I've seen one or two fundraising campaigns recently that seem to have taken a strategic leap in a strange direction – they tell people that it gives you a nice feeling when you give to charity.

I can understand the thinking behind the approach. When you speak to donors in order to uncover their motivations, it doesn't take too long to discover that donors really do give because it makes them feel good.

The trouble is, you can't stop there.

You have to dig deeper.

When you do, you'll see that if you give donors even a sniff that they might be giving with selfish aims, it completely destroys the reason to give in the first place.

It happened to Larry David when he gave a very large donation to fund a wing in an environmental resource centre. To thank him, the charity concerned named the wing after him.


His friend, Ted Danson, also donated a wing. But he did it anonymously.

Though it wasn't as anonymous as Larry would like. All of which makes him feel rather uncomfortable…