The level of philanthropic giving has remained relatively static in the U.S. over the past 40 years. Through recessionary years, this might feel like success, but who doesn’t believe our society would be a better place if the nonprofit sector had even more fuel?
Thirty-five nonprofit leaders and researchers came together to determine how we can increase giving, and what resulted was a report laying out 32 separate recommendations. You can find the report here.
Growing Philanthropy’s recommendations can be summarized into four key areas:
- Enhancing the quality of donor relationships
- Developing public trust and confidence in the sector
- Identifying new audiences, channels, and forms of giving with strong potential for growth
- Improving the quality of fundraising training and development
Reading through the report and recommendations, I almost feel like cheering. On the topic of tackling the high turnover rate among fundraisers, the authors of the report note the need to educate executives and board members on relationship-based fundraising, not the short-term, transaction-based method of getting the check in the door. Certainly, our organizations have short-term financial needs, but if we don’t look beyond the dashboard, we still won’t know where we are going.
In their advice to board members, report authors Sargeant and Shang caution that “holding the chief executive and his or her fundraising team to account on a range of short-term and ‘siloed’ metrics will only be counterproductive, damaging philanthropy and undermining the cultural shift that we aim to achieve.”
If we believe these recommendations will benefit the sector, we all have roles to play: advocating, educating, and challenging ourselves and those around us. As a consultant, I’m encouraged by this report and am looking forward to building trainings for boards and staff that don’t shy away from these bigger ideas for fundraising.
If you want a very readable, quick synopsis to share with your colleagues or boards, check out a manifesto for smarter fundraising here.
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About the Author
Natalie Lamberjack CFRE
Natalie dials into the needs of her clients by keeping a calm eye on the big picture view of the nonprofit sector.