What is a culture of philanthropy?

It’s when everyone in your organization — from the janitor to the board chair — understands that philanthropy and fund development are critical to the organization’s success and that each individual, no matter her role, has a role in the process.

Fundraising can not sustainably be done in a silo — a responsibility for direct marketers, major gifts officers and grant writers alone.

Everyone on staff should:

  • Understand and be able to talk about what makes you unique / why people should care and give to your group.
  • Be comfortable being an ambassador for your organization / chatting with friends, colleagues and relatives about your work.
  • Know where to direct donor inquiries quickly and efficiently.

Certain staff including program and policy teams should also help:

  • Cultivate relationships with donors.
  • Develop content and programs that donors find fund-worthy.
  • Fact check content without making “subjective” edits to fundraising tone.

A culture of philanthropy is a shift in attitude. It’s about being both mission driven and donor driven.

It must come from leadership and it must be a priority for organizations to succeed in the competitive fundraising landscape we all face.