Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Five things I love in fundraising*

*at the moment

So, it has come to our attention in Charity Chicks towers that our most popular blog post is '10 things I hate about fundraising.' It was actually only five in the end, 10 was too many to come up with.

It was written last year when dreaded phrases like ‘period of consultation’ and ‘transition’ were being thrown round. However that was then - and this is now. 

I am currently settled in a new job, working for an awesome charity, seeing exciting and great fundraising all through the sector. So I thought perhaps it was time to write a blog called ‘Five things I love about fundraising’ (lessons learned from last year – 10 is too many).

And then, last month, something strange and incredible happened. So I decided to write a blog called ‘Five things I love in fundraising at the moment.’ 
1. #nomakeupselfies – wow – Where on earth did that come from? Well interestingly, not a charity! However Cancer Research UK raised £1 million in a day (and £8 million in total!!!).

Breast Cancer Campaign also saw a spike in donations and the most hits to its website in a day ever. There have been lots of blogs written about it since, but this one from Lisa Clavering is worth a read for the inside track. 

But how inspiring to see - not women without their make up on, that’s no big deal - but the public taking something and running with it.

I must admit when I first saw someone do a make up free selfie and put #cancerawareness I cynically rolled my eyes and asked 'how does that raise awareness?'. 

Then I saw more people do it and start putting instructions on how to donate. Then I it raised £1 million and I started to eat my words. Then I saw this on Breast Cancer Care’s Facebook page and the comments totally made me tear up, take my own selfie and text a donation. 

2. This from UNICEF USA is awesome, but only look at it on your mobile (I lasted 27 minutes. Not sure that is anything to feel proud about). 

3. Not strictly ‘at the moment’ - and more awareness than fundraising,  but Shelter is great on Buzzfeed

4. Not all donors give money – some give blood. And a couple of Friday’s ago I was greeted by the blood donors take over of Kings Cross station – great food for thought for where street fundraising can go. 

And much needed, as shockingly only 4% of the UK are active blood donors. As we well know, a face to face conversation is a great (the best??) way to get new donors. If you can, do click here and sign up. 

5. And finally………..this is a controversial one that has split the sector. 

I wouldn’t say I love it. In fact I am not even sure if I like it. But I do know I took notice in an incredibly crowded area of fundraising. 

And I kind of get it. I get the point they are making and I get where the lady in the advert is coming from. 

Is it upsetting to people who have lost someone to breast cancer? Undoubtedly. 

Is it insulting to the 1,000 women who lose their life every month  to the awful disease that is breast cancer? I imagine so.

But isn’t also shocking that survival rates in pancreatic cancer have barely moved in 20 years? Would it have got anywhere near the level of attention had they not gone for something so shocking? 

And don’t we argue in international sector that sometimes you have to shock? That its not 'poverty porn', it’s reality.

The young lady very sadly died in February but she stood by the advert and meant what she said. Is this not just her reality?     

Kathryn Brooke

To give to Pancreatic Cancer Action click here

To give to Breast Cancer Campaign click here

To give to Breast Cancer Care click here


  1. Enjoyed the article - my frustration with Cancer charities is their lack of openness and transparency;

    So here are two things I find really positive in 2014:

    1 People are still giving - money, time, food and unfortunately organs;

    2 Local people still find ways to change lives through acts of charity;

    I have over 35 years experience as a charity fundraiser and it never ceases to amaze me just how much people give and their personal reasons for giving.

    We can hate the methodology of the fundraisers who use gimmicks, emotional blackmail and celebrity but we can never reproach the giver.

  2. Hi there

    Thank you for your comments. There is a lot to be positive about and I do find the time, effort and money that people are prepared to give is very humbling and something I think us fundraisers should never fail to be impressed by

    I do however think all charities struggle with openness and transparency at times and this is not something unique to cancer charities. In particular the media seem very hostile to listening to our point of view of issues such as salaries and admin costs which makes educating people on the importance of these costs hard. But donors have a right to know and we need them to understand so it is something all charities need to get better at.

    Really pleased you enjoyed the article and thank you for commenting!