NEWS: Plymouth Charity Lab to test how ‘proud’ fundraisers really are

Plymouth University’s Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy (CSP) will be running a psychology laboratory throughout the Institute of Fundraising’s National Convention next week to test whether delegates are as proud of being fundraisers as they sometimes claim to be.

The CSP is transplanting the Plymouth Charity Lab – which is based on the university campus – lock, stock and barrel to convention.

Jen Shang, CSP’s director of research, says:

Screen Shot 2015-07-01 at 11.09.43It is a well known phenomenon in psychology that what people say about how they feel is not necessarily how they really do feel.

“For example, people may feel far from proud when they have to shy away from pushing through a really tough decision during a board meeting, resolving a really difficult conflict with their supervisor or fighting a really hard political battle with their rivals.

“Those things are really hard to do and even when we are doing our very best, sometimes, we still cannot make ourselves proud in what we do.”

Last year, the Institute of Fundraising set up the ‘Proud to be a Fundraiser’ campaign to encourage fundraisers to “promote and celebrate the vital work” fundraisers do.

Sophie Kong, manager of the Plymouth Charity Lab, says:

Sophie screenshot“Delegates will need to set aside about 25 minutes to respond to a series of ‘implicit cognition’ tasks at a computer workstation, which involve measuring a participant’s reaction time to particular stimuli. How professionally proud they claim to be will affect their reaction times, although we’re not saying whether it will slow them down or speed
them up.”

Participants will get an individualized report letting them know if they are as proud to be a fundraiser as they think they are. The lab will also send them a report with the aggregated data that shows if there are any such trends in the fundraising profession.

Anyone taking part in the study can enter a draw to win an iPad Mini for themselves and a free 20-question email survey for their charity. Of course, they could always donate the iPad to their charity. The Plymouth Charity Lab’s temporary base at convention will be on the podium overlooking the main exhibition hall in the Monarch Suite, where it will set up 10 workstations.

The Plymouth Charity Lab assists researchers to carry out excellent research to advance our scientific understanding of sustainable philanthropy.

The research topics being conducted span a wide range of disciplines, including:

  • philanthropic psychology
  • marketing
  • system-dynamics
  • simulation-based entrepreneurship education.

Ian MacQuillin, director of the fundraising think tank Rogare at the CSP, will be talking at convention on the subject  ‘Are you really proud to be a fundraiser?’, and presenting a new ‘manifesto’ for fundraising.


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