Welcome to the Spring 2018 Series of Voluntary Action History Seminars

The Voluntary Action History Society organises a wide range of events.

This notice provides you with the dates and speakers for the five seminars which will take place this term and an abstract for the opening event on 15th January. All seminars are held in IHR Seminar Room N304, Third Floor, Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU.

15th January
Invisibility and Infamy: exploring the history of fundraising in the UK
Beth Breeze (University of Kent)

29th January
Building bridges of trust: child transports from Finland to Sweden during WWII
Ann Nehlin (University of Stockholm)

12th February
The first charity shops? Salvation Army and Red Cross stores (1890s-1910s)
Marjorie Gerhardt (University of Reading)

26th February
Making history: stories of brilliant founders in the voluntary sector.
Caroline Diehl (Social Founders Network)

12th March
The history of food banks
Alex Murdoch (London South Bank University)

The first seminar on 15th January

Invisibility and Infamy: exploring the history of fundraising in the UK

Asking is as old as giving, but fundraising has been overlooked and problematised throughout history, receiving minimal academic attention whilst frequently attracting public hostility. This paper explores why invisibility and infamy have been dominant motifs in the history of fundraising, and suggests that a focus on what the raising of funds has achieved over the centuries, rather than simply documenting the changing techniques and technologies used by fundraisers, offers an alternative account of the emergence of the profession. This paper also explores the broader context that makes fundraising possible, looking beyond the rare documented instances of historic solicitation to focus instead on the social conditions that are necessary for fundraising to exist and to be effective.

Beth Breeze worked as a fundraiser and charity manager before co-founding the Centre for Philanthropy at the University of Kent, where she now leads a team conducting research and teaching courses on philanthropy and fundraising. She has written the annual Coutts Million Pound Donor Report since 2008, co-authored Richer Lives: why rich people give (2013), The Logic of Charity: Great Expectations in Hard Times (2015) and co-edited The Philanthropy Reader (2016). Her latest book The New Fundraisers: who organises charitable giving in contemporary society? was published in October 2017.

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