Home run

Home run

Home run

Fundraising | Ian Allsop | 30 Sep 2011

Ian Allsop is pushing himself to the limit – all in the interests of fundraising research.

I was pottering around the house the other day wrestling with a wordy problem. Yes, pondering the origins and meaning of the phrase ‘charity begins at home’ really does begin at home.

After discounting the possibility that it was a misquote of a fundraising campaign slogan for voluntary groups in the Brighton area – charity begins at Hove – I assumed that, like a lot of these things, it came from the Bible.

But after extensive research (two minutes on Google) I found that, while the concept underpinning the line may have its roots in the good book, it is popularly attributed to Sir Thomas Browne, an English physician, writer and theologian. In 1642 he opined: “But how shall we expect charity towards others, when we are uncharitable to ourselves? ‘Charity begins at home’, is the voice of the world.”

The meaning of the term seems to have altered over time to fit the particular situation of the person quoting it, though I wouldn’t like to comment whether this has parallels with plenty of things that genuinely were written in the Bible.

While the original intention that one should look after oneself and one’s family before helping others is sensible when applied to life’s necessities, it has sometimes been used as a justification for selfishness.

Further, I have also heard it used to excuse not giving to international aid charities.

But enough historical semantics and moralising about how individuals allocate their hardearned cash. Charity is most definitely prominent in my home currently, as is the value of looking after oneself.

I somewhat recklessly signed up for a half-marathon last May. The editor’s comment was: “You’ll do anything to get some material for your next blog!”

Being badly out of shape – unless that shape is round – and never one prone to running very far, even when a younger, fitter model, I felt 13 miles would really test me. And more importantly raise plenty of money for a good cause through the ‘incredulity-donation-reflex’ of friends and colleagues. I saw that the Royal Parks Foundation halfmarathon was seeking victims and, before you could say “imminent midlife crisis”, I signed up.

Depending on how long it takes you to get round to reading this, the race is either in a few days or happened last month. Either way, this could be my valedictory blog, especially given how my training is going.

Not that I would be so cheeky as to use this as an opportunity to elicit sponsorship, however worthy the cause. Though I will just say that the Scout Association has been doing sterling work with young people for over a century and, if you ignore any opportunity to help them financially, you are responsible for the moral collapse of the next generation in our broken society.

I will share some observations about the fundraising process. The Scout Association are trialling the Virgin Money Giving website and it is the first time I have encountered it, most of my online fundraising experience having previously come through So what is it like? Well, I invite you to take a look yourself. It’s very easy.

Find a friend

First go on to the internet and locate the website. Then use the search function to find a friend, perhaps by typing in a random moniker (merely for demonstration purposes) such as Ian Allsop. In the bottom right-hand corner there is a button marked ‘Donate Now’ which you may want to press, then simply follow the on-screen instructions from there. And don’t forget the gift aid.

All this online malarkey is certainly a lot easier than the days of paper sponsorship forms, and the ability for people to leave comments is particularly entertaining. I promised a mention recently to whoever could supply the wittiest (printable) bon mot. And, in the absence of any contenders, I offer these. “My advice is to start at a leisurely pace and then slow down – by the time you realise you’re not fit it will be too late to walk back...”; “The thing to remember is that it’s the last twelve-and-a-half miles you have to watch out for”; and, my favourite: “Don’t kill yourself over it... it’s not worth it (unless you raise over a grand)”.

Assuming I make it, I will update you on how I fare next month. But whatever you do, do not visit as that would make me appear guilty of shameless selfpromotion. Even though, so they say, charity begins at home.


[Cancel] | Reply to:

Close »

Community Standards

The community and comments board is intended as a platform for informed and civilised debate.

We hope to encourage a broad range of views, however, there are standards that we expect commentators to uphold. We reserve the right to delete or amend any comments that do not adhere to these standards.

We welcome:

  • Robust but respectful debate
  • Strongly held opinions
  • Intelligent relevant discussion
  • The sharing of relevant experiences
  • New participants

We will not publish:

  • Rude, threatening, offensive, obscene or abusive language, or links to such material
  • Links to commercial organisations or spam postings. The comments board is not an advertising platform
  • The posting of contact details for yourself or others
  • Comments intended for malicious purpose or mindless abuse
  • Comments purporting to be from another person or organisation under false pretences
  • Gratuitous criticism, commentary or self-promotion
  • Any material which breaches copyright or privacy laws, or could be considered libellous
  • The use of the comments board for the pursuit or extension of personal disputes

Be aware:

  • Views expressed on the comments board are left at users’ discretion and are in no way views held or supported by Civil Society Media
  • Comments left by others may not be accurate, do not rely on them as fact
  • You may be misunderstood - sarcasm and humour can easily be taken out of context, try to be clear


  • Enjoy the opportunity to express your opinion and respect the right of others to express theirs
  • Confine your remarks to issues rather than personalities

Together we can keep our community a polite, respectful and intelligent platform for discussion.

Ian Allsop

Ian Allsop is a freelance journalist and editor specialising in not-for-profit management and financial issues.

Ian Allsop (66) John Tate (59) David Davison (51) Robert Ashton (40) Andrew Hind CB (24) Tania Mason (23) Gordon Hunter (17) Daniel Phelan (15) David Ainsworth (15) Vibeka Mair (12)
David Philpott (10) Niki May Young (8) Rui Domingues (8) Celina Ribeiro (7) Andrew Chaggar (5) James Brooke Turner (4) Sir Stuart Etherington (4) Kate Sayer (3) Jeremy Swain (3) Garreth Spillane (3) Alistair Gibbons (3) Ian Clark (3) Claris D'cruz (2) Stephen Lloyd (2) Richard Maitland (2) Adrian Beney (2) Iain Pritchard (2) Pauline Broomhead (2) Martin Brookes (2) Tesse Akpeki (2) Nick Brooks (2) Stephen Hammersley (2) Rosie Chapman (2) Geetha Rabindrakumar (2) June O'Sullivan (2) Kirsty Weakley (2) Dan Corry (2) Peter Holbrook (2) Belinda Pratten (2) Simon Steeden (2) Jonathan Bruck (2) Dan Gregory (2) Carolyn Sims (2) Making Good: The Future of the Voluntary Sector (2) Mark Astarita (1) Don Bawtree (1) Sir Stephen Bubb (1) Victoria Cook (1) Lindsay Gray (1) Rachel Holmes (1) Nick Ivey (1) Iona Joy (1) John Kelly (1) Michael King (1) Heather Lamont (1) Lucy McLynn (1) Chris Oulton (1) Julian Rathbone (1) Socrates Socratous (1) Richard Weaver (1) Karl Wilding (1) Richard Williams (1) Roger Chester (1) Matthew Bowcock (1) Joe Saxton (1) Reuben Turner (1) Martin Farrell (1) Paul Gibson (1) Jonathon Grapsas (1) Andrew Scadding (1) Simon Hebditch (1) Su Sayer (1) Debra Allcock Tyler (1) Martin Birch (1) Mark Hallam (1) Jonathan Lewis (1) Sara Llewellin (1) John Low (1) Dame Mary Marsh (1) Ruth Murphy (1) Colin Nee (1) Julia Unwin (1) Kate Rogers (1) Malcolm Hayday (1) Filippo Addarii (1) Kimberley Scharf (1) Jakes Ferguson (1) Jessica Sklair (1) Joe Turner (1) John May (1) Julian Blake (1) Andy Williamson (1) Malcolm Hurlston (1) Andrew Samuel (1) Chester Mojay-Sinclare (1) Paul Amadi (1) Luke Fletcher (1) Peter Mitchell (1) Billy Dove (1) Andrew Ketteringham (1) Jackie Turpin (1) Lynne Robb (1) Jonathan Crown (1) Paul Emery (1) Ruchir Shah (1) Pesh Framjee (1) Sukhvinder Kaur-Stubbs (1) Moira Protani (1) Vicki Prout (1) Michael O'Toole (1) Dawn Austwick (1) Lisa Clavering (1) Paul Farmer (1) Neelam Makhijani (1) Logan Anderson (1) Andy Rich (1) Sharon Martin (1) Asheem Singh (1) Leigh Daynes (1) Abdurahman Sharif (1) Lynne McMahon (1) Richard Caulfield (1) Ashley Horsey (1) Andrew O'Brien (1)
Less +++ More +++

Social Charity Spy: Scope launches spoof video for charity shop donation drive

3 Jul 2015

Both Scope and Terrence Higgins Trust have produced eye-catching videos to highlight their current campaigns...

Social Charity Spy: St Gemma's Hospice's wedding dress appeal goes viral

12 Jun 2015

This week a social media call-out leads to an unexpected windfall for St Gemma’s Hospice, Plan UK launch...

Could charities be hoodwinked by technology?

1 Jun 2015

Polling errors at the general election show that human judgement is still critical in using digital technology,...

Society is changing in ways that have specific consequences for volunteering

22 Jun 2015

Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, explains why charities need to respond to changes in...

Society Diary: Miley Cyrus takes off her clothes, cuddles a pig and talks about charity

12 Jun 2015

Our weekly round-up of interesting and outlandish information, collected from the corners of the charity...

Is it time for charities to fight back on chief executive pay?

10 Jun 2015

The charity sector has suffered in silence through repeated attacks on its leaders over their pay, but...