Being an Olympic Gold Medal Fundraiser
August 10, 2016
What Does Your Fundraising Say About Your Organization?
August 24, 2016

What it Takes to be a Fundraising “Bright Spot”

Are you a “bright spot” in the world of fundraising?  Do you know what it takes to build a solid development program with a loyal base of donors?  What about a program that doesn’t exhaust your staff and that sustains energy over time?

The answer doesn’t just lie in skills, or tactics, or strategies.  It mostly lies in your fundraising stance.

We had the pleasure of co-sponsoring a Kim Klein workshop last week where she shared the results of her Fundraising Bright Spots report developed with Jeanne Bell and commissioned by the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund.

The Fundraising Bright Spots report is a response to the groundbreaking research shared in CompassPoint’s UnderDeveloped.  If you haven’t read UnderDeveloped – and more to the point, if your Executive Director hasn’t read it – download it now.

UnderDeveloped confirmed what we already knew — the fundraising profession is being undermined by high turnover in the fundraising office and a lack of engagement by board and executive staff.  The research confirmed that institutional support of the fundraising function is dismal.

So, Kim and Jeanne looked for places that are beating the odds.  They found social justice organizations that are succeeding at fundraising and dug deep to identify what makes them so successful. 

According to their study, being a fundraising “bright spot” comes down to four things:

#1  Fundraising is core to the organization’s identity.

“Fundraising is a form of organizing and power-building, not merely a strategy for financing the organization’s work.”

#2  Fundraising is distributed broadly across staff, board and volunteers.

“Fundraising is not the purview of a select group of professionals, but a process, if well-supported, that anyone can engage in.”

#3  Fundraising succeeds because of authentic relationships with donors built on strong, trusting relationships among staff, board and volunteers.

“Authentic relationships with donors are part of a larger organizational culture that values relational rather transactional interactions with everyone.”

#4  Fundraising is characterized by a systematic approach to donor engagement and continuous improvement.

“More important than having a perfect system is working whatever system you have with a stance of rigor and continuous improvement.”  In other words, fundraise with discipline.

In the coming weeks, we’ll delve a little deeper into some of these concepts and share how they’ve manifested successfully in our own experience.

In the meantime, we hope you’ll read the report and start thinking about your own stance. What are the firm positions you take on your relationship with donors?  What is your organizational mindset about fundraising?  And….are you, your board and your ED on the same page?


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