct result of one dreadful client meeting.

Read more

Why Gift Aid isn’t working


by Barry Gower

On Monday 30 July 2007, over 100 people from all sectors of the charities world attended the first of a series of consultations on Gift Aid organised by HMRC Treasury, Office of the Third Sector and HMRC in London. There were lots of exciting and innovative suggestions from all involved and it is likely that there will be considerable changes introduced when the process is completed early in the new year.

Read more

Pretenders to the Steward Throne

by Gordon Michie

Stewardship is the new buzzword. Everyone is talking about it. But it raises more questions than it answers.

Best known for his line in kilts and his not very hairy knees, Scotsman Gordon Michie generously shares his views on the ins and outs of Stewardship.

Read more

Kay Grace in her own words

by Kay Grace

'I’m always being asked how I ended up in this profession! And my story, of course, is similar to that of others: I began as a fundraising volunteer while busy in another career, realized that this had passion and power for me.'
- Kay Grace

Read more

Striking ideas: fake nuns, donkeys and your strategy for the year ahead

by Richard C McPherson

A new non-profit organisation starts in America about every 10 minutes, 40,000 just last year. Or maybe it was 50,000. Even the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) isn’t exactly sure. Worthy, interesting or bizarre, they will be competing with you this year. Fortunately, they provide three valuable lessons if your organisation was started more than 10 minutes ago.

Read more