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

I offer you a little apercu from Charing Cross. For the whole of the month of December, fundraising at this busy central London terminus goes all seasonal.

Written by
George Smith
Added
May 15, 2011
Creating an aura of hope and moist-eyed emotion.

Every night a children’s choir sings carols to raise money for a whole sequence of good causes – it almost doesn’t matter which. These choirs are neither senior nor musically very adept; these are groups of primary school kids, wrapped up in their winter coats, brought in from their schools by their teachers to sing in public. Collectors, probably parents, walk around the crowd that inevitably gathers, with seriously jangling tins.

George claimed to be more Scrooge than Bob Cratchit, which is not true, but who is SOFII to shatter his reputation?

And they don’t have to dress up to do it. Or to eyeball you, or engage in hearty verbiage. They can just collect quietly in the knowledge that the kids have created the atmosphere in which you want to give.

And they don’t have to dress up to do it. Or to eyeball you, or engage in hearty verbiage. They can just collect quietly in the knowledge that the kids have created the atmosphere in which you want to give.

It’s not a religious atmosphere that they create. It’s just an aura of decency and hope and moist-eyed emotion. You’re watching an eight-year-old tot not quite making the descant in ‘Away in a Manger’, you’re watching the kids who are so tired that they’ve stopped pretending to sing, you’re watching the teachers trying to keep them in line.

Fundraising is about emotion. It always was, it always will be.

Look around the crowd and you can see that everyone is beaming. The old-fashioned word for this is goodwill and the new-fangled term is probably the feel-good factor. All I know is that I have wandered over from the Costa Café to beam. And that, when the teacher comes round with the tin, I give a pound. And that, on occasion, I blub inwardly at the sheer niceness of it all. You should know that I am more Scrooge than Bob Cratchit when it comes to Christmas.

So never let anyone tell you that fundraising is finally anything but an emotional business. It always was. It always will be. 

This is article is taken from George Smith’s seminal work, Asking Properly, (The White Lion Press, London).

About the author: George Smith

George Smith

A legendary marketing/fundraising guru and curmudgeon.

Recent Articles

Integrity is not something you show others, it’s how you behave behind their back

Ken Burnett, SOFII’s founder, looks at questions of integrity in fundraising and where it’s lacking, asking the question ‘Whatever has happened to plain ol’ knowing "right" from "wrong"?’

Read more

Our Right to Heal - Fatou Jammeh, Canada

In a new series brought to you by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), Fatou Jammeh shares her lived experiences of racial and gender prejudice. She also explores the legacy of historic oppression in fundraising. This is a powerful story from Our Right to Heal.

Read more

Our Right to Heal - Black women fundraisers share their stories

These two videos introduce a wonderful initiative by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP). This is Our Right to Heal, a selection of beautifully written essays where black women fundraisers share the experiences that have shaped their professional and personal lives.

Read more

The Ken Burnett archives: ActionAid’s journey to diversity

How one of the UK’s leading INGOs improved performance from management, staff and board by putting its principles into practice. And found happiness in the process.

Read more

WILL YOU HELP SAVE FINZ? - A unique fundraiser-to-fundraiser (F2F) appeal, part two

SOFII gives you an update on the matched funding appeal, straight from the horse’s mouth. Joe Burnett talks to FINZ CEO Michelle Berriman (who of course is more of a swan than a horse, but you know what we mean!).

Read more

Also in Categories