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


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.


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


I have a confession. I watched the last episode of Mr Selfridge and here’s a curious observation.

Apart from the weaving plots, the hemlines, the scandal and the financial crisis that drives the series there is a curious thread of leadership genius. It’s like a manual in people management. Digging deeper, it turns out that the fiction of the TV, was woven through bones of the man. And, as I discovered, Harry Selfridge was the architect of some pretty good leadership mantra’s. So, in front of perfumes and ladies hats are 9 of the best

  1. “People will sit up and take notice of you if you will sit up and take notice of what makes them sit up and take notice.”
  2. “The boss drives his men; the leader coaches them.”
  3. “The boss depends upon authority, the leader on goodwill.”
  4. “The boss inspires fear; the leader inspires enthusiasm.”
  5. “The boss says ‘I’; the leader, ‘we’.”
  6. “The boss fixes the blame for the breakdown; the leader fixes the breakdown.”
  7. “The boss knows how it is done; the leader shows how.”
  8. “The boss says ‘Go’; the leader says ‘Let’s go!'”
  9. “The customer is always right.

And so is the donor. Lessons come from odd places if you are open to them

Hand made earth toy on hands

We have already opted in to charity. Its called a civil society. It our starting place that we need to assert and fight for.

If we want a thriving sector – and we all do, we need to confront the dangerous interpretation that some seem to be creating. There is serious unintended consequence. Here’s some principles we would be well advised to adopt and organise around. There are three levels we need to get clarity on and fight for:

  • Opt in is already in place – a civil society in a democratic state with thousands of years of history and a rich heritage of charity in a free society with collective norms and accepted behaviours doesn’t need a default position that says we start by being outside that. Change this at your peril. Invent nonsense for one sector and not others and see where it leads. We are all in – that’s how the greater good works balanced with individual liberty
  • Consent – In that opted in world (our society to our citizens), we can only operate with consent. That comes from 2 places. Collective consent from the public and institutions, and consent as an individual. You need my permission. I give it freely, I need to make it clear and you need to respect my consent. My consent is with you – I don’t need to give my DNA and run it up a flagpole ….once I contribute I recognise you will want to build a relationship with me but I always have choice and I know you behave in a way that shows that. Giving my details to someone else does involve my DNA, a flagpole and a loud yes or no.
  • Opt out – If I choose (in a free society) to say I don’t want any more from you, I can opt out. You will make it easy for me and I won’t feel resentful. Opt out works if we are open and transparent and bring together codes and existing structures and use them. We behave in a way that respects and we have systems to support it. If anyone doesn’t they should be punished.

Three principled layers. Meanwhile, we are worrying about small details and what ifs, rather than organise around principle and the right thing. We need to stand up and push back. Nicely of course…


After much soul-searching in the fundraising sector in the last few months, and much anguish about the future and direction of travel, I have compiled a powerful list of 10 ‘saviours’ for fundraising and the sector.

If done together and with heart, values, principles, stories, creativity, service and care, insight, humility and solid process to back it up and the cause and need as the engine the results could be amazing. Please share – they are groundbreaking and revolutionary. Here they are, in no particular order.

  1. Put the donor first
  2. Put the donor first
  3. Put the donor first
  4. Put the donor first
  5. Put the donor first
  6. Put the donor first
  7. Put the donor first
  8. Put the donor first
  9. Put the donor first
  10. Lead everyone and everything so they put the donor first

I know. Exciting stuff. Truly – we are saved.

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