Signs Your Organization Lacks a Culture of Philanthropy – Part II
In an earlier post, I wrote about some of the ways that a board of directors reveals that an organization does not have a Culture of Philanthropy. Here I write about how some of an organization’s Executive Directors and staff members similarly make visible that an organization lacks a Culture of Philanthropy.
Too many organizations want to treat fundraising as an add-on, like an extra appendage sewn onto the body. Imagine attaching a limb—say an arm—to the body, but not connecting it to the circulatory and nerve system and not re-wiring the brain to recognize the new arm. How uselessly it would flop around! Eventually, without blood, oxygen, and the protection of the nerve system, the limb would die.
For fundraising to work – that is, for fundraising to be done as sustained, donor-centric development, rather than as an episodic, short-term, organization-centered fundraising, fundraising requires changes with which many organizations are simply not comfortable.
If fundraising hasn’t been an integral part of the organization’s life from its beginning, it has to be skillfully grafted on in a way that wires it to the brain and connects it to the body’s major systems.
Here are my 13 Ways an Organization Reveals That It Is Not Serious about Fundraising
In the nonprofit sector, we nonprofit professionals apply for positions in the nonprofit sector. We have experience with nonprofit jobs. Because we’re nonprofit professionals with nonprofit experience, applying for nonprofit jobs, we assume that the people who are reviewing our resumes understand what our titles and positions mean and entail. They don’t. Even if we list our accomplishments, they don’t get it. Too often, board members are hiring or sitting on the search committees that hire us. Those board members are almost always business people who don’t understand what’s involved in our jobs.
About this time every year, I receive a reminder from my health insurance company to go have a series of blood tests and health screenings. For years, I’ve grumbled about going. Every year, they tell me the same thing: you need to lose weight, eat healthy, and exercise more.
After I go through these screenings, I always get a phone call from someone with a chipper voice who tells me she is going to be my health coach. It always feels very invasive to me so I always say “No, thank you.”
But last year’s experience has helped change my tune.
For fundraisers and other nonprofit professionals, the summer months are often slow. Donors, board members, and other colleagues head out for vacations. It becomes difficult to hold committee meetings and get things accomplished. One board of directors I used to work with met monthly all year-long except in the months of July and December—December because of the long holiday break and July because they recognized that practically everyone was on vacation.
So how can you make the most of this summer slow down? Here are 12 things you can do while the office is quieter during the summer months:
This year’s Nonprofit Communications Trend Report, published annually by Kivi LeRoux Miller, highlighted the possibility of conflict within nonprofit organizations’ communications and development departments about role definitions, goals, resource allocations, strategies, tactics, and more.
And, just to prove how prescient the report might be, nonprofit fundraising and marketing bloggers have begun to slug it out online.
I suspect where communications and development cannot agree, collaborate, and talk things through, it is often the case that, in these situations, there is no culture of philanthropy. And while Underdeveloped calls on Development Directors to work to change from within the culture of philanthropy in organizations that lack it, it’s been my experience that in those organizations where no culture of philanthropy exists, the development director often lacks the power or authority to lead such change. By the nature of the problem, the development director is disenfranchised in these situations.