Fundraising clichés begin their journey to Room 101

Fundraisers at today's convention will be asked in a session with Bernard Ross to vote on which phrases should be banned

Bernard Ross
Bernard Ross

Much-used fundraising terms such as ‘donor journey’ and ‘fundraising gurus’, not to mention the word ‘urgent’, could find themselves consigned to the fabled Room 101 in a convention session today.

Hosted in the Buckingham room by Bernard Ross, director of the consultancy the Management Centre, it will focus on the clichés that senior fundraisers believe should be deleted from the fundraising vernacular.

The offending phrases will be discussed, and then audience members will be asked to vote on whether they should be banned.

Speaking before the session, Ross said the convention could be somewhat self-congratulatory.

"That is all right and proper, but I wanted to create a space for dissenting voices to say ‘actually, I think
that’s a bit rubbish’," he said. "This can be hard to do when someone has poured their heart and soul into a presentation."

Ross said he put the word out about the Room 101 session on Twitter and received a flood of responses and suggestions.

One person asked to speak on the topic of ‘charity gurus’, while another challenged the use of the word ‘urgent’ by charities in their missives to donors, said Ross. "The person who proposed this wondered why we can’t just talk to donors like adults and say ‘look, this is a very difficult thing to sort out’, rather than expect some kind of Pavlovian response because we send out requests in a red envelope."

Another speaker at the session intends to start their tirade with the statement: "The donor journey is a blind alley."

Eight people, whom Ross declined to name in advance, will put forward suggestions for Room 101 and the audience will be invited to make their own as well as comment and vote on all the proposals. Three will then be chosen for banishment.

"We should be left with the things that would have been cast out forever into the 10th circle of hell, had Dante invented one," said Ross.

"The spirit of the event should be light-hearted and provocative, while at the same time making a few serious points – but it will be more Jeremy Kyle than Melvyn Bragg in nature."

- See more news from this year's IoF National Convention



Third Sector’s pick of phrases worthy of banishment:

Donor journey

Donor stewardship

Making the ask

Database curation

Fundraising guru

Driving donations

Maximise response

Fundraising tool

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