I like to say, “to make social change, you have to fund social change.” That’s why I’ve dedicated my career to raising money for causes I believe in.

But despite the necessity of fundraising, for many people raising money comes with all kinds of emotional, behavioral and structural baggage.

In the foreword to Sea Change’s latest thought piece, Robert Gass, co-founder of the Rockwood Leadership Institute and Social Transformation Project, and Linda Wood, Senior Director, Haas Leadership Initiatives, Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund put it like this:

“Fundraising and resource generation have long been pain points in a sector where there is real ambivalence about money and power. Many of us have experienced how fundraising is viewed as a “necessary evil” separate from the “real work” of making social change.”

They break it down even further:

“Social change leaders who feel powerful in other circumstances, are often resistant to engaging in fundraising. We have deeply ingrained and cultural understandings of the propriety of asking for money, and these norms vary widely by race, ethnicity, class and gender.”

Add in the high-pressure of making an impact on important social issues, the silos that inevitably arise in organizations, and the various – and sometimes competing goals – within organizations and you have a recipe for fundraising disaster.

Frankly, Mark and I believe that in most organizations, fundraising is limited more by organizational culture and structure than by lack of strategic or tactical know-how.

That’s why we’re launching Inside Out Fundraising: How to Create a Culture of Philanthropy by Treating Systems Instead of Symptoms.

Based on decades of work with front line fundraisers and a survey of 300 development heads, communications directors, vice presidents, CEOs, consultants and other senior non profit stakeholders, we’ve identified five primary points of intervention for identifying problems and moving toward change.

  • Senior leadership
  • Managing relationships among fundraisers, communications and program staff
  • Getting the right information
  • Organizational goal-setting; and
  • Re-casting the donor as a true partner in the organization’s work

Our hope is to amplify and deepen the discussion around potential experiments and solutions that take a transformational systems-approach.

Download the paper (it’s free) and you’ll get:

  • The complete foreword by Robert Gass and Linda Wood
  • Detailed insights from our quantitative and qualitative research
  • Two profiles of Culture of Philanthropy bright spots
  • Transformational planning template
  • Culture of Philanthropy self assessment tool

We offer this paper humbly. Organizational change is hard. There are no easy answers or replicable formulas for culture change. But like I say, “to make social change, you have to fund it.” So we have no choice but to give it our best shot.