top of page

Public engagement

Why do people have particular attitudes about fundraising?

Ask a member of the public what they don’t like about charities and there’s a good chance – assuming that they do actually have a beef with nonprofits – that they’ll say something like senior staff salaries, or that there's too much spent on fundraising. Yet studies also show that people regularly overestimate the percentage of their donation that a charity spends on administration and underestimate how much is spent on the cause.


In short, many people do not have a clear understanding of how fundraising works.

However, charities have not been able to make the public ‘understand’ how modern charities work, and when fundraisers try to tackle these critical attitudes, they often make little headway.

This is partly because – perhaps largely because – charities do not engage with what sits are the heart of these negative attitudes, which is often a moral conviction about the way charities ought, or ought not, behave.

Yet there is little research or theory to explain why people hold such negative attitudes towards charities and fundraising.

As a result, little progress is made in engaging with the public to co-create with them mutual understanding of modern charity and fundraising practices and reduce the conflict and tension at the charity-public interface – which is more often than not fundraising.

Fundraisers and their critics are, almost literally, talking in different languages. That is what this strand of Rogare’s work aims to redress.

We want to:

  1. Understand why (some) people have negative attitudes about being asked to give to charity so we can have better conversations with them about their concerns

  2. Engage with people to co-create with them understanding about being asked to give to charity and so reduce tensions and hostility to fundraising

  3. Build the consistent messaging that will enable fundraisers to engage with people by understanding what their objections to being asked to give to charity are.

We are near to completion of two strands of this work.




negative attitudes

to fundraising


A new narrative for Canadian FR

New ways to better engage with crtics


Advocating for

During the Covid-19 pandemic and other emergencies


Rogare Quote Icon Black.png

Further reading

​Read Ian MacQuillin’s articles on the Critical Fundraising Blog that explore these concepts:

  • The ideological attack on fundraising, Part 1 – happenstance, coincidence, or enemy action?

  • The ideological attack on fundraising, Part 2 – are you a Voluntarist or a Professionalist?

  • The ideological attack on fundraising, Part 3 – why we need an ideological defence.

  • Moralists at the feast – what really drives public hostility to fundraising?

  • This is a public information announcement about understanding charities.

bottom of page