Last week in this blog I reported on the recent study conducted by CompassPoint with support from the Evelyn and Walter Haas Fund. Their findings are a little depressing, but entirely valid.
We all knew this; we just have no motivation to confront it, especially in our own organizations.
So, how do we begin to turn this tide before it carries us all out to sea? The study suggests the following calls to action, among them. . .
· Embrace fund development. Easier said than done, particularly if relationships are strained to begin with. Perhaps we should each begin with ourselves. . .
What can we do personally to launch this seismic shift? For starters, according to the study, we. . .
· Stop making fundraising a taboo subject. It’s not in the category of “sex, death and mental illness.” Philanthropy and fundraising are essential elements of the success of virtually every nonprofit; we need to elevate their importance.
· Train our boards better. The study revealed that fundraising engagement among boards is “still woefully inadequate.” A culture of philanthropy may be launched at the staff level, but it is maintained at the board level and right now that’s not happening in so many organizations.
· Set realistic development goals and share accountability for results. According to the study, “the development director’s success is inextricably linked to staff, executive director and board success. . .” Intellectually, we know this. Yet all too often development directors are like the infamous “bubble boy,” isolated from everything else that is happening in their organizations. It’s time to merge that position into the hearts and soul of our nonprofits. The ROI on that could be enormous.
These are just a few of the calls to action listed in the study, but they are a critical few. In my 22 years as a consultant to nonprofits of all types and sizes, I have been witness to the painful struggles that go on over fundraising and philanthropy.
I observe it inside the organizations, and on the outside I hear from donors how damaging it can be.