50 years of fundraising: What's changed?

The ninth in the series celebrating the 25th edition of The Directory of Grant Making Trusts.

To celebrate the 25th edition, and the 50th year in print of The Directory of Grant Making Trusts, we take a look back over the last 50 years of fundraising through the eyes of a range of fundraising experts.

Valerie Morton, Fundraiser, Consultant and editor of Corporate Fundraising reflects on how fundraising has changed over the years:

Fifty years ago I was a fundraiser – helping my mother with the Red Cross house to house collection, selling poppies and running the raffle at her annual charity coffee evening. Fast forward to the 21st century and you will find me distributing Christian Aid envelopes in my village, getting sponsorship for a charity bike ride and helping the local school organise the raffles at the end of term plays.

So in many ways nothing has changed in that time – charities still rely heavily on the goodwill of volunteers to raise money. The one thing that has made the biggest difference to me as a volunteer fundraiser since those days in the 1960s is online giving platforms.  For my first ever bike event I remember contacting friends individually, getting pledges and struggling with the logistics of collecting in the money. Now, I can set up a page, contact friends and colleagues easily, don’t have to worry about paying in the money and best of all gift aid happens automatically. Brilliant.

In my life as a career fundraiser, the biggest positive difference has been the professionalisation of fundraising. By this I mean the recognition that fundraising needs a business-like approach, making sure money is spent wisely and that there is a focus on return on investment. Sadly I feel this approach has been misinterpreted by some with the result that it has morphed into commercialisation which is completely different.

About Valerie Morton

Valerie is a lifelong fundraiser, in both her professional and personal life. She has held senior management roles in charities including Help the Aged, NSPCC and RNIB and is also a trustee of Central YMCA She is also a non-executive director in the NHS.

Valerie’s passion for corporate fundraising was ignited at the NSPCC. Now a fundraising and management consultant her work includes advising and supporting charities and companies on how to maximise the benefit of partnerships and in developing and running training courses to instil best practice. She is a fellow of the Institute of Fundraising.

Valerie edits Corporate Fundraising, now in its fourth edition.

About The Directory of Grant Making Trusts 2018/19

Now celebrating its landmark 25th edition, the UK’s best-selling guide to funding from grant-making charities is back.

The Directory of Grant Making Trusts 2018/19 offers the information you need to seek your charity’s share of over £5 billion – the annual total awarded by the 2,000 funders featured in this edition. With data sourced directly from grant-making charities, each with the potential to give at least £40,000 per year, no charity – big or small – should be without it.