It can be argued that the culture of innovation within the voluntary sector has morphed from the common-or-garden business development mandate. But because the word conjures up ideas of freedom, risk and creativity, its popularity is going from strength to strength.
However, its meaning can be fuzzy. For some organisations, innovation can mean product or business development while others focus on embedding a wider culture of encouraging inventive and efficient approaches. Fundraising innovation consultant, Lucy Gower, says that despite more than five years of the concept's development there's no clear blueprint. "Each charity differs in its profile and strategy," she says. "It was being talked about more than five years ago and people still haven't worked out how to do it."