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You want me to do what…Fundraise?

Too often, when we talk about a “culture of philanthropy” it’s assumed everyone tied to the organization should be asking for money. The expectation is that you will go to grandma and ask her for $100, and follow that up by inviting your neighbors over for cocktails to talk about your organization’s mission and then ask them for money.

According to Merriam-Webster,

Philanthropy is:

1) goodwill to fellow members of the human race especially: active effort to promote human welfare

2) a: an act or gift done or made for humanitarian purposes b: an organization distributing or supported by funds set aside for humanitarian purposes.

There is an expectation, and rightfully so, that if you are a fundraiser, ED/CEO or board member that you will fundraise for your organization. However, if fundraising isn’t part of your job description there is still a role for you to play; hence, the culture of philanthropy. I refer you to definition 1 above. Your role is to provide “goodwill to fellow members of the human race…”; you can do that by actively promoting how your organization is making a difference by sharing success stories, challenges and why “you” personally believe in the mission. You are an advocate for your organization no matter your relationship to the nonprofit.

It's important that staff, board, and volunteers know the mission, vision and values of your organization. There should be consistent talking points for your Ambassadors. The last thing you want is Volunteer A telling a group your organization provides diapers to unemployed and underemployed mothers when that’s not the case. That’s a recipe for disaster.

A simple 1 page document with the following information should be provided to volunteers, staff, clients and board followed up with a training on how they can be your organization’s best advocates!

  • Mission

  • Vision

  • Values

  • A sentence or two about the programs offered and include a few statistics on the impact of those programs.

  • How to volunteer for your organization including who to contact.

  • The organization’s website address.

The best Ambassadors are those who have the facts about your organization and communicating how you are changing your piece of the world.

Now, get out there and fundraise!

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