Posts By: Susannah Birkwood

Time for charities to stop feeling like victims

In June, Charity Commission chair William Shawcross said that the charity sector was in a crisis after the outcry over fundraising that followed the death of Olive Cooke.

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Full marks to Jeremy Hughes for speaking out

Like many in the sector, I was surprised and pleased by the response of Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of Alzheimer’s Society, to The Sun’s story criticising pay at the charity last week. Instead of doing what so many charities do and burying his head in the sand the moment a negative news story emerged, Hughes was keen to defend his charity’s practices.

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Mistakes in fundraising are such rare birds

It’s not often I hear much about charities’ fundraising mistakes. Ask fundraising heads about their successes and they’ll talk to you for hours, but their responses are likely to slow down, falter or possibly stop altogether once the conversation turns to their mishaps. Complaints? No, not many. Money wasted? Not really. Regrets? Never!

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Changing media coverage of charities won’t be easy

The idea that negative media coverage doesn’t affect charities’ income seems to be losing credence. Last summer, the head of Oxfam’s market insight team told a Market Research Society event that charities should stop wasting resources defending themselves against critics of charity administration costs and salaries because such critics wouldn’t donate to them anyway; and the RSPCA told me in November that the Daily Mail’s open season on the charity over the past two years had had no effect on its bottom line. Read more on Changing media coverage of charities won’t be easy…

Fundraising critics keep chugging away… so watch out

It’s been a tough old week for fundraising. First, Channel 4’s Dispatches programme sends a couple of undercover reporters to dish dirt on the internal goings-on at two of the country’s best-known fundraising agencies. Then a disgruntled volunteer fundraiser launches a tirade about “chugging”, as he persistently calls it, claiming that paid street fundraisers are having a negative impact on those who collect money for charity for free. Read more on Fundraising critics keep chugging away… so watch out…

Tired and emotional at the IoF convention

Another year, another Institute of Fundraising National Convention. Although for me, it was actually my first. I’m reliably informed by colleagues though that the emotive presentations, back-slapping of IoF board appointees old and new (and fundraisers in general) and appearance of celebrities last seen in the 1990s (Ruby Wax, Loyd Grossman) that took place over the three-day event was fairly typical convention protocol. Read more on Tired and emotional at the IoF convention…

The irritations of online giving

A squabble between a charity and an online giving site last week aptly demonstrates the nervousness that many charities feel in the wake of the collapse of the CharityGiving site last year.

The row – in which the two parties squared up through the media (i.e. me) – took place after George Overton of the children’s charity HCPT The Pilgrimage Trust, aired his grievances about a site called Giveall.org in a comment on the Third Sector website. Read more on The irritations of online giving…