Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Scottish misconceptions continue.

The May 2010 issue of Caritas arrived at Confident Philanthropy headquarters not too long ago, and I was excited to see the article "North of the Border" included, a report by Cathy Pharoah and Mark Pincher about fundraising in Scotland.

There were cogent comparisons of English vs. Scottish  fundraising, with assertions that Scottish charities depend more on statutory funding than their English counterparts and that the Scots spend about half as much on fundraising than the Welsh or English.

Things get a bit hairier for Pharoah and Pincher near the end of their report, however, when they say that in Scotland "private donating may not be as embedded in charitable culture," followed by "it may also reflect very different socio-economic profiles, and this factor is outside the control of fundraisers."

This is thinly-veiled way of saying that Scottish donors are simply poorer than their neighbours to the south, less able and less willing to make philanthropic gifts, and less saavy about fundraising and the need for private support of charities.

I don't buy it, and neither should you.

Philanthropy can thrive at all income levels, but as a percent of income it actually decreases as income rises.  I challenged Geraint Talfan-Davies when he made a similar charge nearly two years ago (we followed it up with a great meeting at the Royal Over Seas League a few weeks later), but as far as I thought we'd come in developing the private philanthropy and the "culture of asking" in the UK, I realise we still have a long way to go.

Jeremy Hunt, let's make this happen!

Rick Holland CFRE MInstF
Confident Philanthropy Ltd.

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