New fundraising think tank Rogare opens at Plymouth University

Ian MacQuillin, former PFRA head of communications and the new body's director, says it will look at other academic disciplines to see how they might inform fundraising

Ian MacQuillin
Ian MacQuillin

A new fundraising think tank has opened at Plymouth University under the direction of Ian MacQuillin, former head of communications at the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association.

The body, provisionally called Rogare, the Latin for "to ask", will be a part of the university’s Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy.

The university will fund the think tank for its first year, with future funding coming from corporate partnerships and philanthropy, MacQuillin told Third Sector.

The think tank’s first task will be to identify the current issues in fundraising that are under-researched or that would benefit from fresh thinking or a new approach, a statement from the new organisation said.

It will then carry out two projects a year. These will each entail a literature review of a topic that will be discussed by its advisory board of fundraising practitioners, with the aim of translating the ideas into practical applications.

Membership of the advisory board has not yet been finalised, but will include the fundraising consultant Stephen Pidgeon.

Rogare expects to publish its first project towards the end of this year and MacQuillin said the think tank’s aims would be to look at other academic disciplines, such as evolutionary psychology, to see how they could be applied to fundraising.

"There is relatively little new thinking in fundraising to address some of the problems our sector faces, which means that a lot of the time ideas are simply recycled," said MacQuillin. "Evolutionary psychology looks at our motivation for doing certain things, including altruistic behaviour. For example, there is already research out there in this field that shows men give more money in the presence of someone they are sexually attracted to."

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