Non-Profit Corner: A Culture of Philanthropy

How-Philanthropy-Can-Run-Like-a-Business-245x300By David G. Snyder, CFRE – Principal, San Francisco

The new fiscal year has begun for many non-profits and organizations are about to launch their fall  fundraising campaign. To insure that fundraising goals are met, time and energy needs to be devoted to the work at hand by all members of the executive team, board, and staff. Over the past several years the phrase and focus in the fundraising community has been on developing an organizational “Culture of Philanthropy.” The expectation is that ensuring funds are raised to fulfill the organization’s mission is not just the fundraising team’s job, but everyone’s. Depending on your role as part of the executive team, over the next few months, your focus will vary.

If you are the Chief Executive Officer, hopefully, your efforts are being directed to working with the board chair to ensure that all members of the board have contributed this year or at least filled out an annual donor pledge form. The development team’s efforts are greatly enhanced  when board participation is 100%. Members of the board should be those who are well educated about the organization’s mission and provide an example of strong buy-inn to the work and services being provided. In addition be sure to allocate time to go out on calls or host visits from major donors.

If you are the Chief Financial Officer, hopefully, you have well-oiled systems in place that track the financial contributions of donors and you are able to provide the CEO, board, and development staff with accurate up-to-date financials that reflect previous year giving histories. Certainly within the Development Department the gifts are being tracked through the donor database being utilized but at the top management level it is critical that the financials be clear and accurate. Expecting that the organization has established revenue goals for the year, there should also be an expectation that you are measuring actuals in a month by month comparison. While actuals might vary slightly, an organization cannot afford to wait until the end of the fiscal year to draw attention to the fact that their fundraising goals are coming up short.

If you are the Chief Development Officer your contribution to the philanthropy culture  is tied to balancing all the pieces of the fall campaign, the solicitations, the major donor ask, communications, and ensuring that the CEO, board, and you have the needed face time with major donors to maintain or grow their annual gifts. This is a critical time to drive home your message and explain why the needs being met by your organization should rise to the top of the ever-growing donor solicitation pile. Hopefully the messaging has been consistent and on point through-out the year and the fall campaign simply drives the point home.

The bottom line is that if your organization is not there to provide services lives will be affected, individuals might go hungry or lack shelter, educational opportunities will be missed, or they might miss out on that life-enhancing experience of finding themselves  in nature or at an art exhibit. The worst case scenario is that lives are lost. Your work is important and having the right team and the right culture in place is a crucial part of fulfilling your mission.

At Stanton Chase we are committed to the goal that the right person is working for the right organization at the right time to benefit our non-profit community and those being served.

Next month, “Are You Called to This Work?”

David HeadshotDavid Snyder, Principal Consultant, is a 25-year veteran in leadership roles in nonprofit organizations.  Having led the Development team for multiple organizations, as well as having served as Executive Director, David knows what it takes to build and lead a successful Development team.  

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