Fundraisers need to change their “copy-the-case-study” style of learning, and replace it with a more evidence-based approach, according to a report published today by fundraising think tank Rogare.
The report outlines Rogare’s theory of change, which identifies what the think tank wants to achieve, and how it plans to go about it.
It says that it is time for a new “critical thinking” movement in fundraising, which is based on evidence and theory. Rogare’s plan, according to the report, is to change the thinking of influencers – groups such as chief executives, trustees, and training and infrastructure bodies – in order to persuade them to help change how fundraisers think.
Amanda Shepard, a fundraising consultant who is co-ordinator of Rogare’s International Advisory Panel, led the group that devised the first draft of the theory of change.
She said: “We have a copy-the-case study model where fundraisers learn by going to conferences to hear about how other fundraisers have succeeded. Yet just because something’s worked in one scenario doesn’t mean it will work in another.
“We’re aiming for a new culture in which fundraisers have the confidence to ask for the theory and evidence behind anything that they are told works, or is the correct best practice.
“If you show a fundraiser a successful case study, she can use it for her next similar campaign. If you teach a fundraiser to understand the theory and evidence behind the case study, she can adapt that to suit any future campaign.”