Institute of Fundraising: Beacon awards encourage a change in culture of giving

What is the Beacon Fellowship?

Last year, the Institute helped try to drum up nominations for the first Beacon Fellowship awards. Beacon celebrates giving - in particular, it is trying to promote an improved culture of giving, in which it is natural for those who are best able to contribute to charitable and social causes to use their time, energy, ability and resources for the public good.

When it launched last year it had its doubters, who thought awards would not work because those who gave did not want recognition. While many do not, a lot more are prepared to be named as a way of encouraging this change of culture. Beacon had more than 700 nominations last year, and was nearly swamped. Now they are after a new set.

How can we help? I support charities but I'm hardly an award-winning philanthropist!

Fundraisers are the oil in the giving machine and we suspect there are many you know who might make excellent nominees for one of the six award categories. Don't assume these individuals do not want others to know.

Don't ask if they would like publicity, ask if they would be prepared to be nominated. It's a different way of creating a role model. In short, make sure your charity puts in a nomination.

What are the categories?

There are six: creative-giving, risk-taking, new initiatives, leadership, community-building and young philanthropist. Nominations are being sought on Classic FM, the Community Channel and via the publicity generated via The Daily Telegraph. Nominations close in October and forms are available from

Our charity doesn't know any multi-millionaires.

Beacon is not about quantity. True, the likes of Sir Tom Hunter, who gave £100m to his foundation for education, have had publicity, but some award winners last year used their imagination to stunning effect. For example, 15-year-old Sarah Francis used her British/Asian/Christian background to bridge the gap between Muslims and Christians, raising more than £12,000 for Afghan refugees. You can read her story and that of the other winners on the Beacon website. Isn't your charity surrounded by amazing people who deserve recognition?

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