Constituent Engagement, Staff

Are You Cultivating a Philanthropic Culture within Your Organization?

People give because they are invested in your cause and they believe that your organization can solve “the” problem. The reason why they believe in your mission is because your organization worked to develop a relationship and they have seen how you are working to advance and even expand the mission. The relationship they have with your nonprofit is based on every single touch they have had within your organization: in the parking lot; on the phone; in the building; on the website; and especially through mailed correspondence.

Many non-profits “know” that relationships are important, but have they truly taken the time to cultivate relationships that will have a positive impact on their mission? Sadly, many organizations have not. They are too busy with the mission, that they neglect the relationships.

Imagine how your organization could flourish, if your development person/staff wasn’t the only one working to raise funds. What if your entire organization worked to build meaningful relationships with all of your stakeholders? These individuals would now be motivated and inspired to invest in your mission because at every touch-point, the organization had taken the time to cultivate the relationship. This is what a philanthropic culture looks like.

Developing this philanthropic culture within your organization is not difficult, but it does take time and work. Building and maintaining relationships is quite rewarding and it is much easier than “raising funds” from individuals who do not believe in your mission.

First, you need conduct an audit of your touch-points to determine if you are effectively building relationships. The easiest way to do this, is to have several individuals go through the various touch points. I recommend having a diverse sample of individuals assist you, because of differing perspectives.

Next, you need to get both the Board and the Staff to understand the importance of cultivating a philanthropic culture. Using the information gathered from the touch points audit, showcase your strengths. Then, identify areas of growth and opportunities. Help them understand that every single individual associated with the organization is an ambassador and that they are helping the organization to grow through the promotion and development of value-based relationships.

Finally, it is making sure that everyone is playing an active role in advancing the mission of the organization by developing relationships. This means that everyone is a part of the “development” team because they are empowered to:

  • Talk enthusiastically about the organization’s programs and services
  • Articulate the current funding priorities and their importance
  • Connect individuals to the organization based on mutual interests
  • Assist a donor to make a gift in person, on the phone, or on the website
  • Steward all stakeholders and express organizational gratitude

Building a philanthropic culture should not be put on the back burner. Now is the time to inspire your stakeholders with your mission. You can do it.

If you would like to learn more about touch-point audits, or if you would like information on having your staff or board member complete a Philanthropic Culture Assessment, feel free to reach out to me via email at ctorma@charmainetorma.com .

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