Philanthropy: “The love of humankind,” Part 2 of 4

Building relationships in the nonprofit sector

By Joel L. Domingo, Ed.D.

As a nonprofit leader, how do you build a culture of fundraising?  It is often said that nonprofit leaders are only about mission, vision, values, and the difference that the organization makes.  Fundraising therefore, is an aside and is done when needed or given to someone else to do.

To understand fundraising, you have to understand philanthropy.  While “fundraising” is the actual act and methods and strategies for acquiring resources, “philanthropy” is a broader and more encompassing term that touches on the attitude behind giving.  It is the attitude that drives benevolence and charity.

Philanthropy after all, is a word that literally means “the love of humankind.”

Fundraising versus philanthropy

Now this does not discount either word because in the end, every gift counts.  Whether big or small, everything makes a difference, and successful nonprofit leaders recognize that it is not just the amount raised, but also the participation of people involved which is the key.

Ask anyone who has successfully raised money for a nonprofit, and the importance of a personal approach to philanthropy and fund development cannot be overemphasized.  In the end, it is about relationship building, so how would you ascertain the quality of your relationships to donors, if you were a leader of a nonprofit? And what steps would you take to ensure that relationships are sustained?  These are questions that good nonprofit leaders always ask, and being cognizant of others is what it is all about.

Communicating gratitude

Nonprofit leaders must constantly communicate the bigger benefit and impact that their organization makes.  Communicating, modeling gratitude and fostering relationships are important, and it is in this spirit that the leader can make a big difference in their fundraising efforts.

Next time, we’ll explore the importance of good leadership in working with board members and other volunteers.

This is Part 2 of 4. You can read Part 1, Nonprofits: Leadership to Change the World, here.

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