Third Sector at Large: Hospital trickery, knocking copy, and bugging your butt

The International Fundraising Congress, Help for Heroes and caterpillars are on our minds this week

- Nervous laughter at the International Fundraising Congress in Holland last week when Louise Aspin of the Toronto General and Western Hospital Foundation let slip in her session that her fundraisers prime the medics to tell them which patients wear Rolexes or talk about selling their businesses. After they go home cured, they can presumably be tapped up. And when Rolan Csaki of WWF International said it sent birthday emails to supporters, one bright spark asked if the message contained an ask. To his credit, Csaki winced a bit. But oh, the wiles of fundraisers ...

- UK charities are wary about knocking the opposition - in public, at any rate. No such compunction in the US, where one Sue Kerr is circulating an email about what you should keep in mind when opening your pockets for the next natural disaster. It lists the mega-salaries of the chief executives of some of the big aid charities ("Unicef CEO Caryl M. Stern receives $1,200,000 per year (100k per month) plus all expenses, including a ROLLS ROYCE"). Then comes a list of all the army charities with unpaid leaders, and the payoff line: "No further comment is necessary - please share this with everyone you can." Could it catch on over here?

- Alistair McLean, chief executive of the Fundraising Standards Board, was among the audience applauding the excellent armed forces charity Help for Heroes when it won the Third Sector award for Britain's Most Admired Charity last week. But he quickly ascertained, when mingling with the throng after the presentation, that H4H is not yet a member of the FRSB. An encouraging communication will shortly be coming the charity's way, no doubt. Perhaps this is what they mean by the term 'networking'.

- We know about charity chiefs wearing little lapel badges or dressing in their charity's colours, but Tim Jeffery, chief executive of the children's and young people's charity Spurgeons, has gone a step further and put his body on the line. Quite a sensitive part of his body, in fact. He told his staff last year that if they raised £500 towards this year's Big Orange Stomp - the annual fundraising day themed around wellington boots - he would have the charity's caterpillar mascot tattooed on his right cheek. They raised more than £2,000 and he's done the deed. The tattoo is not on the side of his face, you understand. Whether and where he will get the opportunity to show off his loyalty remains to be seen - or not.

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