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Giving Hope – to fundraisers and the organisations they work for

Giving Hope – to fundraisers and the organisations they work for

Australian fundraiser Peter Dalton has distilled his 30 years of fundraising experience in a new book, Giving Hope.

The book, sub-titled ‘the journey of the for-purpose organisation and its quest for success’, is co-written by Robinson Roe, the managing director of OneTrust Australia and New Zealand.

Together the authors researched over three years the work of three Australian organisations that they describe as ‘brave’: 

  • Plan International Australia
  • Mater Foundation
  • Oxfam Australia.

Dalton’s book grew out of his experience working with many other organisations but was also influenced by the work of Professors Adrian Sargeant and Jen Shang. Their research into leadership as a contributory factor to ‘great fundraising’ mostly convinced him, but he began searching for another factor. This led to his partnership with Robinson Roe, who brought a for-profit sector perspective to these and related questions.

During their research the pair noted that all three organisations kept coming up against key six organisational challenges to fundraising, and these became the focus of the book. They are:

  • staff turnover
  • cost ratios
  • tied funding
  • the product or hope/ misery dilemma
  • crowded market
  • pecking order challenge

The authors concluded that skilled fundraisers will often fail not because of their own experience or capabilities but because of the structure, culture and attitude to organisational learning of the charity that they work for. They highlight the need for charities to focus on organisational leadership and development, and the clear link between these, when done well of course, fundraising success and an organisation-wide improvement.

Peter Dalton explains in the book:

“Many of the very best fundraising professionals recruited to For-Purpose Organisations are being set up to fail, even if the Organisation has a good understanding of fundraising. They will fail because the Organisation recruiting them has the wrong structure, the wrong culture, and does not have the organisational learning culture to enable great fundraising to thrive. 
“I realised what the problem was but didn’t know how to solve it, how to change the organisational culture of my clients, leading to great fundraising. “I needed to find an organisational change guru to solve my fundraising problem. What I didn’t realise, when I invited Robinson Roe to co-author this book, was the very organisational changes needed to create great fundraising also change how Marketing and Programme Delivery Teams relate to Fundraising and to each other. 
“Even more profoundly, I discovered that the changes needed to achieve great fundraising could positively impact the entire For-Purpose Organisation and realign it to its purpose.”

The title of the book, Giving Hope, is partially about the role of fundraisers and their organisations to change people’s lives. But it is also almost a dedication to the many fundraisers that Dalton came across who were working in the charity or for-purpose sector with the intention of making a positive difference, but whose abilities were frustrated by the bureaucracy of the organisation they were working for.

This is what is indicated by the book’s subtitle – “The journey of the for-purpose organisation and its quest for success”. It is far from a fundraising “how-to” guide, but a guide for organisations that employ fundraisers in how they can can change and develop to make the most of that resource.

Giving hope: The journey of the for-purpose organisation and its quest for success was listed earlier this year on UK Fundraising’s bookshop. You can also order it from Amazon (or browse Amazon using Bookindy to buy it from your local bookshop), or from Hive.


Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world's first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp and co-founder of Research massive growth in giving.

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