As we find the way forward in fundraising we need to remember the past and present. Motivation. The core of human achievement and where we must always be.

There is no science to this other than experience, instinct and observation. But here are 9 motivators for fundraising. The drivers we need to understand and be along side.

  1. Love of – The prime driver. Love of a cause, person or experience
  2. Dare – A gauntlet thrown down and picked up
  3. Challenge – A quest to prove. A test for oneself or family or friends. A personal test
  4. Change – To create change in something or someone
  5. Build – To make something new
  6. Save – A saviour, to keep something special and of value, to stand up for
  7. Repair – Restore, put right, fix and establish in a new world what was once
  8. Belong – To join in and be part of, a gang and community together
  9. Guilt – Fear, guilt as a driver that is the least attractive but real and alive

Motivation is what makes change and fundraising can be the route to make the most change – personally as well as together


How about this. Choose the charity you work for rather than they choose you. Find an adventure.

Choose a mission and a cause. Choose a bright future and an urgent now. See a way to make a mark, a dent in the universe. Choose leadership. Choose personality, atmosphere, a team, a gang. Choose a journey and a path. Find somewhere to build yourself, learn, and grow. Choose somewhere to fail as well as you choose to succeed and deliver. They will even out and you will be further forward.

Select them like a house or a home or a partner. Raise your expectations. Find higher love.


As Jaime Lyn Beatty said “A job will fill your pockets. Adventures fill your soul”


The village fete in english summer sunshine. Rows of stalls around the green and the makeshift stage, held together by committees and clubs, by local heroes of all generations

Among the tombolas, the tea, the crafts, and the cakes you encounter sweet moments of gentleness and civility, of enterprise and giving, of order, nostalgia and ritual yet happy chaos and impulse. A place on display, at its best, at its most magnificint. Full witness to how generations share and hand on together. The village fete is once every so often, but this goes on quietly the next day and the next and every day.

A short reflection after a sun kissed afternoon in England is that this is not just about this ideal place on this perfect day. It happens everywhere, with everyone who makes it happen. And where this mixture, this potent life force does exist, then each generation they touch stands a real chance of living life to its full. Of belonging. Of handing on. Of giving more than taking.

This is the currency of community.


A signature on a work of art can be a powerful statement. Or a name on the spine of a book. Or the credits rolling at the end of a film. It’s a claim of art, of creation, of work delivered. I wonder then, why, if everyday when we make something that changes worlds, we are less keen to claim its creation?

Sitting in a cafe last year, drinking a beer in the fading sunlight of an early spring afternoon outside the Pantheon in central Rome, I pondered on the creation before me. The Pantheon is magnificent. Inside its huge dome, held aloft by granite and concrete, the largest free-standing concrete dome anywhere is focussed on a perfect circle – an oculus at 142ft that shines the dimming sun through to the marble and stone space below. When it rains the water flows through and down into a hidden drain – snow is said to be magical. Its doors from the 15th century overshadow the vast space around it. Outside 16 pillars hold aloft the triangle roof and the huge, majestic latin words across the front. No doubt a noble call to arms or a bold statement to the glory of Rome or god or life. The words – lost in meaning to most, dominant the square below.


Closer inspection however, reveals the real meaning “M[arcus] Agrippa L[ucii] f[ilius] co[n]s[ul] tertium fecit,” meaning “Marcus Agrippa, son of Lucius, made [this building] when consul for the third time”

So it’s that simple. One of the great wonders of the world – I made this. A signature. Graffiti. A roman selfie. Huge. Enshrined forever.

Maybe we are too modest. Maybe we collaborate so we can hide. Maybe the creation is not recognised or understood. Maybe as time moves on we revise history and our claims are forgotten. Maybe we are content to hold them to ourselves and forsake the public display of ‘ I  made this’. Either way, when people all around us make and do things that change the world for good, maybe we could shout a little more, be a little bolder. Here’s to Marcus Agripp. I made this.

Good on you Marcus.


Having my heartbroken at Starbucks…

Drinking a latte, overlooking the platform in Starbucks at Paddington. Watching the bustle of travel and journeys that we make, we rarely get an insight into the lives of the people who make these journeys. Sometimes, a snatched conversation you hear, an observation, a connection allows you a tiny glimpse, fleeting. Mostly its all anonymous.

But over my latte with the luxury of a late train, I couldn’t help but overhear a conversation next to me. A lovely, well spoken lady sat with a small curly-haired boy aged about 10. She was talking to him about his choices. In reality of course he didn’t have many at 10. As the snippets flowed it was hard not to simply crane my neck and listen, rather than pretend I could’nt hear. “You don’t have to …” she said. “I know how hard this is for you, but try it and see and if not change next September”. The boy looked pale, sad, a sea of emotion underneath his face. “I am so sorry but I have to go back to work….I am so late……” she said …..“You have been so good about it all….”

I gathered my things and finished my drink. As I stood, our closeness, my face and my place in their world was recognised by a smile from her. I was part of this now. I smiled back. For a moment, it looked like she was asking for help. I looked at the boy as I buttoned my coat. “You’ll be prime minister one day…and you can tell everyone else what to do”…..I said, mustering a can do and my best lift in opposite effect to what I actually felt. He smiled as if he had caught the lift . “I moved to London and he lives with his Dad…” She said. I smiled back and then told him about some experience I had a long time ago and that one day he would be ok but I guess its tough. I had already crossed a line but they both seemed slightly relieved. A stranger breaks the circle.

Anyway, I thought about this moment. Thought about it a lot. Especially at holidays times. I wondered about them and him. But more than that I wondered about how strangers can find themselves part of an intimate moment and how, when they are, they do nothing … It’s not my business….

But then I wondered. What if it was?







Political Correctness still seems to raise a few headlines whenever it enters our world. Required medicine and correction for some, George Orwell 1984 and newspeak for others.

In her TED talk above, Sally Kohn, shared what she learnt as a progressive lesbian talking head on Fox News, and her conclusion that it’s not about political correctness, but rather, emotional correctness. She argues that approaching each other first through compassion and understanding – emotionally correct, means that we listen and interact better, a way to debate that introduces affinity and minimises conflict whilst allowing for an exchange and disagreement. That’s how we make change she argues. An evolution perhaps.

What if the non-profit world went one stage further. What if we built on political and emotional correctness and began all we do with Relational Correctness. We broaden our narrative alongside these norms and with a full on mindset that says that all our debate, acts, dialogue, persuasion, communication, impact and life force is driven by a new ideology. Relational Correctness. Our ability to drive our work through the prism that we can only do that if we are focussed on building and maximising relationships.

Relational Correctness.

‘Its relational correctness gone mad’ said Dorothy Donor (aged 68 and 3/4). ‘I don’t know what the world is coming to”

Now that would be a headline

There was a photo of Tony in the early days of the ICFM when Tony was still at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund, where he had huge 80’s glasses. I remember this, not from the moment but some time later when we had cause to remember and laugh at a very long journey. It was all such a long time ago now.

I recall this for no other reason than it was one of many moments when Tony could look back, recollect and laugh but then as always and in an instance look forward and dream. Its odd what floods in to you when you hear the news that someone you knew for so long and so well has gone for good. I heard the news of Tony’s passing when hiding in sunshine a long way away. Every night I looked at a new sunset and now at the end of that far away sunshine, it seems those sunsets were saying much more than they usually do. In the brief moments since I have watched a small but equally huge world in fundraising share first reflections on their loss and words of great sadness. It’s a personal loss to many and that perhaps marks out the man we came to know, and loved.

I first met Tony when glasses were huge as were his and when Saturday Superstore and Bergerac were big TV. The truth is I don’t remember exactly when, it just seems that he was always there when I first became a fundraiser.  Conferences, bars, the newly formed Institute, an emerging tribe of people learning how to change the world. San Diego at AFP on a dance floor. IOF in Birmingham and Warwick. IFC plenary, dinners and gala balls where he brought people together. Tony so loved IFC. He was a driver and a thinker but more than that a force. He exuded life. Sometimes he shouted when presenting despite a mic and I tried to tell him to turn the volume down. Its only in moments like this that I realise that his volume was just his soul being amplified. I wish he shouted more now. Why be quiet when everyone else is? He believed and I think that’s why we all believed as well. He could perform and only in later life I discovered this was because he was once a dancer and performer in another world. He drew content and meaning and performed it so it would resonate and shine and challenge. It was theatre when we all needed theatre. But never light. Full. Always. How we will miss him when conferences need that unique mix. Tony at his best.

His quiet counsel was always the most valued. A small word or a direct telling. He could draw for England as well. Models, triangles, Venn diagrams. Notepads full of creative genius. He was a jackdaw, a collector. Ideas and grand schemes mixed with the hard practical delivery of a man whose experience always in the end tempered his creativity . He posed what if more than any one. He poked and challenged. He sought out can do’s and hope. He said it how it was and how it could be. He was irreverent. Knowing. And there. He was one of those who cared about people – talent. If he saw such talent he drew it out. Special. I used to meet him when I was a Fundraising Director to navigate the usual stormy waters we all understand. Last year at a conference in York, tea at Betty’s and just a conversation and catch up. Dinner in Amsterdam with a gathering as he only he seemed to be able to do. His hospitality was always warm and rich and slightly provocative like he meant for us to try a little harder.

In these last days he faced a monster. I met him the week before his diagnosis. He was having tests and wasn’t sure how they would turn out. At the time I was too and I remember being consumed with fear, as it turned out for no reason. But for Tony it was as he suspected. He focused as we would expect. Determined and positive. A task to be addressed so he could get back to the life he was living and the noise he created around the world. This in itself tells us about him. No one should judge how anyone deals with these things. Each to their own and each can be a light we can learn from, but he faced it and got on with it. I presented with him at a conference in the summer. He amazed us again and as always.  In the end, like for many but not all it overwhelmed him. And so here we are. Empty, shocked maybe and sad that he has gone from our worldwide family.

One thing rings true today. As lives go Tony made one helluva footprint. For all of us wishing today we had sent that last message or said that thing we planned to say or got on with that other thing we meant to get round to, he will remind us that life really is very short. I will as we all will, will have time to reflect, mourn a dear friend, a constant when constants so often get taken for granted. But for today, I just wanted to say I am so very sorry you have left us all and that I wanted to thank you for more than I ever got round to saying. Your gift was immeasurable and generous. You were a true friend, and a great man who made a great difference.

In the days ahead the best way we can honour and remember Tony is do everything he pushed us to do and to be.

God bless.
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