Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. He created fundraising.co.uk, the world’s first web resource for professional charity fundraisers, in 1994 and has published it ever since to help fundraisers raise more funds.
He wrote the world’s first book on digital fundraising in 1995, and since then has trained thousands of fundraisers in how to use digital tools and techniques.
He has worked as a fundraiser since 1988 for Oxfam, Afghanaid and Amnesty International UK.
A Fellow of the Institute of Fundraising and chair of the judges for the National Fundraising Awards, he co-founded Barcamp Nonprofits and founded Fundraising Camp.
1- In no more than three sentences, please explain what you do
I publish UK Fundraising (fundraising.co.uk), using digital tools to share news, ideas, and discussions to help fundraisers raise more money. I share what I’ve learned through training other fundraisers, and I help fundraisers learn from each other at informal events like Fundraising Camp.
2- Who inspires you?
People who make a positive difference to their world – I meet them, learn from them, hear their stories every day. For some it is their day job; many others do it in their spare time, and in so many determined and creative ways. Despite all the problems we face, how can you not be inspired by these crowds of people who do social good?
3- What is the biggest change you want to see in the world?
Less violence, and more opportunities to let girls and women flourish. The latter will undoubtedly lead to the former, and to a huge improvement in the world.
4- What would you like to be remembered for?
As well as lucky to be a happy member of a loving family? I helped lots of people save and improve people’s lives. I did so simply by encouraging them to pay for groups of talented, passionate and often brave people who could achieve just that. I am a proud fundraiser.
5- What is the most interesting new idea you’ve come across in the past year?
I’ll go for two – one obvious one, but happy to explain that it might be double-edged.
The interesting idea is contactless donations on shop windows (CRUK), on dogs (Blue Cross) and on static collection tins (RNLI). Good because it makes giving frictionless, can bring beneficiaries into the fundraising ask, and simply reflects public acceptance of tap-and-pay solutions.
Downside is – I’m not convinced the public wants yet more ways to give to charities.
So, the less obvious one – because I’m not sure how it will play out across the sector as a whole – is the move to opt-in only comms by the likes of RNLI and CRUK.
6- Finally, how can people engage with your work if they’d like to learn more/help?
They are welcome to explore 21+ years of fundraising news, ideas and conversations from thousands of fundraisers and donors on fundraising.co.uk – and to contribute their own advice and ideas to help others.
We’ve been digital from the beginning so find us online. Or say hello to me at the various fundraising conferences or seminars that I attend. Tell us what else we can do to help fundraisers achieve even more.