Philanthropy Readings January 2019
February 3, 2019 § Leave a comment
Great news! I’m back. Looking back at the last time I posted on this blog, it was right around the same time my job at Bryn Mawr College changed, so that explains a lot. It was also not long after we took our current campaign public, and, well, not to make excuses, but the truth is I have been putting my energies elsewhere. I miss writing, so I resolved this year to put a little more time here, if only to write about what I am reading.
More great news! The outlook is rosy for philanthropy broadly, according to the latest Philanthropy Outlook from Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and Marts & Lundy.
Both, it turns out, have their strenghts, and can be supportive of one another. This article from the Chronicle of Philanthropy (subscritption required) gives some useful pointers to fundraisers who are more introvert than extrovert, and also suggests team work, playing to individual strengths for overall organizational success.
The always astute Helen Brown writes about the importance of knowing your donors and makes a strong case for always including your prospect researcher at the strategy table. Do you really know your donors and the source of their wealth? By accepting large donations, are you putting your institution at risk of getting entangled with a donor’s scandal? More importantly, do you have a gift acceptance policy, and do you follow it?
From Nonprofit AF, some great food for thought just in time for Black History Month. This post about treating “funder fragility” like white fragility invites funders to examine and challenge the power dynamic between themselves and the organizations they support.
Another from Nonprofit AF gave me pause and made me think. This post argues that organizations should NOT solicit their employees, and lays out some pretty persuasive arguments. Every fiber of my being resists this as it goes against everything I have learned throughout my career. Fundraising is a profession that is vastly misunderstood and undervalued, and many professionals already feel a certain lack of self-esteem (how many times have you heard someone say “I’m just a fundraiser,” or worse, heard it said about someone else…”she’s just a fundraiser.”). It doesn’t help that I have worked for an organization that, at holiday time, invites its employees to make charitable contributions to a handful of community organizations, excluding the one that they work for! Needless to say the effort to establish a culture of philanthropy (essential for philanthropic success) is challenged there. Nevertheless, this post gave me something to think about.
Finally, a post from LinkedIn about alumni engagement caught my interest, making a strong argument for human capital campaigns, in addition to fundraising campaigns. This topic is right up my alley, in that alumnae engagement has become the focus of my work. The main point of the article is fundraising, as it is widely known that volunteers are more likely to also be generous donors. What the article doesn’t address, however, is succession planning and readiness of volunteers. To ensure that important donors are successful and have good experiences in their roles it benefits organizations to be forward-thinking in forging relationships and building a deep bench of candidates for key volunteer roles so that you have people who are prepared, ready and wanting to step into important leadership roles. A human capital campaign in the short-term might be able to address some of the needs for long-term succession planning.
Please share! Your thoughts, or other philanthropic readings of note!