Working4TheFuture! SCS in London to join Bernard Ross’ workshop

 “Be4Good: Behavioural Economics for Good”: an international Fundraising Workshop by Bernard Ross.

 By Marco Crescenzi, President of Social Change School

I joined Bernard Ross in London to partecipate to his international workshop on Behavioural Economics for Good – on the 27th of February 2018.

Bernard Ross and SCS. Bernard – a “guru” of fundraising for over 20 years – is an old friend of the School and we have collaborated on some points, helping our students (not only those of FRAME – the Fundraising Master Programme) to develop a more international perspective and to get practical non profit tools and formats for an impactful presentation of their proposals and projects (project work included).  

His most important book – “The Influential Fundraiser, 2009 Wileys – has been rewarded by the New York Time as one of the “5 best books” of the year. We invited Bernard in Rome in 2009 to present his last work  in a wonderful workshop, and after that then the School adopted the book as a Fundraising textbook, until a few years ago.

Ethical issues in non profit management – nudging or not?  The workshop was a junction between Social Psychology (Bernard and I are both coming from this discipline) and economics, and was on “how and how much NGOs-Charity can arrive to influence the donors and people behaviours’ through messages and social campaigns“. What are the limits of Nudging? When does Nudging become “unethical”. 

Talking about individuals, we exchanged our opinions on the fact that millennials are the “fattest generation” in the History, and that the average expectation of life is diminishing – in Mexico it is already 5 years less than their parents’. How can we influence large scale and so much rooted dysfunctional behaviours?

A speaker presented his last book, “The Choice Factory” focused on 25 factors that strongly influence our behavior.

On the details of the “persuasive actions”, we saw how much making some little changes in a message, i.e. an email or a mail, can make a dramatic difference, more (or less) than 40% of success. 

About “ethics and nudging”, the participants agreed that charities must nudge a lot for good, and also be transparent and let donors or beneficiaries choose freely. The profit sector, social media and every actor of the society nudge a lot too, but there is a difference: we nudge for goodwill, not for benefit/profit. So why should we not nudge?

Networking for the school. During the networking (cafè) spaces I had the opportunity to meet some friends again, like Ricard Valls (a senior consultant from Barcelona), with whom we made a survey, together with Euclid Network, on third sector’s trends in Europe (2011).

And the opportunity to have a nice coffee with another brilliant speaker, Omar Mahmoud, Unicef Director in Geneve – a fantastic person – and to present him the School and the quality of our students, asking his availability as a teacher for SCS, inviting him to visit us in Madrid “y para tapear” and in Rome “per una pizza”!

We talked about the NGOs’ scandal and related topics, and we were very sad and disappointed, “but” – he said – “some other scandal will appear soon in some other sector and people will forget”. I answered that I’m not so sure, because in Italy the brand reputation of the NGOs fell down from 80% to 50% in terms of appreciation. I told him about the position of the School, and the necessity to promote a better quality of people in the sector – not only skills but also education and values.

I bought three interesting books connecting with the School’s future management development, one is about the use of “big data” to change everything, the other on Behavioural Economics. For example, in three years it would be great to have some algorithm-supported process to choose the best candidate profiles for the Master, and to help their matching with the NGOs.

Wow! Working4TheFuture (since 1997) ! 


Photo: Bernard Ross and Marco Crescenzi 

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