1) Learn Why Culture of Philanthropy Matters
The “culture of philanthropy” may be an abstract, ambiguous term for many. While defining this term isn’t easy, we cannot dismiss the fundamental role it plays in our organizations. Nonprofit Quarterly notes why we should care about creating and maintaining healthy cultures of philanthropy:
“Why is a culture of philanthropy so important? Because philanthropy is not just about raising money. It’s not just another management function…Organizations that operate with a culture of philanthropy understand three things: the value of organizational culture, the importance of philanthropy, and the inextricable link between philanthropy and fund development.”
At this kind of organization, everyone understands the importance of philanthropy and giving to the durability and effectiveness of the institution. The nonprofit works as a cohesive unit that rallies around the development team and gives them the influence and authority to play a role in decision-making and strategic planning. The resources below help bring further clarity to this concept and begin to describe some of the characteristics found universally across organizations with robust cultures of philanthropy.
2) Retain and Support Development Staff
The evidence is clear – due to difficult work conditions, strained relationships, and under-appreciation, development directors are heading for the doors. A CompassPoint study found that half of development directors were planning on leaving their current jobs within the next two years. This an even larger problem among the organizations that need the greatest financial stability – 57% of development directors in organizations with budgets less than $1 million were expecting to quit within the same time period.
This is a full-blown crisis. Fundraising and donor development are built upon relationships, and if philanthropists are unable to build lasting relationships with members of the organization, they may be less inclined to give. Retaining and supporting development teams is critical for nonprofits if they are to remain financially sustainable and deliver quality care to their clients.
The resources below elaborate on the needs fundraisers have and outline action steps leaders can take to ensure that these individuals are supported and cared for well.