Di Flatt's Blog

Tony Elischer
January 17, 2016, 1:03 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Tony Elischer we will miss you.
It is taking time to sink in, the loss of you, my friend. 

But I have a few words I wish to say.

My friend and teacher Tony. You have lived and you have been loved. You have taught and you have learned.
You gave and gave and gave. And from that, I know you will have taken, and you will have laughed and smiled at our achievements and our failures.

Our fundraising and charity world will miss you – but will not be a sadder place without you, because:
– We will remember you. 

– We will remind ourselves of your energy.

– Your brilliance.

– Your generosity.

– Your ability to critique us and push us to be better.

– Your careful way of showing us there is always more.

– More we can do.

– More we can be.

– More we can learn.

– More that can be achieved.

You led us with innovation and passion and energy. And your amazing personality that cut through to always achieve the best for everyone.

We have loved you. We know you have loved your work, your family, friends, and fundraisers and fundraising. Pushing yourself and all of us, across the world, to not only do better but to do the best.
I thank you for that. I shall not forget you. I thank you for reminding us all of those three little and yet most important things:

– And?

– So what?

– Why?

When we can answer those questions in all that we do, we will be on the way to being the best fundraisers we can be. Only then will we be part of your team Tony, and part of your legacy.
So our challenge to ourselves is:
– Never stop questioning. 

– Keep up the good work. 

– To not forget we are changing the world for the better. Day by day. No matter how hard it is.

What we do is important. Tony you taught us this! Thank you.

It took me a couple of days to be able to write something for you, my friend. I began by feeling too sad. 
But as we pass midnight into this new day, today, it is my birthday and I want to dedicate my celebrations to you. When I meet with another fundraising friend for dinner later, we will drink to you. We will love and remember you. 
We will drink and celebrate to the future that you will continue to be part of. Because we have all learned from you.

You have our love Tony. And we have your passion, teachings, encouragement, energy, and the knowledge you helped us to gain. Thank you.

Thank you for being our friend and teacher. We will strive to not let you down.

You are missed already Tony Elischer. 
With much love. Di x

10 saviours of the fundraising sector
September 21, 2015, 12:57 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

An excellent and uplifting piece from the brilliant Mr Stephen George. Made me smile on a rainy Monday.

Stephen George


After much soul-searching in the fundraising sector in the last few months, and much anguish about the future and direction of travel, I have compiled a powerful list of 10 ‘saviours’ for fundraising and the sector.

If done together and with heart, values, principles, stories, creativity, service and care, insight, humility and solid process to back it up and the cause and need as the engine the results could be amazing. Please share – they are groundbreaking and revolutionary. Here they are, in no particular order.

  1. Put the donor first
  2. Put the donor first
  3. Put the donor first
  4. Put the donor first
  5. Put the donor first
  6. Put the donor first
  7. Put the donor first
  8. Put the donor first
  9. Put the donor first
  10. Lead everyone and everything so they put the donor first

I know. Exciting stuff. Truly – we are saved.

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It may be time for change – but it is not the time to ‘throw the baby out with the bathwater!’


Today I have read the thoughtful news piece in UK Fundraising, from the very eloquent Mr Ian McQuillin. You can read it here “Should fundraisers strike?”

It certainly seems it is time for careful thinking and for good measured and transparent responses. Things clearly need to change, and we need to ensure that any and all changes are indeed for the better for both fundraisers and donors.

At the same time, for some (or perhaps all of us) it may be time to come off the fence and speak out proudly for the amazing profession that we have chosen to work within.

‘Striking’ I think would be a tad too far of course, as without the brilliant fundraisers of the UK (and beyond) we will not then raise the money needed. Money that is vital to pay for the work of charities that many many people need (and increasingly so with a growing/ageing population and the many drastic cuts in government grants and individuals’ benefits).

But we do need to look at what our donors both want and need from us – and let us not forget that we have an extremely generous UK community.

We as fundraisers do a great thing – we bring people together to give the best of their-selves, be this expertise, time or money. And for every complaint there are always tens of thousands of happy donors who feel good about being able to make a positive difference.

We cannot and must not ignore the problems and issues – and we of course are not. We as a community of fundraisers need to address every issue.

But please, for our donors’ sakes, for our beneficiaries’ sakes, and indeed for our own sakes – let us not get so bogged down that we forget we are #proudfundraisers. Let us not forget the reasons why we took on this incredible profession.

We need to celebrate the generosity of the UK and applaud the donors who ensure that our charities can continue to do the work that is needed.

We are lucky to work amongst and with such generous and caring people, donors and supporters. And we have a huge responsibility to look after this generosity and the donors as individuals – but we must also place merit on the need look after ourselves as fundraisers and our ability to do the work we do as a member of the fundraising profession.

It was quoted in the UK Giving 2014 report (dated April 2015):

“Our analysis provides the following picture for individual giving in the UK for 2014:

 “Eight out of ten people (79%) participated in at least one charitable giving or social action activity in the 12 months prior to interview, with over half (57%) having done so in the last month


“In terms of giving money to charity (either directly or through sponsorship of an individual) 70% report doing so in the 12 months prior to interview and 44% do so in a typical month.”

See the report for the full analysis here UK Giving 2014 – an overview of charitable giving in the UK in 2014 (dated April 2015)

They go on to summarise the report as follows:

“In summary then, these results suggest that in order to encourage people to give regularly, charities need to:

  • Communicate the positive impact that donations from the public have
  • Provide clarity on how their charity’s aims and focus differ to other organisations working in the same area
  • Be aware of and respond to the individual circumstances of existing donors, so as not to ask for too much, too often
  • Communicate the flexibility of planned giving channels and/or increase the flexibility to meet the changing needs of donors
  • Provide reassurance about the security of personal and financial details and the ‘professionalism’ of charities in handling personal data
  • Continue to raise awareness of all the various ways in which people can give – including regular, planned channels for giving money, but also by giving goods, volunteering their time or sharing their voice – in order to engage all people no matter what their financial circumstances”

We as #proudfundraisers will do well to heed these results of speaking to the people of the UK.

So, I shall be awaiting the conclusions of Sir Stuart Etherington’s review with interest and with hope that it will clearly and fairly inform the future of fundraising legislation.

But we must take care too, for as my much loved Nanna would have said, whilst it may be time for change “let us not throw the baby out with the bathwater!”

As ever I remain a #proudfundraiser and CEO of Sweetpea Charity, and I will always strive to be the #bestyoucanbe. And in these times of change I am sure you will too!

Hold onto the baby my fundraising friends!  Hold on tight…………

June 10, 2015, 7:44 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Today I start my day reading another news story about charities. It makes me angry and incredibly sad. 

Fundraisers and charities do absolutely incredible work. And yes there will be a very tiny few that do something badly or wrong. That is similar to most professions and workplaces. And I say similar not same because regardless of the media hype – problems/mistakes/wrong doings in the fundraising profession are rare. Complaints are extremely minimal. 

I wish the media would spend their time highlighting the incredible and amazing work done across the street/region/country/world because of fundraising. 

So today I responded to a Facebook piece/link about a Guardian post talking about charities allegedly ‘aggressive’ fundraising. I responded as follows. 

“Please consider “chugger” is charity mugger. No street or any other fundraiser is a mugger. They – whether brilliant or not very well trained and supported – are fundraisers doing a job. They tell people about a charity and its work and they ask them if they would like to be involved/donate/be contacted. Every person asked has the freedom to say no thanks and to walk away. They also have the freedom to say no thanks and close the door or hang up the telephone. This is no different to putting a letter/door drop/newspaper or magazine insert into the bin. We all have the freedom to chose to donate/set up a direct debit/say no. It is time for fundraisers to stand up for the amazing work they do. No fundraiser or fundraising charity should say anything bad about any type of fundraising. Every type is about asking people to help other people/animal/environment/etc. And everyone asked can say yes or say no thank you. Everyone can say no thanks and please remove my details. 

Don’t complain. Either donate and do something good. Or say no thank you. Or say no thank you and please remove my details and don’t write or call me again. 

I donate to several charities/causes. I say no thanks to many more than I donate to. It is my choice. When I say no thanks and please remove my details my details are removed. It is simple. 

There are some bad/badly trained people. Just as in any other profession/industry. 

But let us all remember. Without fundraisers and the fundraising profession there will be no charity to help you if you have cancer/epilepsy/diabetes/Alzheimer’s/depression/mental illness/etc or to rescue you at sea or to help you see out the end of your life because there would be no hospice. 

Think and think again. 

This year at the annual Fundraising National Convention the theme is #bestyoucanbe. This is what most fundraisers strive for. To do the best they can. For people like you and me. So people or animals have better lives or so we can all have a better environment. Or to help others after a disaster situation. 

It is always dreadful when we hear about something that has gone wrong of course – but they are few, very few. The media love to hype up any problem. Don’t add to the hype. Remember that you need charities. We all do. And as the government cut backs continue and austerity measures continue to increase. Remember it is your local national and international charities that will be there to help you. 

I just ask you to think. 

Thank you and have a lovely day and enjoy the sunshine whilst we have it 😊.”

And that is all I ask of you. Please think. 

Thank you. And thank you to all the amazing fundraisers out there in the UK and across the world. I know you are all being the #bestyoucanbe. We need you. Thank you. 



This blog was first shown at http://www.institute-of-fundraising.org.uk/blog/proudfundraiser


We are, this year, celebrating #proudfundraiser. And people sometimes ask, who and what are we as fundraisers? What do we do? Well we raise the money that pays for all the important work charities undertake.

There are many types of fundraiser. From the on street face to face fundraiser, to trust fundraisers writing specialised grant applications, to corporate fundraisers developing partnerships with business, event fundraisers organising small and huge events, major donor fundraisers working with wealthy individuals, special events fundraisers organising balls and gala dinners, to community fundraisers, legacy fundraisers and more.

We raise money from all kinds of fundraising. From running events, to appeal letters, telephone calls and through on street face to face requests. From parachute jumps, to dress down days, to coffee mornings, raffles and growing moustaches. Sponsor forms, mailings, direct debits, cheques and thank you notes. We are pretty busy!

And to direct a fundraising team you need knowledge of all the different types of fundraising AND the skill set to implement all the different methods within each one. Phew!

For me, I know that being a #proudfundraiser is only possible because of my very wide ranging skill set. So as I was thinking about writing this, I began listing the things I need to know about and be expert in to be a fundraising director in 2014.

Direct marketing. Social media. Trading. Product design. Sports events. Gala dinners. Tribute funds. Restricted funds. Management accounts. Forecasting. Legacy management. Payroll giving. Recycling. Charitable trusts. Corporate partnerships. Cause related and affiliate marketing. Gambling Commission. Charity Commission. Fundraising Standards Board. Institute of Fundraising Code. PFRA. Home money boxes. Telemarketing. Charity shops. Web design. Risk assessments. Public liability insurance. Due diligence. Membership schemes. Gift aid. Donor benefits. Appeals. Newsletters. Collection tins. SEO and PPC. PR. Recruitment. Strategy. Business Planning. Key performance indicators. Current affairs. Return on investment. Customer service. Staff morale. Investment in people. The fundraising promise. VAT. Third Sector. Civil Society. Fast moving technology! Age cohorts. Target markets. Audience geography and demography. Rapport. Diversity and equality. Databases and spreadsheets. Public speaking. Presentations. Representing our charities as ambassadors. My actual list is much longer!

So #proudfundraiser I think we should remind ourselves of just how complex and professional a role we play.

Every fundraiser is integral to the work a charity does. Everything costs money. Staff, equipment, buildings, power, travel, services. Computers, databases, paper and pens. And we have to raise money to make all these things be possible, and to make all the necessary work happen.

And as we talk or write to all the people who generously donate money or take part in events we have lots and lots of conversations. So we don’t only focus on the money. We focus on why the money is needed.

We focus on the end result – the impact and the outcomes that can be achieved.

We care about and focus on the positive difference that can be made to the world because of the generosity of donors and supporters.

We show how through the money we raise we are seeking cures and coping strategies for Epilepsy, Cancer, Alzheimer’s, and many other diseases and conditions.

We show how we are saving lives, creating happier futures, and looking after the environment. We show how we are protecting animals, bees, whales, trees and rainforests.

And we show how we are making positive changes every day for people like you and people like me.

My job is complex and difficult, and I love it. I know that as #proudfundraisers we are using our skills to achieve some great things.

And what I am really proud about is that instead of using our skills to generate profit for commercial companies we CHOOSE to put our skills, expertise and abilities to use to deliver outcomes within the charity sector.

We are NOT here because we can’t be anywhere else. We have as much intellect and skill as doctors, nurses, solicitors and lawyers – but our calling in life is to be passionate about making life better for other people, animals and environments.

And we HAVE to be good at what we do, because it’s not about profit to make the fat cat richer, it’s often a matter of life and death. Failure is not an option.

I am proud of what I do, and of what my fundraising team and organisation does. Fundraising enables my charity, Epilepsy Action, to achieve better outcomes for people with epilepsy.

As fundraisers we carry a huge responsibility – but with high personal reward and affirmation of contributing to a better world.

So I wanted to finish by saying THANK YOU #proudfundraiser.

You are amazing and you have vision. You are prepared to be innovative and you want to change the world for the better – and you do, with every generous gift and donation you achieve.

Each and every fundraiser has chosen to be in the sector. And that’s really something to be proud of.

You are the world’s change-makers – and I as just one #proudfundraiser thank you for that!

Di Flatt

Download the #proudfundraiser toolkit here: http://www.institute-of-fundraising.org.uk/proudfundraiser/proud-toolkit/

Three days to regain sanity – IoF National Convention

Well I’m just packing my case to set off for the 2012 Institute of Fundraising National Convention. I’m looking forward to catching up with colleagues and friends and regaining a little sanity in what is an incredibly crazy busy year for me.

I have lots of great things going on, which pleases me greatly! But sleep and ‘me time’ are pretty much on hold right now. Thus these few days in a learning environment with people I respect, admire and in some cases aspire to, are of huge importance to me.

One of the things you have to work out as a director of fundraising, is how to deal with the isolation of being the boss – and at the same not being the ‘same’ as the rest of the senior management team.

You want me to explain? Ok here goes, I can but try …..

Fundraising, no matter how well an organisation tries, is the funny add on that people don’t fully understand. We don’t deliver services. Some of us have little contact with beneficiaries. Yet we are these crazy mad passionate people who raise millions and millions for our causes.

How do we do that? They ask. We do it because beneath the passion and enthusiasm is professionalism and intellect. We don’t just shake tins!

Business plans, risk analysis, in depth forecasts and cash flows, financial monitoring, key performance indicators, event planning, business cases to raise finance, meetings with the great and the good, marketing, media, trading …… shall I go on!

No need, you all know this already!

So whilst at conference this year remember and celebrate the brilliant job you do.

Learn from colleagues – and not just in the sessions. My greatest insights have come from the conversations I have had with my peers each year.

I need these three days! They keep me going for the rest of the year!

So fundraisers, don’t underestimate how important these few days are. Make the most of it!

I shall see you there. I am speaking on Tuesday afternoon. I will be at the party!


Yesterday I ‘enjoyed’ my first gay abuse!
June 10, 2012, 9:45 am
Filed under: charity, fundraisers, Third Sector | Tags: , , , , , ,

Yesterday I ‘enjoyed’ my first gay abuse.
Am I gay? No.
Was I with a gay person at the time? Yes, two in fact.
Myself and two of my best friends. Taking a happy stroll in the sun, on our way out to enjoy breakfast.
On our way we passed a group of young and clearly bored/uninformed/homophobic/stupid/rude (you choose) teenagers. Male and female.
As we passed them – and I recall smiling at them as we did so – one of the girls sneered ‘lesbians’.
To which one of her peers laughed, and thus spurred her on. And so the young perpetrator then shouted her euphoric abuse until we were almost out of her sight.
We laughed. The old adage ‘sticks and stones…..’ came to mind.
But at the same time it was rather sad and concerning. Young people today I had hoped would be better informed and aware. After all statistics say that at least six per cent of people in the UK are gay. There were easily 15 teenagers in their little posse.
So my thoughts go thus:
At least one of them is highly likely to be gay.
Several of them will have been uncomfortable at the rudeness of the abuse – and so feel guilty.
Most of them won’t really think their ‘leader’ was clever or intelligent.
Perhaps this dominant female is going to be the gay statistic in their gang?
Maybe, for our young abuser, being angry with passing strangers made dealing with her own day to day life a little easier ( in which case she has my forgiveness ).
Learnings: be informed; forgive easily; keep on smiling.
Action: create a poster re the statistics on the number of gay people in the UK today. Add a gay advice line number to poster. Laminate said poster. Attach laminated poster to lamppost by the steps teenage posse hang out at.
Aaahhhh : feel better now.
Always find a way to help others!