Journalist targets the Australian population with dumb story

Charities target the elderly and dying for bequest dollars.

In a shocking turn of events, it was discovered via the undercover reporting of the esteemed Jonathan Marshall that organisations across Australia, many providing some of the most important services to the country were:

  • Taking a strategic view of their funding requirements
  • Doing everything they can to make sure they tell their story in the most efficient manner to the right people in order for those people to make an informed choice about the money they spend
  • Were sharing knowledge on best practise to help make sure they weren’t wasting time and money

Not only this, it was discovered during a shocking get-together in Australia’s Gold Coast that they were endeavouring not to take themselves too seriously in the process.

The secret event was arranged via a range of clandestine methods that our journalistic hero was able to crack. These methods included (but may actually include many more secret methods beyond the reach of mere mortal journalists):

  • Use of undercover websites such as
  • Secret advertising in places only known to a small minority such as professional magazines and big banners all over the conference venue
  • Other secret, untraceable communications tools such as emails and conversations between delegates

Among the discoveries that will shock journalists across the land were items that include:

  • Charities using underhand tactics such as wishing people happy birthday – actually on their birthdays indicating that organisation may actually keep records of the people they talk to
  • Charities actively talking to people that may actually die at some point, even talking to them about the fact they may actually die one day and may like to do something useful with their money beyond giving it to ungrateful kids



In more shocking news it was discovered that charities actually may use colours in the process of recording information about the people they speak to. It will come as a surprise to many potential donors that their information has been given a colour, a colour that they may not even have been consulted on. Our under-cover reporter discovered real-life situations where donors had been given colours that they were known not to like.

About appiBoss

Founder & CEO of appiChar Aus, founder & chairman of appiChar UK.
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12 Responses to Journalist targets the Australian population with dumb story

  1. Belinda Moore says:

    Just read the article by Jonathan Marshall. Next time he writes and expose he might like to get better informed about the sector first. Unfortunately, his uniformed and bias article is going to be read by many people and it may influence someone’s decision to donate. I don’t begrudge anyone the money to attend quality training – people in the nfp sector deserve to be able to attend training as much as anyone else. And a few off the cuff jokes make it interesting. It’s a really shame when someone tries to trash charities to try and progress their own career without getting their facts straight first.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    From what I know this journalist is RIGHT and credit to him for exposing the terrible truth.

    • Belinda Moore says:

      Elizabeth, the majority of charities in Australia do the right thing. The charities named in that article we simply sitting in on an educational session and did not know what the presenter has got to say. The majority of those present are great charities doing great work. Unfortunately, this article will likely cost them donations and mean the most disadvantage in our community will suffer through no fault of the charity. And you think this is ok?

      Proper investigative journalism would have meant he would have found actually instances of charities doing the wrong thing and exposed those particular charities. THAT would be good journalism and a credit to the craft. Not the crap that “journalist” came up with.

  3. Natasha says:

    It’s truly a shame and quite embarrassing to those of us that work in the NFP sector if this is a tactic being used by some. Particularly the quite renowned and reputable org names that were dropped. I’m happy to report that I work for a wonderful charity and we DO NOT participate in this kind of activity. The day we are advised too I will do my damnedest to stop it but if unsuccessful I will have to move on.

    • appiBoss says:

      Hi Natasha, having worked in the sector for 13 years it’s not something I see. As with any group of human beings there will be some at one end of the scale that you’d rather didn’t exist, but again, I don’t see much of that. What I see almost universally is a sector full of people who are genuinely passionate about what they do and do it for the right reasons. It’s what drew from the commercial world many years ago and I’ve never left since. Sensationalist articles like this one don’t help anyone, in fact they’re likely to stop people giving to the sector and that’s going to help who? The Australian sector does need to be more open about where money goes – I should be able to see an annual report on every charity website at the very least – but a lot of that is coming or is already in the works.

  4. Andrea McManus says:

    Having sat in on several of these sessions I can ensure you that these comments are taken terribly out of context. For those of you saying that your charity does not do these ‘tactics’ are you also saying you don’t build relationships, steward your donors by lovely gestures as recognizing birthdays and seek legacies? Richard Radcliffe has been ambushed and is a respected and extremely knowledgeable leader in our sector and in this field. He is funny and yes, often off-colour, but is always, always respectful of donors. This is simply trash reporting.

  5. Ted Flack says:

    Whilst the journalist has clearly behaved unscupulously in order to grab a headline, professional fundraisers do have a responsibility not to bring our profession into disrepute by using crass language to refer to our donors and bequestors. Check the FIA Codes and Standards to see what it says about using appropriate language.

  6. Jill Ruchel says:

    Fundraisers work in a pressured and frequently under-resourced sector. Most of those I know are extremely dedicated and hard-working. But like most people, occasionally they cope with stress and pressure with humour, knowing full well that it is not how they really think. That’s what makes it funny. The FIA Conference 2012 was the highest quality and most professional of their conferences I have ever been to, and a tribute to the organisers. Richard Radcliffe is one of the most respected fundraisers in the world, and if the so-called journalist had done his homework,he would also know that one of the most successful bequest campaigns ever relied on humour. It is not making fun of donors. It is about finding ways to raise the most money for charities by developing and maintining respectful and informed relationships.

  7. Francesca says:

    I find it disgusting that an undercover journalist went to the FIA conference with the sole purpose of distorting information in order to write an inaccurate & damaging story. I myself attended the conference & the 3 days were full of information which left me inspired about the number of fantastic and passionate people I met & heard from. I suggest Marshall should have attended Dan Pallotta’s keynotes address discussing the handicap’s society places on charities compared to the that of the commercial world, but I imagine that wouldn’t have made for such an easy scandalous twist!
    Educate yourself perhaps by doing some volunteer work within the sector that you are so quick to criticise Marshalll, to fully understand some of the difficulties it is facing. A little light humour about a very heavy subject is a widely used & logical tactic to engage any audience. It’s a shame he didn’t take the time to attend of some of the other sessions, aimed at trust, loyalty & donor engagement to increase the value we can give back to our donors. Let us remember the aim of a charity is to raise money in order to help others!

  8. Judy Ford says:

    I bet journalists secretly joke, on a slow news day, how great it would be if a huge disaster happened or some famous person died. Do they mean it? Of course not!

  9. Elizabeth says:

    I know for sure that The Salvation Army do NOT deserve any donations. They are corrupt !
    I’m sorry for the honest ones in their ranks who strive to do the right thing. I was one of them. WAS !!!

  10. Pingback: The Agitator: Fundraising under fire…and what you should do | Fundraising & Philanthropy Australasia Magazine

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