MG360: THREE WAYS FUNDRAISING BENEFITS FROM A CULTURE OF PURPOSE
IS CULTURE OF PURPOSE THE NEW CULTURE OF PHILANTHROPY?
If you haven’t talked about building a culture of philanthropy, you’ve never been involved in fundraising. The heart of whomever coined the phrase was in the right place. Inspiring philanthropic support is not the job of development staff alone – everyone has a role to play in securing financial support to fuel the mission, just as everyone at the organization benefits from the generosity of donors’ support.
While everyone in an organization needs to understand the importance of philanthropy, it takes more than that to inspire support. That’s where the need to develop a culture of purpose comes in. In the last decade, corporations have learned that long-term success is often linked to an ability to tie its work to a strong sense of purpose – something those of us in the nonprofit sector have been doing for much longer!
You wouldn’t typically start an organization just to have one, and then look for a need to fill – you identify a need and set out to meet it. The corporate world has discovered when you give employees the opportunity to contribute to a meaningful purpose, the result is stronger engagement and performance. Therefore, having a culture of purpose is a prerequisite to creating a culture of philanthropy. People who understand and take pride in the purpose of their organization are more likely to strategically engage in raising funds to fuel its mission.
Here are three ways culture and philanthropy are made for each other.
1) A MORE CLEARLY ARTICULATED ORGANIZATIONAL “WHY”
You should already have a mission or vision statement to accomplish this but when was the last time you examined it? Does it still accurately capture the needs of the people it serves and the positive impact you seek to make on their behalf? And of equal importance, how well can every person in your organization articulate it?
2) COMMUNICATE THE WORK THROUGH IMPACT
Every person in your organization needs to understand how they make a difference and contribute to your mission – and they, and your organizational leadership, need to be able to articulate that. Every new strategy, project or service line needs to serve the “why”. How many times has a fundraiser been charged with doing this after the fact to support a fundraising appeal or proposal?
3) AN INCREASED FOCUS ON STRATEGY
If everything is framed around the why, organizations are naturally positioned to take a more strategic, relationship-based approach to fundraising. If everyone is inspired by their work and excited about telling their story, then it’s the role of fundraising to strategically facilitate connections between organization leaders and prospective donors.
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