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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Give More was not doomed to failure

This opinion piece is about 9 years old

Give More was not doomed to failure but it didn't engage either the public or the third sector.

Susan Smith, TFN editor
Susan Smith, TFN editor

Asking people to give more during a time of economic hardship was always going to be ambitious but it was not doomed to failure. So it’s a real shame that the Give More campaign has so little to show for its efforts.

In contrast to the poor outcomes achieved by Give More, the Disasters Emergency Committee's campaigns for Haiti, Pakistan, Syria and the Philippines have raised hundreds of millions over the last few years. They prove the UK public are generous and will respond to real need despite their own incomes dropping and the cost of living rising.

The Directory of Social Change's report clearly outlines areas where the Give More campaign could have done better, not least engaging more with the third sector itself. With so much demand for people’s time, energy and money these days, donors want to see real need and know their input will make a difference. This is not something an abstract campaign can deliver – why give more generally when you are struggling to look after your own family?

In the end the tone of the Pears Foundation’s £1.7m campaign was off – people don’t like to be told to give more

However, since the Give More campaign launched, a lot more than 50,000 people have given their time, money or energy to good causes. They haven’t done it because Give More told them to, however, nor did they feel the need to tell Give More about their good deeds. Why? Because duty in itself is not a strong motivation for giving. The sense of duty that motivates giving is linked to a feeling of responsibility for climate change, for example, or education in the developing world or animal rights – and that’s not always something British people want to shout about.

In the end the tone of the Pears Foundation’s £1.7m campaign was off – people don’t like to be told to give more. In future this kind of impulse would be better acknowledging and supporting the generous instincts that make people keep giving more regardless of their personal situations.



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