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Emergency giving – a personal view

The Management Centre

In this blog, Angela Cluff gives a personal perspective on fundraising appeals, and the impact of statistics versus individual stories on giving.

It’s been a busy few days, so good to relax on the sofa, glass of wine in one hand, football on in the background and catching up on Twitter.

This caught my eye. Care International UK matters a lot to me – I’m proud to be on the board here in the UK and have seen first hand the difference we make to individual lives in the field.

Fairly casually, I retweeted it and added giving to the South Sudan crisis appeal to my mental to do list.

Giles Pegram, the man who taught me just about everything I know about fundraising replied with ‘NO. Statistics of need are beyond my help. Story of individual need, solution and cost. Donor can make the difference.’

And then ‘Evidence is that scale leads to awe. Emotion re individual case and solution leads to action. (?)’

And that got me thinking. Of course I know that the master fundraiser is right. But this did make me add sending a significant (for me) emergency gift on top of my regular gift to today’s to do list. Why? For me – especially in emergencies – the numbers are part of the emotion. I see the individual story and feel helpless. Is helping one person among so many caught in the most desperate of circumstances all I can do? I don’t have unlimited capacity to help in every situation, every emergency. Scale is one factor that compels my choice.

So I’m a sample of one. I may not be the target market. And I might be a very unusual donor.  But I am a donor and in this case it made the difference between action and inaction. So a plea – remember research is important, but it doesn’t tell the whole story about what motivates donors. And that was too much to say on Twitter.

What’s next?

To find out more on =mc fundraising work, visit the fundraising consultancy pages or call 020 7978 1516.

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Angela Cluff

About Angela Cluff

Angela is an expert in fundraising strategy and a specialist in major donor fundraising. She has led major consultancy projects for UK and international organisations including UNICEF International, MS...


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