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In conversation: Mark Phillips

publication date: Jan 5, 2016
author/source: Kimberley MacKenzie, CFRE and Mark Phillips




Have you heard about the crisis our sector is facing in the United Kingdom?

Perhaps you have but didn’t pay attention because it seemed irrelevant to you and your charity.

For the past several months the media has been reporting on unethical aggressive tactics taken by the charitable sector to acquire new donors. These traditional donor acquisition programs have received unprecedented public scrutiny and the federal government is now consider new regulations to control and limit the activities of the third sector. This complicated and ongoing story is difficult to grasp if you aren’t directly affected. What is really happening?  What are the global implications and should fundraisers in other countries take the time to pay attention?

At a recent Association of fundraising professionals conference in Toronto Canada I had the opportunity to sit down with Mark Phillips from Blue frog in the UK and ask him exactly those questions. We talked about whether the Olive Cooke tragedy could happen in Canada, and how…in his words…”the only thing that gives a damn is the donors experience.” This is a long, important and fascinating conversation. Thank you for making the time to listen.




The way we do business must change if we are going to start engaging donors in more meaningful ways. And one thing that is abundantly clear – if we do that we will raise the bar and more money for the causes and people who need us.

Thanks so much to Mark and to all of the fundraisers in the UK who are following these development and working on the front lines to implement the required changes.

Mark Phillips set up Bluefrog in 1997 with one simple goal – to be the agency he would have wanted to employ.

One of the most influential fundraisers in the UK, Mark combines his academic background with hands-on experience of marketing for some of the UK's largest charities. He works alongside Bluefrog’s clients developing and planning their fundraising strategies, products and creative.  

Mark regularly speaks at conferences around the world, including the AFP Greater Toronto Chapter Congress, the AFP International Fundraising Conference and the Australasian Fundraising Forum. Mark shares his ideas and findings on and through his blog,


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