Plymouth University’s fundraising think tank – Rogare (Latin for ‘to ask’) – has announced a new category of advisory panel member that is specifically aimed at ensuring it has the right mix of American fundraisers supporting its objectives.
While most of the advisory panel is now appointed through a recruitment and selection process – the first tranche was announced earlier this month – five places in each annual intake will be reserved for ‘honorary’ members identified by Professor Adrian Sargeant.
Sargeant, director of Rogare’s parent body the Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy, has extensive contacts throughout the American fundraising community, having spent seven years as professor of fundraising at Indiana University. He still regularly presents at conferences throughout the States.
Professor Sargeant says: ‘There is masses of forward-thinking and innovative fundraising being conducted in USA. As Rogare has now become a body with international reach, we have to ensure that our ideas reach into the American fundraising community.
“While it is great that we have recruited some US fundraisers through our selection process, because I’ve got such a intimate knowledge of fundraising in the USA, I know the types of fundraisers we must have engaged with us guarantee that what we do has an impact on American practice.”
Although Sargeant will mainly invite American fundraisers to join the panel, he says he may invite fundraisers from elsewhere in the world.
The first three honorary panel members to accept an invitation from Professor Sargeant are:
- Nathan Hand, director of advancement, The Oaks Academy, Indiana
- Ken Miller, president of Denali FSP Fundraising Consultants, Alaska
- Beth Rose, VP of philanthropy and external relations, Alaska Community Foundation.
Nathan Hand says:
“I was honored to accept the invitation to join Rogare, to help put research into practice. As a full-time practitioner, it’s clear that many active fundraising professionals either do not have professional training and/or are not aware of the research available. Rogare will bridge that disconnect.”
He sees two important challenges facing fundraising in the USA: a lack of understanding among organizational leadership and the unchanging amount of philanthropic funds available to causes.
“Boards and CEOs of nonprofits regularly have a ‘silver bullet’ approach to fundraising,” he says. “They hope for one enormous gift, or wait for their need to go viral. Basic, accessible fundraising education for nonprofit leaders not in the fundraising trenches would support fundraisers and allow organizations to raise more funds effectively.”
He thinks the solution to stagnating levels of giving could be to teach the importance of philanthropy at an early age, and compel giving adults to share a larger percentage of their wealth.
Beth Rose says:
“I accepted an invitation to join the Rogare advisory panel because Rogare is unlike other research institutions on fundraising. Rather than report on trends in philanthropy, Rogare tackles issues that help fundraisers become more effective in the field.”
She thinks one of the biggest challenges – and opportunities – facing fundraising is identifying the right set of messages and steps to generate greater philanthropic giving from bequests.
“Numerous studies point to the tremendous transfer in wealth that will take place in decades to come,” she says. “Fundraisers will benefit by more clearly understanding the motivations of legacy donors and employing the most successful methods for generating gifts and retaining this special group of donors.”
Ken Miller says:
“I accepted the invitation to join the Rogare advisory panel so that I could learn, work and dialogue with others concerned about the nonprofit fundraising sector. I would like to help bring about change by working with others to identify new and sometimes not so new methods and techniques that are based on testing and data that will increase the effectiveness of fundraisers.”
Miller believes the biggest challenges facing fundraisers are education, training and a body of knowledge of tested and proven methods of effective fundraising. He also thinks a challenge to fundraisers will be the public’s ability to trust nonprofits and NGOs will be tested by the so-called “scandals” that are promoted by media.
The honorary members join US panel members Marc Pitman and Joe Matassino, who came through the recent selection process. Rogare’s director Ian MacQuillin hopes to recruit further fundraisers from the US and Canada when the next round of selection of the advisory panel begins in June 2016.
The board of the Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy also features strong US representation. It is chaired by renowned fundraising consultant Simone Joyaux and also features equally respected American fundraising luminaries Tom Ahern, Matt Beem, Bob Carter, Roger Craver, Amy Eisenstein, and Jay Love.