culture of philanthropy

'Tis the Season for Board Giving

The title of this post is not entirely correct: it is ALWAYS the season for board giving! However, since many organizations are running their year-end campaigns, board giving is often included at this time. Board chairs and leaders have been known to complain that they can't get their boards to give. It's considered integral to the "culture of philanthropy" to have board members contribute to the support of their organizations. If they don't do it, how can we expect others to do it? The board should set an example for staff, volunteers, and other stakeholders.

How can 100% board giving be accomplished?

What seems to work best is for there to be a clearly articulated policy for board giving that is encouraged and enforced throughout the year. Yes, there can be a "give-get" policy or a sliding scale contribution, but it's most important for whatever policy there is to be documented and monitored regularly, and for all incoming board members to be aware of the policy, ideally as part of their job description. It is the board chair's responsibility to communicate with each board member about their responsibility, and to offer opportunities for training that support their efforts.

For more information on how to work with boards in creating a culture of philanthropy, please be in touch with me at

Good luck!




Involving Board Members in a Culture of Philanthropy

Last week's post covered the ways that organizations are developing a culture of philanthropy that allows everyone to share responsibility for fundraising and relationship building. Easier said than done! This week, let's focus on how board members can be encouraged to not only participate in, but actually lead and champion a culture of philanthropy in their organizations. Without board members' wholehearted support, the effort to develop a philanthropic culture will be solely the staff's responsibility, which is not a formula for success.

To integrate board members more fully in these efforts, make fundraising discussions a part of every board meeting. Encourage board members to tell their own stories about why and how they are connected to the mission. Provide training for members to help them hone their fundraising skills. Allow them the opportunity to learn about programs and services so they can talk about them outside of board meetings. Connect them with the recipients of your programs and services so they can see your impact for themselves.

With support and encouragement, you can help your board members become active and enthusiastic fundraisers. Learn more by downloading Beyond Fundraising: What Does It Mean To Build A Culture Of Philanthropy? , a report published by the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund.

Please be in touch with me to learn how I can help you and your organization attain your goals!

Get Some Culture in Your Organization

Is fundraising everyone's job at your organization? Many believe that ought to be the case. They're calling this a "culture of philanthropy," and although it's not a new term, it's just starting to gain traction within the nonprofit community. In a culture of philanthropy, everyone- staff, board, CEO, constituents, volunteers- has a role in fundraising. It's about relationships, donor cultivation and retention,  and it's mission-driven from start to finish.

There are four core concepts that define a culture of philanthropy which can be used by organizations as a way to gauge whether or not they are moving toward meeting the definition:

Shared responsibility for development: Fundraising is not solely the responsibility of the CEO, development director or board members. Everyone across and within the organization works together to create a finely-tuned fundraising machine.

Integration of mission into all development activities: Looking at fundraising as a means to achieving programmatic success and maximizing impact, rather than as simply raising money to be allocated across the organization.

Focusing on fundraising as relationship-building: Communicating via multiple channels and creating connections at multiple touchpoints is integral to successful resource development.

Strong donor engagement: Paying attention to what donors want, and recognizing that they often have more than money to contribute. Being transparent and demonstrating impact are crucial to cultivating and retaining those who support your efforts.

Want to learn more about how you can instill some culture into your organization? You can find me at