I went out for a drink with a wonderful fundraiser the other day, Juniper Locilento.
We got on the topic of the elusive “culture of philanthropy”. We were talking about where Juniper works and how great the culture of philanthropy is there. Lucky her!
When she said how great it was, what she meant was that internally, staff – fundraising or otherwise – really understood the mission of the organization, felt its importance personally, and were motivated to give back, even though as a staff member they were already serving the organization so well.
How wonderful is that?! We find it so wonderful because unfortunately an internal culture of philanthropy can be hard to find. It doesn’t mean staff at an organization don’t care passionately about what they do. What it means is that there’s some disconnect between “the work” and “the money”. Staff members may not realize that the fundraisers are on the same team as they are. Or they don’t understand the importance of fundraising, where the money goes, how it all works, etc.
We’re focused – rightly so – on our external stakeholders; trying to get them to understand all of these things, but we ought to spend a little more time internally, too.
How could we do this?
Well, there’s always the strategy of putting together a slide deck and teaching people about fundraizzzzzz……
(If you didn’t get it, I’m suggesting the above strategy will make your colleagues fall asleep with boredom.)
LET’S GET CREATIVE!
One awesome idea Juniper shared with me was giving staff members the opportunity to tell their story. Why did they want to work for your organization? What matters most to them about the work that you do? What is an experience they had working there that really inspired them?
It’s not about learning the math of fundraising. It’s somewhat about knowing what the money does, for sure, but getting people thinking about their values, making it personal, and feeling inspired… That’s going to go a long way.
How do YOU inspire a culture of philanthropy?! Share in the comments below, or send me an email.
Thanks for reading!
Written by Maeve Strathy
Maeve is the Founder of What Gives Philanthropy and has been working in fundraising for over nine years. Click here to learn more about Maeve.