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Donna Day Lafferty

Programme Co-ordinator Arts & Charity Development BA (Hons)


Donna Day Lafferty has worked as a professional fundraiser and project manager since 1997. She’s the founder of the world’s first undergraduate degree dedicated to non-profit fundraising, Charity Development; it’s a natural outcome of her passion for the third-sector and her commitment to ‘being the change she wants to see in the world’, to paraphrase Ghandi. She currently teaches fundraising to students from a range of disciplines at the University.

Previously she raised over Euro22 million in funding as Development Director of the Better Cotton Initiative (2010-2012). As Director of Co-funding for the Tropical Forest Trust (2000-2006), she secured over Euro14 million in funding and managed an international project to help end the trade in illegal timber from tropical forests. At WWF she secured their first Comic Relief grant, £600,000, and was their millennium political campaigns coordinator.

Donna designed and authored the website, the Institute of Fundraising (IoF), coordinated the IoF’s first online learning module and established a fundraising training programme for local charity volunteers in partnership with Chichester District Council (2007-2009) and then VAAC.

Learning and Teaching Interests:

Donna is interested in the interface between professional skills and the emerging academy of fundraising, exploring the way in which ‘learners’ at the forefront of professional development are both students, pioneers and influencers.

Working in partnership with leading third-sector service providers, such as Blackbaud and Flow Caritas, as well as the Institute of Fundraising she is interested in developing a learning environment that links theory and skills development without locking students into a prescribed learning journey.

Building on her previous experience of online learning, she intends to develop the Charity Development course for a wider international audience through blended learning.

Research and Scholarly Activity:

Currently in the early stages of developing her PhD study into the impacts of community fundraising on small charities, Donna is studying social science philosophies and practice. Her PhD explores the relationship between the professionalization of fundraising in the UK charity sector and the small charity share of the overall third-sector funding pot. It proposes that increasing and improving community fundraising by small charities could have a number of desirable beneficial outcomes and that research into this could be highly valuable to the small charity sector, as well as helping to deliver national government policy aims relating to giving and volunteering.

On a smaller scale she is delivering a cross discipline body of research, incorporating psychology, into the profile of successful fundraisers.

Indicative Examples of, Consultancy Work and Publications:

Presentation of the Better Cotton Initiative, Africa Strategy, at the European Commission Sustainable Agriculture Conference, Bamako Mali, November 2012.

Presentation of the Better Cotton Initiative, Global Strategy, at the IDH International Sustainability Conference, Utrecht Netherlands, 2012.

Presentation of the European Timber Trade Action Plan at Chatham House, Sustainable Trade Forum 2005

Timber Trade Action Plan, strategy paper for the European Commission, 2004