The Taming of the Shrewd

Big fundraising ideas made relevant, even if you have limited time & budget

Every episode, we'll be speaking to a different expert about an innovative or under-explored topic that could be game-changing for fundraisers, charities and social enterprises.We've deliberately chosen topics that peopl
Latest Episode4/29/2020

Episode 2: Neuroscience of Giving

Season 1, Ep. 2
I was joined for this fascinating episode by Dr Jo Cutler. We discussed the science behind what makes donors want to donate to a cause, and how you can use that science to write better fundraising appeals.Jo is Postdoctoral Researcher in the Social Decision Neuroscience Lab at the University of Oxford. Her research uses techniques from neuroscience and physiology to understand people’s ‘prosocial’ behaviour and charitable giving. You can find out more about Jo’s work on her website, or contact her on Twitter @DrJoCutler.Despite so much negative media coverage in recent years about charity fundraising, Jo explained how her research shows that donating has a positive impact on the donor as well as the organisation. It stimulates ‘reward regions’ of the brain and results in a measurable ‘warm glow’ that tends to last longer than the satisfaction we feel when we buy material items.Jo shared four key actionable ideas with listeners:How to make your appeals more engaging and relatable to donors by focusing on one identifiable personHow ‘happy’ and ‘sad’ stories or imagery have very different effects on donors, and why they each work in different circumstancesHow saying thank you quickly makes donors more inclined to associate their donation with that ‘warm glow’ and therefore more likely to give againWhy science can’t give you a magic formula for writing the perfect appeal, but how you can begin testing some ideas in the context of your organisationFor further reading, check out Jo’s recent blog on how donors ‘learn to give’ and the power of an immediate thank you: also overlaps with my own recent blog on thanking donors, which we discussed in the episode: days we all need to measure the impact of our work, and it’s the same for Jo. We'd therefore be very grateful if you could fill in Jo’s super quick, four-question survey about the episode:

Episode 1: Turning to Trading

Season 1, Ep. 1
Fran Ferris-Ockwell joins us for our very first episode to discuss how you can build trading activity and earned income streams alongside your fundraising activity.Fran is the CEO of Nomad Opening Doors, a housing charity in Sheffield (though she's leaving in a few months and joining the Lime Green Consulting team). A few years ago, Nomad faced a funding crisis that threatened the charity's existence. Fran explains how she worked with their trustees and staff to build support for developing a trading arm, and how this has transformed Nomad - not just their financial position, but staff morale, relationships with supporters and the charity's entire culture.We discussed how lots of people may perceive trading as 'too risky' and worry that they don't have the necessary skills, when in reality they're probably better equipped to succeed than they think.Fran shared her three key actionable steps with listeners:Getting colleagues and trustees on Board with the idea when they may initially be reluctantFinding your trading idea or specialism 'close to home' to give you the best possible chance of successSourcing support with the practicalities and legalities of setting things upIf you're interested in exploring this further, here are a few helpful resources, several of which Fran mentions in the episode:NCVO's useful guide to tax and legalities: rules around trading in charities:, funding, mentoring and resources from our friends at the School for Social Entrepreneurs: and guides from Social Enterprise UK: bono consultancy from the Cranfield Trust: local CVS might have someone who can offer advice: Business Support Helpline: call them on 0300 456 3565Find your local Growth Hub: