A Look Back At Irish Fundraising In 2013

In 2013 I bought two new pairs of jeans, met Paul Theroux, lost a cat, got a new cat, and genuinely slipped on a banana peel. It was a busy year in Irish Fundraising too…here’s the highlights:

Charity Shops Nearly Banned On Grafton Street
In April Dublin City Council proposed banning any shop which generated income for the work of a charity. It became clear a number of Councillors had an outdated view of charities and, whether they realised it or not, were going out of their way to choke philanthropy and discourage anyone that might want to ‘earn to give’.
It was great to see a number of Councillors criticise the proposal and, in the end, it was an important victory for the charity sector.

Prime Time Investigates Charity Clothing Bins
RTE cast their eyes on charity clothing bins and found that, yes, some people were breaking in to them and stealing my old jeans. People called for a charity regulator (the theme of 2013), but last I checked ‘theft’ was already illegal.
They also looked at charities who outsourced their clothing collections and presented a load of misleading statements and figures.

Daffodil Day Was A ‘Washout’
Irish Cancer Society’s big fundraising day was rained out, reminding us all of the risk of pinning so much on a single event.

Changes In Tax Relief
The new rules kicked in for tax relief on charitable donations having a small but noticeable impact on the amount that ‘self-assessed’ donors gave. Overall the changes had a negative effect on charities’ income in 2013, but should have a net-positive effect in 2014 as charities begin to claim back relief they were not previously entitled to.

Blackbaud Buys MyCharity
The U.S. company Blackbaud purchased MyCharity back in March, most likely for the stats and data rather than the income. I’m an unreliable narrator, but in my memory the first time I saw Niall Devine after the acquisition I’m pretty sure he was wearing a fur coat.

My Career Peaked…All Downhill Towards A Pathetic Death From Here
I was extremely happy to deliver the opening plenary at the National Fundraising Conference, win the Supplier of the Year award and get elected to the Fundraising Ireland board. Total Fundraising raised more than ever before. I met some really lovely people. Dan Pallotta even commented on my blog. If you weren’t sick of me at the start of the year you probably are by now.

Image photoshopped by
my girlfriend’s brother

The First Ever Charity Hack Takes Place
Future Fundraiser of the Year Kevin Delaney organised the first ever Charity Hack, bringing together 5 worthy causes and a bunch of volunteers to ‘hack’ some ideas. The day was inspiring (and tiring) with some really cool people involved. Next stop: the world.

Launch Of The 1% Difference Campaign
In an effort to make up for the wind-up of Atlantic Philanthropies generous cigarette/alcohol money, we saw the 1% Difference Campaign attempt to encourage everyone in Ireland to pledge one percent of their time or money.
It was met with both positivity and cynicism. Some of the criticism is certainly unfounded, but there is still the niggling feeling that the money put behind it could have been used better.
A Blow For SMS Donations
With LikeCharity making SMS donations more affordable for charities it seemed that the medium was ready to finally take off in Ireland. Of course, the real income generated from SMS donations is the follow-up call and the conversion to regular giving. The Data Commissioner made it clear that this could not happen in any circumstances apart from the donor sending a second text to say they wanted to receive the call. It decimated results and SMS campaigns look like a non-starter.

CRC Scandal
The last two months of the year were centred around the troubles at the Central Remedial Clinic. A bad board and bad practice left a good charity filled with good people exposed. High salaries and pension packages at the top made everyone question (too late) how their donations/raffles were being used.
The loudest critics had never donated. All of the negative coverage had a huge impact on the Christmas donations made to really good charities with really good governance. Some of the most vulnerable people in the world suffered, and continued to suffer, because so many people couldn’t tell charities apart.

Charity Regulator Announced
The government announced that definitely, really, the Charity Regulator will be put in to place in 2014…honestly. Seriously, this time. So much hard work from so many people looks like it’s finally going to pay off. No longer will people use “lack of regulation” as a stick to beat the sector with (the phrase will be replaced with “just another FF quango“).

Onwards and upwards to 2014

Any other highlights I missed?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s