A tribute to David Cuthbert – The Power of One – “ ke e:/xarra//ke “

David Cuthbert passed away peacefully at the end of July in Coventry, England.  David was an author, public speaker, lecturer, mentor, a husband, a Dad, a counsellor and one of the most admired fundraising legends in Africa.

He was Founding President of SAIF for 5 years and held office once again from 1994 to 1996. He was also one of the first three African members of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, when it was knowns as the National Society for Fundraising Executive (NSFRE) and became a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) a credential of the world’s only accredited certification for philanthropic fundraising professionals, a status he retained. David not only co-foundered SAIF but was appointed as a board member of the World Fundraising Council which is now incorporated with the global structure of Resource Alliance.

David, along with another hardworking SAIF member, Fiona Cameron-Brown developed and offered the only formal fundraising training course in Africa in partnership with the University of South Africa.  The one-year "Certificate Programme in Fundraising Management" ran from 1993 to 1999.   More than 600 fundraisers signed up for the programme. SAIF secured a number of scholarships yet declared financially unviable by UNISA. David and Fiona put their heads together once again and designed and wrote the 'Introduction to Fundraising' course with Intec, this too was dropped.

David authored a number of books namely 'Money that Matters', 'How to Achieve Financial Security and Sustainability', 'Funding of Non-Profits' (a series of 24 booklets), The Code of Good Practice for South African NPOs on behalf of the Department of Social Development and numerous option pieces on professional conduct and ethics.

Many people are unaware of David's life prior to fundraising.  Hailing from Port Elizabeth his first job was as an executive trainee was with a shoe factory, Bagshaw and Gibaud. One of his tasks was writing copy for adverts.  He was a natural and  joined a leading advertising agency, PN Barratt ( later sold to J Walter Thompson) in Johannesburg. For nearly 20 years he created campaigns for the Volkswagen Beetle, Firestone, the National Growth Fund, Eagle Insurance and SAB.

World Vision South Africa approached David in 1977 to be their Marketing Ministries Director.  It was a major decision for him to leave behind the fast-paced and well-paid advertising industry but he felt drawn to the non-profit sector. One of his first and probably one of South Africa's most successful campaigns at the time was the '48 Hour Famine Relief'.  Direct mail worked well and so did public talks and presentations to business people. Over a seven year period he increased World Visions' income by more than 1000%. He was now a pace-setter, a pioneer for how fundraising could be done and in high demand. In late 1989 he and Elizabeth started their consultancy, DL Cuthbert & Associates and later The Cuthbert Institute.

In June 2001 David was presented with the 'Power of One' award by SAIF in recognition of his outstanding contribution to education and training and professional development of the fundraising sector. He and Elizabeth emigrated to Canada later that September to be with family and to ease-gently into retirement.  However, his global reputation and skills were soon in demand and he was invited to run workshops for his local AFP Chapter in Toronto which then led to consulting to a small number of churches and charities.  Three years ago they relocated to Coventry, England where once again he advised a few charities but found it to be too focused on special events and old school tie networks, so he devoted his days to gardening, bible study, cooking up a storm in the kitchen with Elizabeth and Skyping grandchildren.

David and his lovely wife Elizabeth were married for 52 years - they have four children; Twins Pauline and Michele, Catherine and Geoffrey and five grandchildren. We thank you for sharing your husband, your Dad and grandpa.

The Power of One Award: A miniature figurine in bronze made by the artist Denantt Scheepers of a Khoi man drinking water from an ostrich egg with the wording of the South African coat of arms “ ke e:/xarra//ke “ - Diverse People Unite.