Tips and Blogs

Fundraising culture in UK vs US

Reflecting on fundraising culture in the US and the UK, Craigmyle Fundraising Consultant Christine Buccella considers differences, similarities and the fundamentals of success. Having recently hit the impossible milestone of 30 years (!) as a professional fundraiser, I have been been reflecting on how Read more…

Fundraising evaluation

When successful, fundraising activities and campaigns have the potential to change lives. It’s critical to have fundraising evaluation in place to analyse what you were able to accomplish and how you can do better to help inform fundraising activities in the future. In Read more…

5 ways to better secure grants for non-profit organisations

Non-profit organisations can help people by securing grants. After all, to help people, these organisations need funds. The more money a non-profit organisation – whether a charity, school, museum or church – can secure, the greater its chances of achieving its mission. However, Read more…

Misconceptions about capital campaign feasibility studies

When undertaking a large-scale capital project for a nonprofit organisation, you might not have enough money to cover all costs. As a result, you will need to secure external funding. Securing funding is no easy task, especially for large-scale projects. One of the Read more…

Fundraising meetings – the good, the bad and the ugly

Successful meetings are central to the fundraising toolkit, from campaign Steering Group meetings to face to face approaches. Don’t allow poor preparation, lack of focus or domineering personalities to hijack your fundraising meetings. Whether it’s virtual  (on zoom/MS team etc) or a face-to-face Read more…

4 ways to open the door to invite only funders

Securing grants has always been competitive. It has only become more challenging in recent years. Private foundations are increasingly becoming “Invite Only,” which means they “do not accept unsolicited applications.” Is this to say you should cross them off your list? Quite the Read more…

3 fundraising challenges faced by nonprofit organisations

Every nonprofit organisation has its cause, a community it works to support. That is essentially the core of every nonprofit organisation. However, no organisation can run on values and good intentions alone. Money is still needed to fund the operations, and, unfortunately, getting Read more…

Social Investment

As competition for grant funding hots up, non-profit organisations such as charities, CIOs, CICs and Companies Limited by Guarantee are increasingly exploring the option of social investment loans to help them achieve their goals. But what is it? Why use it? And what Read more…

Trustees

This #TrusteeWeek, Craigmyle Fundraising Consultants recognises and celebrates the UK’s many, many volunteer trustees.  There are roughly 700,000 trustees in England and Wales helping charities deliver their mission. Thanks to all the Trustees for all your hard work and commitment – keeping charities Read more…

How to build an effective fundraising strategy

Are you finding it hard to reach your fundraising goals? You are not alone. Many organisations face the same concerns. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your goals and secure funding for your organisation. The current problem may be due to Read more…

Coventry heritage

Craigmyle’s Bernie Morgan reports on her recent visit to a range of inspiring heritage renovations being undertaken by the Historic Coventry Trust. * What do you get if you mix a group of visionary heritage professionals, a supportive local authority and a transformative Read more…

Fundraising literature

Done well, fundraising literature is a powerful and essential part of the fundraising process.  Fundraising literature or material comes in all shapes, sizes and styles. From an Appeal brochure to a legacy leaflet, it’s important not to let perceptions of what’s required or Read more…

A Quick Guide on Developing a Grant Fundable Project

Success in acquiring a grant is determined by how a project is defined before proceeding to the bid writing process. Focusing on project development means you are more likely to secure a grant. In addition, the project will be stronger and will align Read more…

Fundraising strategy: getting the right mix

When developing or reviewing your fundraising strategy, how do you get the right mix? How do you select the right combination of income streams? Whether you are new to fundraising or long established, you are faced with a deluge of expert opinion and Read more…

Fundraising tips

Here are some of our top fundraising tips – drawn from our 60-year track record, in-depth knowledge across sectors and hands-on experience of strategy and implementation.   Be part of strategic planning: At all stages, fundraisers need to be involved in organisational planning, Read more…

Culture Recovery Fund Emergency Resource Support

With an overall budget of £20 million, the recently opened Arts Council Culture Recovery Fund: Emergency Resource Support programme is specifically designed to support culturally significant organisations (in England) which were financially sustainable before the COVID-19 pandemic but are now at imminent risk Read more…

Things to do in August

In more typical times, August can be a quiet month, a time to take stock and plan ahead. This is far from a typical year, though. Many charities and organisations have, understandably, been focused on fire-fighting and short-term solutions to the pandemic. Whatever Read more…

Strategic development, meticulous planning and mentoring for a major fundraising appeal

Natasha Gaudin, Head of Business Development for the Beaulieu Foundation, Beaulieu Convent School in Jersey, talks about working on a significant fundraising initiative with Craigmyle Fundraising Consultants. Geoff Howard, accredited Craigmyle Fundraising Consultant, spent just under two years working with Natasha (Tasha) and Read more…

Setting up a charity

Many people are looking at setting up a charity in the wake of the social impact the pandemic has had on their communities. Others feel it is the right time to ‘give something back’ now we are starting to rebuild the country and Read more…

Going digital: charity service delivery post-lockdown

The covid pandemic and lockdowns have forced charities and organisations, big and small, to adjust how they support those they assist. Agile organisations have responded by transforming services, often to include digital service delivery with vital support including video calls or online group Read more…

Means-Tested Bursaries for Independent Schools – A Sustainable Proposition

The relentless and sustained real terms increase (well above inflation) in independent school fees over the last 40 years has created a growing issue of affordability. Fees today are approximately 3-4 times as expensive in real terms as they were in the 1980s. Read more…

Maximising major gifts

Major gifts are a crucial element of the fundraising mix, for both revenue income and capital campaigns. But organisations can feel major gifts aren’t for them, or it’s too difficult to establish an effective programme. How best can organisations, big or small, go Read more…

Time for reflective practice

This year, Craigmyle is making time for reflective practice. It’s an opportunity to identify practical ways our team of fundraising consultants can better support our clients as well as supporting each other as colleagues and investing in our own personal development. Reflective practice Read more…

Introduction to the new priorities for National Lottery Grants for Heritage

Early in 2020, the National Lottery Heritage Fund stopped its normal funding rounds to focus on emergency funding for heritage projects significantly affected by the COVID pandemic. In April 2021, the National Lottery Heritage Fund restarted funding non-COVID heritage projects, but with some Read more…

Charities and philanthropy: getting serious about green giving

It’s World Earth Day this week (22nd April) and we are all, increasingly, aware of the need for urgent action on climate change.  Charities and funders recognise they need to be part of the solution and the prevalence and range of green giving Read more…

“With this ring, I thee wed”- churches in partnership

If you were the Trustee of a grant making trust, which of the following submissions for funding from churches would be more likely to get your vote? We are applying for funding for a new kitchen and toilets to make our church more Read more…

Team approach to fundraising

A team approach to fundraising and the importance of detailed research into potential funders: David Titchener, from All Saints, North Street York talks about working with Craigmyle Fundraising Consultants Christine Buccella and Joel Burden, accredited Craigmyle Fundraising Consultants, spent just over nine months Read more…

The Virtual Reception? Some early thoughts

A key element of fundraising and donor cultivation is bringing people together for face-to-face contact between donors, potential donors, beneficiaries, voluntary leaders, trustees and staff.  Lockdown and other Covid restrictions make the normal bringing together of people nigh on impossible. Is the virtual Read more…

Risk and Reward:  Creating an Online Festival

Arts festivals, often run by small, hard-working teams of freelance staff and with an obvious reliance on bringing numbers of people together for a concentration of events, are as badly hit by the pandemic as almost any other sector I can think of.  Read more…

NLHF Heritage grants reopening

Now, more than ever, I believe that heritage has to demonstrate its economic contribution and value to our national life and support for the recovery of our local economies and communities. That’s why, through our heritage funding and support ahead, we will prioritise Read more…

Tips and Blogs

Reflecting on fundraising culture in the US and the UK, Craigmyle Fundraising Consultant Christine Buccella considers differences, similarities and the fundamentals of success.

UK and US flags

Having recently hit the impossible milestone of 30 years (!) as a professional fundraiser, I have been been reflecting on how things have – and haven’t – changed in the sector in the past three decades.

As an American who started my career in the US and then moved to the UK, it’s been interesting to watch how the two markets have approached raising funds over the years, and to observe whether the ‘culture of giving’ has grown closer as fundraising has developed as a necessity for many organisations, particularly in the UK.

Because of a shared language and a historically close relationship, the similarities between British and American culture are often assumed to be greater than the reality. This ‘culture clash’ is often noticeable in the fundraising sector. Both the US and UK populations are generous when it comes to giving to charitable causes. In the UK, 79% of people gave to charity in 2018, compared to 63% of the population in the US[1]. However, there is a significant difference in the size of the donations: with the average person giving $694 a year to charity in the US compared to $247 (£148) in the UK[2]. Whilst it is true that Americans give more to charity than the British, key differences in the tax system and the provision of the state have created two different environments for giving and from this has grown two very different outlooks on philanthropy[3]. The US does not have an organised welfare state equivalent to the UK and has a historic commitment to the idea of limited government, creating a fertile space for philanthropically funded programs that the UK does not have[4]. Because taxes are lower in the USA and the state plays a smaller role in social welfare provision than it does in the UK, many Americans feel it is their duty to step in and donate. It also means that much of this money is directed to local communities or in-country projects, rather than overseas, reflecting a much more parochial view of giving amongst Americans. In 2014, just 4% of charitable giving in the USA went to international organisations whilst in the UK it was 20%[5].

In the US, giving is more incentivised in the tax system than is the case in the UK. US individuals who make donations qualify for a tax break when they file taxes. This incentive is increased further for those in a higher income bracket which encourages them to make larger donations. For wealthy individuals charitable giving plays a key part in their financial planning. The closest parallel in the UK is gift aid which effectively adds an extra 25 per cent to donors’ gifts. But, while this gives donors an ‘added bonus,’ with the exception of higher rate taxpayers, it does not offer people a personal gain in the way the US system does and therefore it is not often one of the motivating factors for giving[6].

There is also a difference in the level of ‘professionalisation’ of fundraising in the two countries. For a significant number of people in the UK, giving to charity means organising community events, like bake sales, or dropping some change into a collection box. For these low-level donors, fundraising campaigns that are perceived as too ‘glossy’ can cause ill-will for the organisation. George Bernard Shaw made the observation that “the English are a nation of amateurs, not professionals”, which is still, a hundred years later, a point of pride for people in the UK. For this reason, a perceived slickly produced and executed US-style fundraising campaigns will not necessarily resonate positively with a UK audience.

However, there are plenty of successful fundraising campaigns which have been run in the UK. It is in the fundraising fundamentals that the US and UK are most similar. Both markets create campaigns around the four fundamentals: a strong case for support, an identified and costed need, a well-researched constituency of potential supports and a group of motivated volunteer leaders.

In Craigmyle’s experience, combining professional expertise and fundraising fundamentals with a clear understanding of the organisation’s culture and comfort level with fundraising can be a winning combination. The campaign target and timeframe may differ for the different markets but, like the fable of the tortoise and the hare, sometimes a slower, more thoughtful approach can ultimately prove to be more beneficial for some organisations. But sometimes a little American ‘umph’ doesn’t hurt!

[1] Barnes, Simon, ‘The USA and UK Charity Sectors Compared’, Alliance Magazine, December 2015

[2] ‘Give me a break: Why the UK should not aspire to a US-style culture of giving’, Charities Aid Foundation, February 2014

[3] Barnes, December 2015

[4] Give me a Break, February 2014

[5] Barnes, December 2015

[6] Ibid