Lindsay Boswell: why I resigned from the Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy advisory panel

Fundraisers need practical research, writes the Institute of Fundraising chief

Lindsay Boswell, chief executive, Institute of Fundraising
Lindsay Boswell, chief executive, Institute of Fundraising

Third Sector this week runs with the story of my resignation from the advisory board for the Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy. So why did I pull out, and why now?


Right from concept stage we called for this body to commission research that would change fundraisers behaviour and help them raise more money. This would allow many thousands of charities to deliver their mission to their beneficiaries. That's what gets fundraisers out of bed in the morning: making change happen.


We also called for the centre not to be based in academia. We felt that too much of the budget, some £2 million, would get swallowed up in bottom-line funding of the universities rather than actually commissioning research. Time will tell on that calculation.

So why not pull out earlier? I am a firm believer in effecting change through rational argument and I know that across many parts of the centre there was sympathy for what we were calling for. However, the rules of one of the centre's funders, the Economic and Social Research Council - normally fine I am sure for academic research - did not seem to be flexible enough to allow practical research to take place.


The research priorities have been set by the academics rather than what the fundraising market needs. Having worked behind the scenes to get things changed, it was time to pull away once it was clear this would not happen.

All we want is research that will help charity fundraisers be better at their jobs. In early 2010 we will ask anyone and everyone who shares this aspiration to join us to map out how we achieve this without duplicating what is already happening. 


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