All fundraisers are talking about overheads. But how relevant are they really? Which donors are how strongly influenced by them? For which philanthropic purposes do they play a major role in the donation decision, where not? All fundraisers are aiming at religious donors. But how relevant is the influence of religiosity really? How does the willingness to donate depend on the kind of religion? And which religion is most likely to donate for which purposes?
All fundraisers do relationship fundraising. But everyone builds up his relations his own way. Insights from psychology, sociology or marketing theory, scientific studies of motives, processes and factors of relationships of different types and between different actors are rarely consulted or considered.
There are answers to all these questions. Only nobody knows them. They hide in university libraries, academic databases and on occasional scientific seminars. They lie fallow in international philanthropy research (constantly overlooked by fundraisers), but also in completely different scientific disciplines.
Scientists and fundraiser rarely come across each other. And that’s too bad! Because it leaves not only many questions unanswered, many questions are not asked in the first place. Scientists of philanthropy and NPO research often do not know what the fundraiser “on the road” is concerned about, for which questions they would like to have answers.
Hence, some time ago the fundraising think tank Rogare was founded at one of the leading research institutes for Philanthropy worldwide, the Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy at the University of Plymouth (UK). Rogare is Latin and means “to bring” and “to ask”. And that’s what does Rogare. under the direction of Ian MacQuillin it brings together scientists and fundraisers from all over the world. And it asks the right questions – to the scientists and to the fundraisers.
The declared aim of Rogare is to take the results of science – eg from donor psychology, NPO-sector research, CSR research and marketing theory – to those who can use them most, the fundraisers. And, conversely, the questions of the fundraisers to the scientists. Important current topics of the think tank are the perception of fundraising in the public, the importance of behavioral science for fundraising and the above-mentioned relationship fundraising.
This interface has been lacking. I am pleased – and feel honored –to participate in this task in the next two years as Advisory Board Member of Rogare in to assume for Rogare the bridging function into the German-speaking fundraising community – also via this blog. Because asking educates.
PS: Rogare also has its own, highly recommendable blog – the Critical Fundraising blog – with articles and comments by the members of Rogare on current debates and issues of fundraising.
PPS: Here you’ll find the press release on the new Advisory Board Members of Rogare.