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20NTC Session

From Exploitation to Empathy: Ethical Representation in Fundraising Communications


Since the term “poverty porn” first appeared in 1981, much has been said about the exploitation of human suffering to inspire charitable giving. Yet four decades later, many organizations still struggle to communicate their impact in a way that authentically represents the issue and preserves the dignity of those affected by it. How do we portray our program participants as their own agents of change, while admitting that they also need our help? In a refreshing take on this provocative issue, Caliopy Glaros of Philanthropy without Borders provides an innovative approach to building capacity for empathy while motivating others to action. Attendees will leave this session with a new method for evaluating exploitation and empathy in their fundraising communications, as well as tools they can put to use right away.

Target Audience

Marketing, communications, and fundraising staff tasked with creating content for websites, social media, and mass campaigns


Caliopy Glaros

Donor Travel Consultant

Philanthropy without Borders

Caliopy Glaros has helped organizations worldwide transform their donor engagement strategies into catalysts for positive social change. As a donor travel consultant for Philanthropy without Borders, she works with organizations to create travel experiences that bring donors in direct contact with the programs they support. After seeing many nonprofits struggle with power dynamics and exploitative elements often inherent in donor trips, she developed strategies and best practices for incorporating empathy into each journey. Caliopy brings an intercultural approach to her fundraising tools and trainings, helping people communicate more effectively across differences. Her work is informed by a decade of on-the-ground experience in over thirty countries, as well as facilitating programs in more than fifty nations on five continents. Caliopy is a consultant by profession, anthropologist by training, and Chair of Inclusion Diversity Equity Access Committee of the Oregon Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.





March 24, 2020


1:00pm – 1:30pm



Collaborative Notes

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Session Evaluation

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